Importance of Career Planning in an Organization

Keywords: importance of career planning and development

Until recently, employees could join an organization fully expecting to stay with it for their entire career. Now life-long careers are a thing of the past. Some naive employees still feel that they are immune to the ongoing reductions because they are doing good work and adding value to the organization. However increasing competition, rapid technological change, relentless restructuring and downsizing mean that high performance no longer protects employees from dismissal. People increasingly will move from opportunity to opportunity without regard for traditional job boundaries. Some experts predict that soon full-time careers will no longer be the norm.

Realistic career planning forces employees to be proactive and to anticipate problems and opportunities. It does this by making them establish and examine their career objectives. Career planning and development involves two processes – career planning (employee centered) and career management (organization centered). Career management is integral to HR planning, but HR planning and or career management do not exist or are not integrated in some organizations.

Really, career planning and development should be seen as a process that aligns the interests and skills of employees with the needs of the organization. This means that careers must be managed strategically so the skills demanded by the organization’s strategic business objectives are understood and a work force with a matching profile of skills is developed. Career planning and development play a major part in ensuring that the organization has a competitive and knowledgeable work force.

HR planning and career planning and development:

  • Employees are increasingly concerned about their quality of life.
  • Shortages of skilled workers are producing a global talent war.

Employees and organizations are paying more attention to career planning and development because:

  • There are EEO legislation.
  • Educational levels and employee aspirations are rising.
  • Workers are making the transition from vertical careers to lateral careers
  • Organizations have an increasing sense of obligation to employees.
  • Employee’s responsibility

Every employee should be concerned about his or her own career planning and development. Unfortunately, many employees ignore this responsibility, preferring to leave it to the organization. By adopting such a passive stance, employees give up control of their career, limit their future employability and reduce their chances of achieving their career goals.

Although some organizations provide in-house career planning and development, this is often geared to the organization’s needs and not those of the individual employee. Individual career planning means that the employee must critically examine his or her personal and vocational interests, personal and career goals and present skill and ability levels

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HR department’s responsibility

Proactive HR managers recognize the importance of career planning and development in satisfying individual and organizational needs. If the HR department is fully aware of the organization’s future HR needs, career chances and training and development opportunities, then it is well placed to promote career planning among employees.

Factors in career development

Individual employees must accept the responsibility for their own career development. Failure to do so will prevent smooth and optimal career progression. Factors that are important to successful career development and growth include.

Performance – Employees who perform badly are rarely considered for training and development

Opportunities, international assignments or promotion.

Exposure – If an employee is to succeed, he or she must become known to senior management. Employees can become known to the organization’s decision makers through superior performance, report writing, presentations, and involvement in company training and development programs and social activities.

Reputation – Some organizations have a ‘star’ reputation as breeding grounds for high-potential employees. Consequently, getting a job with the right company can be an important factor in career success and long-term employability

Mentor – Successful managers usually have a mentor or sponsor who helps advance their career by offering advice, giving instruction and opening up career opportunities.

The protégé, by developing more skills and self-confidence, performs better and provides longer service to the organization.

  • Mentoring, by identifying talent, helps companies encourage and capitalize on diversity.
  • Mentoring provides a structure for the growth and development of all employees.
  • Mentoring helps inculcate corporate values.
  • Mentoring improves employee job satisfaction and motivation.
  • Mentors can buffer women from discrimination and help them overcome gender-related barriers to advancement

Ingratiation – Ingratiation may be an effective career strategy, especially when associated with competence.

Development – Ongoing expansion of skills and knowledge makes an employee more valuable and, therefore, more attractive to the organization.

International experience – International experience is increasingly a key to career success (particularly for those aspiring to top management).

Language skills – The internationalization of business and the development of global business centers demand that fast-track managers possess not only good English skills but competency in a second (or third) language.

Computer and Keyboard skills – To have a competitive advantage, computer literacy is a must. High skilled employees must be “technology capable”.

Networking – It is extremely important for an employee to build a network of contacts who are likely to be useful to his or her career development

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Goal setting –successful career planners are self motivated, self starters who are hard working, and most to go about it’

Networking – It is extremely important for an employee to build a network of contacts who are likely to be useful to his or her career development

Golf – Golf is at the centre of business, especially in Asia where most major business deals are concluded on the golf course. The golf course is now called the boardroom of the new millennium because business discussions that start on the golf course often end up in the boardroom

Career plateau

A career plateau refers to that point in an employee’s career at which the probability of an additional promotion is minimal. When this happens, employees find themselves blocked and unable to achieve further advancement. If an employee is to avoid plateauing, it is critical that he or she have the ability to adapt and develop in the face of change or transition

Employees are now ‘reaching plateaus earlier in their careers than did their predecessors – and far earlier than their own expectations so it is important for organizations and individuals to prepare to cope with the phenomenon successfully, particularly when the signs of an impending plateau are observed. The risk of obsolescence is less if organizations accept responsibility for employee development and if employees are prepared to invest time in their development

Dual careers

As more women enter the work force, HR managers must develop specific policies and programs designed to accommodate the dual career aspirations of employees and their spouses. HR managers must be particularly alert to the implications of an employed spouse when providing career counseling to an employee. Dual career couples need to be flexible, to be mutually committed to both careers, to adopt coping mechanisms (such as clearly separating work and non-work roles) and to develop the skills of career planning. Organizations, in turn, can provide flexible work schedules, counseling, effective career management, child care and support with transfers and relocations

Work-family conflict

Work family conflict is evidenced by the dual-income family and the single-parent family. People today are faced with problems of redefining what is meant by success and how to balance work and family. Particularly for women, the integration of work and family responsibilities can be difficult because job demands compete with the traditional family demands of being mother, wife and housekeeper. Men who place family first also face a problem with companies and co-workers. Family-responsive policies such as provision of child care or assistance with child-care expenses and the introduction of flexible work schedules, part-time work, home work, job sharing and flexible leave provisions not only help but result in increased employee commitment.

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Outplacement is a special type of counseling designed to help a terminated employee locate a new career. Services provided by outplacement consultants vary but generally include: advice on termination procedures; career evaluation; psychological appraisal; interview training; résumé preparation; job search techniques, and the provision of office and secretarial services

Careers in human resource management

Those contemplating a career in HRM need to think carefully about their career objectives and how they plan to achieve them. HRM offers many exciting opportunities but also has its limitations. Few HRM practitioners, for example, become managing directors or achieve the same status and income as their counter parts in line management. To enhance personal satisfaction and professional success, individuals should thoroughly assess their own needs and expectations, and gather as much information as they can about HR work, career paths, opportunities, rewards and so on.

Job variety – Job opportunities exist for both generalists and specialists in HRM.

Remuneration – Remuneration for HRM employees has lagged behind that paid to employees in functions

Such as finance and marketing-Australian and US data suggest that the median earnings of full-time HR professionals are in decline and that male HR professionals, on average, still earn more than their female counterparts. However, as HRM moves away from its traditional status of cost centre to that of profit contributor and strategic business partner, the magnitude of the monetary differential is reducing (particularly in banking and financial services and hi-tech companies).

Working conditions- HR departments are frequented by applicants, employees, union officials,

Government inspectors and visitors, so they need to present a favorable image of the organization as a place of employment. Consequently, most HR offices tend to be clean and pleasant places in which to work.


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