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HR Labs Season 4: Changing from career paths into career possibilities

Cornerstone Editors

It’s no surprise that the best way to help people achieve their full potential at work is to provide opportunities for development. But are we — organizations and individuals alike — being too limited in thinking about career growth?

In episode 4 of HR labs Season 4, leadership speaker and author of bestselling books on workplace growth and development (Promotions Are So Yesterday and Help Them Grow Or Watch Them Go) Julie Winkle Giulioni joins host Summer Salomonsen to help you look beyond promotions as the only way to measure career growth. Together, they discuss what it means to provide career possibilities, review a framework managers can use to support their employees’ growth needs and examine why it’s so crucial in our current moment to prioritize organic growth opportunities.

“So the opportunity right now is to shift our focus away from what people want to be, what that next title is, where the promotion is, where the move is all about. And focus more on what people want to do and how we can grow those opportunities in the here and now,” said Winkle Giulioni.

Listen to episode 4 on Apple or Spotify (or anywhere fine podcasts are given away for free)

People are demanding a growth environment

"When you think about it, careers have dramatically changed and yet career development has been left behind. It's operating in much the same way that it has for years, for decades. And now, we have this new dynamic, the virtual-first organizations, where the old geographic boundaries no longer exist. In the now, there are a lot fewer development opportunities in an organization if we choose to define development in terms of promotions, positions, and moves," Winkle Giulioni discusses.

When it comes down to it, “It really is about trading that old focus on promotions for something that's more possibility filled,” said Winkle Giulioni.

There have been decades of downsizing and rightsizing and delayering, until recently boomers were working longer and occupying seats on that org chart for longer. Work now gets done so much more organically rather than hierarchically.

And now, tenures have become shorter and shorter. New entrants to the workplace, they're going to be working 12 different jobs over the course of their working lives.

What risks do organizations have in limiting growth to solely promotions?

"The risk is high," Winkle Giulioni says we know there are lots of reasons that 43 million people left their roles last year in the U.S. But one of the biggest reasons is the perception that there is a lack of opportunity for growth.

Winkle Giulioni explains, “Career development, we've been laying out a menu for so long that just includes the promotion, the position, the move. And if that's all that's on the menu, that's all they're going to order up. And so I don't think that managers or practitioners are resistant to a different way. I just don't think we've given them a lot of other materials to work with.”

Let’s expand from this “menu” and put additional entrees on it she explains. Once employees see more menu items, they can prioritize which they want to tackle/invest in. This will lead to more contribution from the employee in t growth development.

“We want to be able to step up, do more, be of service, make a difference, and there's so much learning to be had there.” Said, Winkle Giulioni

Contribution is the ultimate win-win


When someone is willing to give more, be more, contribute more to the organization, to their jobs, everybody stands to gain.

"So many managers I talk to are afraid to engage in career conversations with people because they think, 'Ah, I can't give them the raise, or the promotion, or whatever.' Give them the chance to contribute." Winkle Giulioni continues,
"Human beings, we have it built into our DNA, the desire to make a difference, to be of service, to do something, to leave things better than they were. And so as a leader, it's a great opportunity for a really profound conversation with people about what kind of difference do you want to make?"

Listen on Apple or Spotify

We’ve barely scratched the surface of this great conversation about how Julie new ways to think about growth in your organization. Listen to the full episode for free wherever you get your podcasts.

There’s so much more! Get ready for more great episodes of HR Labs season 4 coming every week.

  • Feb. 22, 2022 – "Let's rebuild work" with Carly Cooper
  • Mar. 1, 2022 – "Make learning foundational to growth" with Lisa Christensen
  • Mar. 8, 2022 – "Turn skills into your new growth language" with Meredith Wellard of DPDHL
  • Mar. 15, 2022 – "Changing from career paths into career possibilities" with Julie Winkle Giulioni, speaker/author
  • Mar. 22, 2022 – "Reexamining the role of managers in the age of AI" with Ben Eubanks of Lighthouse Research
  • Mar. 29, 2022 – "Putting equity into practice" with Jenn Hultman of Amazon
  • Apr. 5, 2022 – "Thinking big and bold about the future ready workforce" with John Helmer, writer/consultant

Keep exploring how we can make work, work for everyone in season 4 of the HR Labs podcast!

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