Learning trends

The challenge of career management

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the Challenge of Career Management

For the workforce, an updated CV or résumé is like a valid passport. It allows them to come and go wherever and whenever they want if they have met the standards of an organization. However, companies are demanding  an increasing amount of experience before onboarding a new talent. Combined with workers’ increasing need to pave their way from company to company to reach their career goals, we ask the following: how can your organization meet both the challenge of finding the right talent and offering the career opportunities that your talent is seeking? The answer is career management.

Career management is a core functionality of any company. Whether to retain talent or to help workers reach their full potential through training, career management  has been a common characteristic of all successful and efficient organizations. Interestingly, in a study by Bersin, a Deloitte brand, it was demonstrated that workers tend to be more engaged when given opportunities for development, growth and career progression. Of course, you could be wondering why this is suddenly such a big issue. After all, you probably already have a strategy. Why career management, so suddenly?

The easiest answer is the following: globalization and market intensification. As we have already mentioned, competition is more fierce than ever, and retaining talent is now a top priority for most organizations. Career management is a way to reach that goal more efficiently and on the long run.

There is no one way to approach career management. The recent shift in  the relationship between employers and employees calls into question previous career management policies. And research results share one common point: the most proven success factor in career management is the ability to carry out a holistic strategy, aligning with organizational goals and needs.

Approaches to Career Management

In the past few years, volatile markets, solid international competition, and quickly changing industries, along with unstable workforces, the need to upskill workers, and evolving worker expectation, have led organizations to rethink their career management strategies, with several major shifts to take into account:

Increasing movement of the workforce means that career paths within an organization are giving way to what Bersin researchers call a “career journey”. This phenomenon explains how talent move up and down an organization, in an entrepreneurial way, tailoring their career to their own expectations. As a result, organization have to adapt their structure to be more flexible.

– Accounting for a variety of non-traditional talent such as interns, consultants and so on, companies are considering the presence of new talent sources. As such, the growth of companies such as Accenture, a consulting firm with specialized branches, or separate e-learning companies  like CrossKnowledge, have changed recruitment and the path taken by a variety of talent seeking employment or career advancement. Finally, while individual practices and innovation of career management can be useful, they are less so than overall alignment with organizational goals and needs. Companies are more effective in implementing their career management strategies when they align the way they move people through the organization, and when they make career management as a top priority.

Of course, although there is no one way to approach career management, research have revealed what could be seen as the four main trends. From the more traditional to the more radical, they all reveal rather similar results when implemented effectively:

  1. Structured approach: The focus of this approach is on career paths that talent is prepared for earlier on. As such, these companies main concern is to ensure a well-stocked talent pool that stays within the organization’s structure.
  2. Flexible approach: This approach concentrates on moving talent in a way similar to the structured approach while still being flexible on an individual level in order to accommodate talent development and organizational needs.
  3. Open approach: With this approach, talent is organized into teams based their top skills  where they are given projects adapted to their competencies. Providing talent with active and aggressive internal mobility and opportunities, it helps them create individualized career paths and develop in ways that are more fulfilling.
  4. Transitory approach: This approach is more radical in that it facilitates work by finding, managing and caring for talent. The approach is tailored to each individual and comes from a variety sources, whether they be internal or external. It often has a narrow focus on the work that is being considered and on the talent themselves, who are moved in and out of the organization much more flexibly once their tasks are completed.

Career management is therefore a key issue that needs to be considered by every organization. It can define the way a company handles their talent and therefore their ability to survive market pressure. And, as far-fetched as establishing a career management strategy might seem, always remember what Louisa May Alcott once wrote in Little Women: “I’ve got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen”. Now, you also know how to unlock your career management strategy.