Today’s top companies recognize that having a workforce with the right skillsets is critical to staying competitive. As a result, more and more companies are choosing to define jobs by their skills and not their roles. According to Deloitte’s “Building tomorrow’s skills-based organization” survey, 90% of organizations are actively experimenting with skills-based approaches. This shift requires talent to have a more flexible approach when it comes to career advancement and personal development.
This article aims to help you design a more flexible career development plan that meets the needs of your key talent and the goals of your organization.
Skills are more important than degrees
One of the ways that work has changed over recent years is the increased focus on skills over education. Market changes come faster than traditional education can keep up with. And, considering that not all people can afford higher education, employers don’t want to miss out on skilled workers just because they lack a prestigious university degree. The most important question hiring managers can ask is “what can you do?” not “where did you go to school?”. An evolving and up-to-date skillset that includes critical soft skills is what should make a job candidate desirable to hiring managers.
Not all career development is vertical
The Great Resignation showed us that career growth doesn’t have to be vertical for everyone. Though everyone wants to do better for themselves as they progress through their career, some may prefer to experience many different roles to expand their skillsets. These people may make lateral job changes within the same general field or move to a role in an entirely different area of the company, like from sales to talent management.
People change over time
Not all professionals define success the same way, and their goals can change over time. A young single professional might focus on climbing the corporate ladder or desire a large salary to buy a home, but after having a family they might prioritize work-life balance. The key to meeting the needs of these employees requires flexibility with their career development plans to respond to their current goals.
How to design career development that works for everyone
- Understand their objectives. Work with your key talent to understand their desired trajectory and career goals. What are their aspirations and what skills do they need to achieve them? Develop mentorship and coaching programs. Encourage mentorship programs and career coaching for managers and employees. This will give them the guidance they need and help them feel more invested in their career development.
- Support non-traditional career paths. Give key talent the opportunity to explore different career paths and prepare transition plans to minimize disruptions to the team and keep objectives on track. Embrace the non-traditional candidate. Their CV and experiences should be regarded holistically. Interview questions should focus more on whether the applicant can meet the responsibilities of the new role and less on the job’s traditional requirements.
- Make career development part of your employer brand. From their first day on the job, new hires should understand that career development is an important part of the company’s culture. Encourage internal mobility. Communicate job openings internally and consider current employees for open positions before looking outside the company.
- Create a continuous learning environment. It is also important to build skills development into the corporate culture, and allow key talent to set time aside to develop new skills. Give workers more control. Make development resources accessible. The resources they need to reach their goals should be readily communicated, easy to access and simple to use.
No two professionals will ever take the exact same career path, so it’s up to you to develop a flexible, individualized approach to career development. This means understanding what they hope to achieve in their careers and giving them the skills and support they need to reach those goals. This will, in turn, enable you to better attract and retain top talent, and increase employee engagement and productivity.