Why Should Our Small Firm Care About Career Planning?
Even though we have fewer than 200 employees, how could our human resources function develop career paths for them? <i>—-Forward Thinker, HR director, publishing/communication/advertising, Dearborn, Michigan</i>
Dear Forward Thinker:
With fewer than 200 employees, your company may not be large enough to develop career paths for everyone—but it is certainly large enough to discuss career development with all of them.
Developing career paths inside the company requires that you:
1) Define groups of job roles that share significant characteristics, such as support, technical, sales, supervisory, managerial roles, and so on.
2) Identify the knowledge, skill and experience requirements for each of these roles, and
3) Highlight the differences among roles as potential development opportunities for people who are motivated and able to bridge the gaps.
If this information is available, your employees can see what it takes to be prepared for a desired role when opportunity knocks. High-potential employees might also be encouraged to acquire additional education or experience—and the commitment you make to them will likely help with retention and long-range planning, even if they must go outside the company to obtain it.
Don't let your size dissuade you. Despite limited opportunities for promotion, career development can and should still be happening. Advancement could include:
- Expanding job responsibilities to enable individuals to develop new skills and open up other career options
- Participating in company initiatives that force employees to stretch themselves and use other talents and skills
- Training managers to initiate meaningful discussions with employees, or having human resources take part in career planning. This tends to boost engagement, despite not every employee having a future with your company.
The company benefits when you develop the skills people need to compete in a challenging employment environment. Your HR function can play a pivotal role helping employees confront reality and make informed choices about their career aspirations.
SOURCE: George Klemp, Cambria Consulting, Boston, January 8, 2013
LEARN MORE: For insights on how career plans spur potential, please read What Impact Does Career Development Exert on Employee Performance?
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.