5 minute read – Posted by – April 20, 2018

Kickstart career planning for the first time

When it comes to maximizing employee success and happiness, career planning with your team is a must.

The reality is, most of us are going to work 40 hours weeks for most of our adult lives. It only makes sense that we plan to improve this experience over the years. This is where career planning comes in. We owe it to ourselves and our teams to create plans that guide us to obtain new skills and opportunities to will assist us in achieving career goals.

As a quick overview, here’s what Canada’s largest innovation hub, MaRS, has to say about career planning:

“Traditionally, it was up to an organization to ensure that its employees had the skills to meet the company’s long-term goals. Now, however, employees advocate that they are—and should be—responsible for their own career development.”

That means, while it was deemed a nice-to-have for organizations to have career planning in the past, it’s now a necessary employee retention strategy. More and more employees are advocating for growth and development support from employers.

Companies can get ahead of the game by putting career planning processes in place. For instance, establishing that employees can share their personal development goals with their manager during onboarding. Then, creating an open environment for employees to broaden the scope of their work by encouraging coaching and mentorship.

Your organization is full of talent. The growth and development of your team will enable the organization itself to scale its success. This is why making career planning is a key element of your culture should be preached and exercised early and often.

In this article, I’ll be sharing tips to kickstarting career planning for the first time in your organization. Let’s begin…

Career growth and development opportunities

When organizations consider the growth of employees, most don’t look beyond their current roles, let alone next advancement. However, career planning implies that this short-term thinking needs to be put aside to make way for growth and development opportunities.

When we consider advancement into leadership roles, we notice there are fewer jobs as employees continue to move through the organization. That being said, career planning doesn’t necessarily mean providing advancement opportunities internally. Organizations that do career planning well, can help their employees obtain skills and experience they need to take the next step on their desired career paths.

As an organization that values the growth and development of employees, here are some ways you can help employees hit their career goals:

  • Allow for employees to shadow others in positions they would like to learn more about.
  • Set aside funds for employees to broaden their knowledge and skills through training and classes.
  • Encourage knowledge sharing through internal meet-ups and/or regular lunch and learns.
  • Be open to helping employees make lateral transitions to other roles they want to explore.
  • Always build a coaching culture that allows for cross-departmental learning and support.

5 Steps to kickstart career planning in your organization

Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, VP of Apollo Research Institute and Scholar in Stanford University’s Media X program recommends kickstarting career planning with goals in your organization:

“People who are the most successful and satisfied in their careers have proactively determined what they want from work. Once they’ve decided on their goals, they make a plan to accomplish the goals.”

Here at 7Geese, we couldn’t agree more. Developing career goals, like organizational goals are incredibly important. It’s one of the more effective ways to anticipate, measure and achieve milestones.

That being said, here are 5 quick steps to kickstart career planning in your organization:

  1. Create the option for employees to set career-related goals or KPIs along with role-related ones.
  2. Ensure managers understand the career-related goals of their direct reports and check-in with them with regards to mentorship and guidance.
  3. To formalize career planning in your organization, consider developing career paths for employees.
  4. Discuss career paths with employees during performance reviews to make relevant changes or adjustments.
  5. Build a culture where employees are able to speak up when opportunities arise. Managers are not perfect and employees need to be encouraged to take growth opportunities into their own hands. This includes asking about relevant opportunities they are interested in.

With all this in mind, stay tuned for upcoming articles on career pathing and how it fits into the performance management of your organization.

Also published on Medium.

May Chau

May is a Content Strategist contributing to the improvement of modern performance management at 7Geese. Connect with her via may@7geese.com