One of the most important functions of the HR department is to help manage the career paths of employees (known as career management). When employees take responsibility for their career management, they are engaging in career planning. At the point where the employee’s needs match up with the company’s needs, the process of career development is born.
Employees are ultimately responsible for their career and career path. However, it’s important that both the employee and the company understand that career development is a two-way street.
Summary of requirements
Employees are ultimately responsible for their career and career path. However, it’s important that both the employee and the company understand that career development is a two-way street. The organization must communicate to workers that if an employee is interested in a specific career path, the employee should make that known to his or her manager.
Designing employee career paths. An employee’s career development has multiple stages (beginning, intermediate, and final). HR professionals should develop a list of jobs and the logical progression from one to another.
- Beginning stage. For example, an employee accepts an entry level position (beginning stage) as a bookkeeper in the accounting department. This employee would become increasingly competent in the position and at the same time learn the organization’s rules and procedures. As time passes, the employee decides to stay with the company and wants to follow a career path to get to his or her ultimate job or position — accounting department manager).
- Intermediate stage. At this point, employees tell their manager about the desired position or long-term goal. The manager would then communicate this information to the HR department. The HR department will set into motion the necessary career development program to help the employee reach the goal. As the employee moves along the career path (bookkeeper to accountant to senior accountant), there is time for them to review his or her career plans and make additional choices or changes (intermediate stage).
- Final stage. At the final stage in the employee’s career, the position of accounting department manager is reached. The employee continues to redefine his or her career development goals (for example, deciding now to move to a non-profit organization and work for less salary — but assuming the position of chief financial officer).
Career development programs. Career development programs can take many different forms, such as:
- Career planning seminars,
- Computer-bases training,
- Job rotation/enlargement,
- Mentoring, and
- Succession planning.