Career management in the modern workplace
The world of work has changed and whatever career one chooses, there is no guarantee of a job for life. You can’t even be sure that the job you take at the start of your career will still exist when you reach retirement age. To enable employees to succeed in a dynamic environment they need to develop the skills and behaviours that will support them to manage their career effectively and confidently.
This is not about matching personal traits and preferences to a job function but affording support to individuals to develop their employability skills so as to build a fulfilling career. Enabling employees to build such skills will allow them to:
- Effectively establish and maintain a career that suits their needs, ambitions and aspirations;
- Identify learning goals in respect of employability skills;
- Understand the labour market and what the skills they need to progress;
- Identify opportunities for progress within their chosen career;
- Enable smart career decisions, to be resilient in the face of change and make confident career choices.
Career management is a lifelong process rather than an event. The modern workplace requires continual task and role change and career management skills allow a person to proactively manage the career building process, based on the traits of commitment to lifelong learning, resilience and adaptability.
Career management for maximum employability
An engaged employee uses reflective decision-making processes in building a career with realistic and meaningful career goals, identifying and committing to strategic work decisions and learning opportunities, while recognising the value of work/life balance.
Proactive career management means that employees will be:
- Be familiar with their chosen field and industry - the opportunities and challenges and beliefs, norms, values and culture, as well as general labour market information
- Be able to effectively identify and choose relevant opportunities for advancement in terms of career pathway, projects and roles
- Know how long to stay in a role, when to exploit a new employment or training opportunity and be able to move quickly when an opportunity arises
- Know about personal marketing and how to represent their skills and abilities in a way that is attractive to employers or clients
- Build social capital by nurturing a strategic personal and professional network of those who may be able to offer advice, opportunities and other resources.
It is plain that the skills needed for career management are highly personal and depend on self-awareness and reflective processes that drive the employability skills needed to succeed in a competitive market where employers vie for talent. Career paths are increasingly personal to the individual who may work in a range of roles, functions, sectors and careers. The career ladder is no longer the dominant model as increasingly we see lateral moves and tours of duty as desirable in a world where the ‘career’ is a fluid and subjective concept.
Creating the right environment
For organisational leadership there is a real benefit in ensuring that employees are provided with an environment that works for all generations and which reflects the values and culture of the organisation. In the ideal world this is not just a range of work space options to choose from but a really smart work environment that encourages networking and collaboration.
A Future of Work podcast engaged in a discussion with Mary Bilbrey, the chief human resource officer of JLL in the Americas, around the corporate real estate environment and workplace strategy integrates with the talent strategy. Mary talks about the use of space and technology within the space to promote wellbeing. She mentions the new McDonald's headquarters in Chicago which is a really smart building, where employees tap into the internet of things to provide an adaptive workplace that provides an efficient, effective and attractive environment which accommodates the ebb and flow of how people work.
Enhancing the employee experience
This approach provides not just financially operational efficiency but an employee experience which is really fit for the future and enables an employer to differentiate themselves in driving the connection to their brand, their values, their culture. She provides a really great example of this differentiation and how it impacts the employee experience.
At the new Toyota headquarters down in Texas there is a light fixture, a chandelier made out of deployed airbags - what it really represents to the employees is a symbol that they save lives. They don't just make Toyota cars, they actually save lives; there is a real emotional connection.
We tend to focus on compensation, perks and benefits and the open floor plans and this and that, but tend to forget to connect what the company stands for and the Toyota chandelier reframes that connection for an enhanced employee experience.
Little things make a big difference, so it’s important to take into account what makes employees feel connected to the organisation. For young workers today it is crucial to feel good, that what they're doing during the day is meaningful and so management need to think about that in terms of employer branding and providing an environment and amenities. You can leverage the efficiency of the workplace by providing choices and enabling integration of working life and personal preferences for the workforce which will benefit everybody.
The modern workplace requires continual task and role change and career management skills allow a person to proactively manage the career building process, based on the traits of commitment to lifelong learning, resilience and adaptability