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<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Can I Help Employees Manage Their Careers

January 9, 2002
QDear Workforce:

A fellow HR colleague has wondered aloud if she has the personality orpassion for HR. As an HR practitioner, how can I assist employees who may be ata career crossroads?

- Striving to keep good people, HR professional, mining/oil/gas, Point LisasIndustrial Estate, Trinidad & Tobago.

A Dear Striving:

In today's workplace, each individual is responsible for managing his or hercareer. Although there are probably as many individual career goals as there arepeople working in the world, the process of career management has twofundamental objectives. There is an internal dimension, or what the process cando for people psychologically and emotionally. Then there is an externaldimension, which relates to an individual's employability. Balancing theemotional with the practical is the goal in successful career management.

I suggest that you have your employees ask themselves the following three questions:

  1. What can I do?

  2. What will I do?

  3. What do I want to do?

Once they have answered those questions, they should match their answersagainst market trends, in order to find their level of employability. While somepeople may find that their skill set does not necessarily match the specificqualifications for certain jobs or industries, they should not be afraid to makea change (even if it means taking a pay cut or loss of title, if they believethat change will help them reach their ultimate career goals).

The road to self-discovery in one's career begins with self-assessment.Determining the answers to the questions above is just the first step in ajourney. However, it is the foundation upon which people build their futurecareers. After securing the base, they can begin building and managing theircareer by:

  • Setting Goals and Objectives.

  • Evaluating Objectives: Can you accomplish them on your own or will you needhelp? Are you being realistic?

  • Assessing the Market: Do you belong in your current organization or is therea better place for you?

  • Strengthening Your Skills: Employability today is based on your ability tocontinue to learn.

  • Making a Plan of Action: Now that you have determined what you want and whereyou want to be, it is time to start making a plan of action.

  • Taking Action.

By helping your employees understand what it means to manage their careerssuccessfully, you may in fact be implementing a retention strategy. If youremployees recognize that their career satisfaction is important to you and thecompany, they may be more inclined to realize through their self-assessment thatthey are in the right place because their values are aligned with theorganization's values.

SOURCE: Ken Kneisel, Senior VicePresident, U.S. field operations, Drake BeamMorin, Atlanta, Georgia, Aug. 10, 2001.

LEARN MORE: See "Assess Your Company for Development"

The information contained in thisarticle is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, butshould not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember thatstate laws may differ from the federal law.

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