Employee development and career management are two important pieces of leadership and succession planning efforts for any organization. Both are responsibilities of the organization, the HR department, the employee's manager or supervisor and the employee. Employee development and career management require the identification of specific career-related goals and the selection of training, educational, team and coaching activities that can help employees build the skills they need.
Since employee development and career management are shared responsibilities between the employer and employee, the process begins with conversations between employees and their immediate supervisors -- that may also involve the HR or training department. Both employer and employee may have specific ideas about training and development needs based both on performance and on future desired career goals. While these conversations often take place at the formal annual performance review, there is no reason that they should not be ongoing. Open discussions about both, opportunities for improvement and career progression potential, aid both the employee and the organization.
Focus on the future
While current performance should be a consideration when discussing employee development and career management, it is important to also look toward the future in terms of the environmental impacts on the business that may affect career opportunities. These may include such things as the advent of new technology that requires new skills and capabilities, or the anticipation of significant turnover through retirement of employees in key roles. This information can help the employee and the organization focus development and career management activities on relevant issues the organization anticipates in its future.
Identify Training and Education Opportunities
There are a wide range of potential training and education opportunities that can aid in the employee development and career management process. Some of these may be available internally through the HR or training department, other opportunities may come through local universities and technical colleges, through trade organizations or through for-profit organizations that offer various training activities. In addition, the Internet has opened up a broad range of often low-cost and no-cost training opportunities available through blogs, podcasts and even webinars.
Training and development activities are important, but real-world, on-the-job experiences are a critical part of any employee development or career management process. Together, the employee and manager can identify development needs and then the manager can help the employee seek opportunities to address those needs through experiences working on teams or special projects. Often, HR departments play a key role in this process by managing formal programs designed to enhance career development opportunities for employees throughout the organization.