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Plan Your Employees’ Future Because You Might Not Like Their Plan!
By Janine Moon

Career development – helping employees chart their future with a company – has traditionally been looked on by corporations the way legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes looked at the forward pass.  He noted that a forward pass could result in three possible outcomes, and two of them were bad.

Corporations fear that career development might help employees grow (potential outcome 1), but it will also impact the bottom line and might merely make the employees attractive to other companies (potential outcomes 2 and 3).

But even Woody, in his later years at Ohio State, acknowledged that the forward pass had a legitimate place in the game, and corporations need to accept the same inevitable fact about developing their employees.  You won’t win without it.

Career planning has hardly been the sexiest subject in human resources circles.  It is talked about, it is addressed to some degree but it’s never among the Top 10 on corporations’ “things to do” list.

It needs to be there now!

Today’s newer employees break from the Boomers when it comes to career planning.  Generation Xers, particularly the younger portion of that generation, place strong value in controlling their own destiny.  They are willing to acquire a career portfolio, changing jobs to gain experience, grabbing an additional degree if they feel it necessary to further their career.  And they do it for good reason: Many watched their parents get right-sized, re-engineered, RIF’d or fall victim to other corporate efforts to improve the bottom line, even if it meant cutting loose experienced, loyal employees.  Generation X employees are not going to allow themselves to be placed in such a vulnerable position…if they can help it.  And they’re trying to help it by taking responsibility for their own careers.

Organizations that fail to recognize this group’s need for guidance in charting their career paths are opening themselves to a revolving door scenario in their employment office.  While Boomers may have been low-maintenance with regards to career development (waiting to be picked for the career ladder), Generation X has an innate need for creating pathways to security and success.  The corporation or organization can help them chart it, and earn the appreciation of the associate, or they can leave the development to the associate and probably watch him or her chart a path right out the front door.

Today’s youngest employees, Generation Y, expect help in becoming an important part of the organization, and often times they feel it’s more important to contribute than it is to climb the corporate ladder.  They are accepting of cross-training because it expands their opportunity for success; they welcome the mentoring of older workers because it will help them avoid major pitfalls as they gain experience; and they like working for supervisors who listen and who provide feedback…the more the better.

Worry about making employees attractive to other companies?  That argument might have held some water in the past, but today the company that encourages associate development and assists employees with charting a dynamic career path should have no fear of employees leaving.  The company, by valuing its employees and committing to their success, will develop a culture that no one wants to leave.

Janine Moon is president of Workforce Change, a Master Certified Career Coach and a Professional Speaker. Through her subsidiary, CompassPoint Coaching, (http://CPCoaching.com) Janine has provided executive coaching and career services to mid-career professionals and change management services to organizations seeking success in the 21st century global economy.

A widely-recognized expert—and speaker—on generational values, Janine is also President-elect of the Ohio Chapter of the National Speakers Association. Learn more about her solutions to the challenges of a changing workforce by visiting http://WorkforceChange.com

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