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Marriott Trains Managers To Become Partners in Career Development

April 1, 1994
As recently as 10 years ago, the lodging industry was growing exponentially. New hotels were being built as fast as companies could plan for them. As employees were hired to staff those properties and managers hired to oversee the staff, quick movement up a vertical career path wasn't just possible, it was practically assured.

Today, the industry is overbuilt and many companies like Marriott International, based in Bethesda, Maryland, are struggling to keep their resorts, hotels and inns profitable. Operating in this competitive environment, Marriott realizes it no longer can promise—or imply—that promotions will be forthcoming. Given the business realities, Marriott employees must begin to think about their careers in more creative ways, explains Steve Bauman, director of human resources planning. Furthermore, "Instead of the company being paternal, we have to help employees become responsible for their own career development."

One of the ways Marriott is doing this is by training its managers to become career coaches who are able to help employees examine and manage their career options. Marriott is rolling out a workshop, called "Partners in Career Management," nationwide. Eventually, all 6,000 management-level employees will attend the course.

The purpose of this new workshop is to provide Marriott's managers and supervisors with a four-step model to assist them in managing their own careers, and also prepare them to hold more effective career discussions with their employees. It's the company's hope that after attending the course, managers will be able to:

  1. Help employees identify skills, values and interests and answer the question, "Who am I?"
  2. Offer ongoing feedback and help employees answer the question, "How am I seen?"
  3. Help employees create a set of realistic career goals and answer the question, "What are my career alternatives?"
  4. Help associates develop action plans and answer the question, "How can I achieve my goals?"

In addition, managers will be expected to learn about career resources that are available in the organization, hold career discussions with employees on an ongoing basis and identify developmental activities and experiences to help employees to build their knowledge and skills and improve performance.

The coaching workshop is proof of Marriott's belief that career development involves a cooperative three-way relationship between the employee, his or her manager and the organization. Key to this relationship, however, is how well the employee takes advantage of the developmental and career opportunities that are available.

By training its managers to help company employees learn of these opportunities, Marriott will be closer to ultimately shifting the responsibility for career management away from the company and toward the employee.

At Marriott, employees are responsible for:

  • Assessing their own skills, values, interests and developmental needs
  • Determining long- and short-term career goals
  • Creating with their manager a career-development plan to reach their goals
  • Following through with their plan
  • Learning about and taking advantage of other career-management resources that are offered by Marriott, such as the online job-posting system
  • Meeting with their managers on a regular, consistent basis for career-development discussions
  • Recognizing that career discussions imply no promises or guarantees
  • Recognizing that their career development will depend directly on Marriott's organizational needs and opportunities as well as on their own performance and abilities.

Personnel Journal, April 1994, Vol.73, No. 4, p. 64I.