Career Planinng for Engaged Employees
CAREER – What it means
Using the term career, we often refer to a meaningful success, acknowledgement or a high position in a company, as well as to people who focus strongly on their job. On the other hand, that same term has a wide specter of meanings, where the simplest one of them explains career as the sequence of job positions a person holds throughout his/her working life. Leaning on a more holistic approach, the career is defined as a person’s rational planning of the professional and other roles that are part of his/her life, which adds to the importance of the career planning skills. With that being said, each of us has a career. The difference is that some of us are purposefully planning theirs and actively working towards the realization of the plans, while others are just standing still and “letting career happen” to them. It is more than clear that the first concept is the one that is more useful, both individually and socially.
Career development and the social context
“What do you want to be when you grow up” is a question that we hear really often and from a really young age. The education system (in Macedonia) is the place where we start facing career transitions, having in mind that children have to make a choice in which high school to enroll, which college to choose after and all of that without really knowing what position are they getting “skilled” for.
The connection between the educational system and the business is clear.
The educational system we now know, was built to “produce” future employees with a specific skillset needed for certain positions. It is a supply and demand concept, defining the labor market where people who are looking for a job are offering their competences to companies looking for potential employees. Adding to the education and business, the third pillar in the system is the society. As a result of the connection between the education system and the business, the society is supposed to get social stability, high level of employment and higher quality of life for every individual.
Having all this in mind, planning a career is not a new trend or a luxury available only for a limited group of people. It is a necessity for the proper functioning of a society where every citizen has the right to contribute in the area he/she wants to, while on a higher level in the society management there are systems made for predicting and planning of future job openings crucial for the functioning of the country.
The importance of career planning for organizations
COMPETENCE as a term is comprised of:
- KNOWLEDGE (formal and informal)
- SKILLS (practical experience in certain areas)
- ATTITUDES (deriving from personal values and life experiences, and manifested through certain behaviors)
The companies require certain profiles of employees. Ideally, in a company there is a clearly set structure (departments, subdivisions etc.) where responsibilities and workload are divided between employees according to their job descriptions. However, the experience says that most of the companies have this clearly set structure only on paper, while in fact they have dysfunctional 2 documentation that is not applicable in reality and employees are working under the inconsistent directions of their superiors, not really being aware of their actual job description.
In this kind of a workplace, it is redundant to explain the everyday loss of time and staff motivation, along with the increasing possibility for mistakes and the decreasing quality of the “product”.
Talking about CAREER PLANING from an organizational point of view, we need to have two aspects in mind: how the process goes and what are the benefits.
Career planning – the process
After all of the positions and job descriptions are defined, employees undergo a process consisted of:
– getting familiar with the expectations of the work place and the required competences, as well as going through a grading process – whether their competences meet the work place expectations (this is used later on in the employee development programs)
– getting familiar with the career paths in the company, the positions which are available for their development (horizontally or vertically in the company’s hierarchy), depending on the company’s development plans
– getting a chance to talk to a certified career counsellor about their plans and aspirations towards certain activities or positions in the company, they also fill out personality and values tests in reference with the work place etc.
All of this means that the employee has the opportunity to become aware of his/her value and contribution as well as the importance of the individual engagement for the company and its overall results.
This process is resulting in high levels of employees’ motivation and engagement.
More often than not, the answer to the question “Why am I coming to work?” is “For the paycheck.”. On the other hand, it is clear that the wage is a demotivator for people (explained in low levels of motivation when the wage is low or there is none), and it is not a motivator (above a certain level increasing the wage would not result in increase of the engagement and productivity). Everyone that has tried motivating with the help of (financial) bonuses, has faced the need to constantly enlarge the figures. We are looking for a lot more from our jobs: a purpose for what we are doing, a goal, a feeling of fulfilling our personal mission and its aligning with the rest of our life roles.
The new generations of employees articulate this need even clearer as they are looking for an opportunity to grow, acquire knowledge and experience… Organizations that can offer career counseling as a part of the benefits package for employees are recognized as the ideal work place and they attract and retain quality staff. Their future is safe and secured.
Instead of a conclusion
It is simple, in order for us to have productive employees, who will give their best at work it is of a crucial importance to actually have conscious employees. Those are people who know why they want to build their career in this exact company. And, even more – this concept can be applied to all work positions, from the executives to the upper management.
About the author
Ms. Natasha Ivanovska is a certified career coach and trainer of career facilitators for the international program GCDF (Global Career Development Facilitator). She has a decade of experience working as a career coach on organizational projects and has been a coach for working professionals in the field of career consultancy. Ms. Ivanovska is also a holder of a coaching certificate form the Erickson Coaching College – Canada.
As of 2011 she is the founder of INSIGHT Group (www.insight.mk) whose mission is acquiring highly professional support for the companies in terms of organizational design, strategic planning of human resources, recruitment and selection of future employees, evaluation and establishing of development programs. Throughout her cooperation with companies she believes that everyone has the potential for development/growth with the appropriate professional support, all of which contributes to positive changes in our societies.