Blog Post

Career Planning: The Company's Role in Creating Employee Success

Sharlyn Lauby

Have you helped someone plan their career today? There's no time like the present. Here's why: In a perfect world, we want employees to enjoy their chosen career. If they do, then it can translate to engagement, which ultimately has a positive impact on the business.

Career planning is simply the process of matching career goals with capabilities. Put another way, it's about connecting what people do well with what they want to do.

But career planning isn't a one-person activity. While individuals have an important role in their own career planning (more on that later), organizations have a responsibility as well. Key word here: responsibility. Helping employees find a successful career path is in the best interest of the organization. So, this exercise isn't optional.

3 ways that organizations can support career planning

One way to view career planning is in terms of employee career stages, for example: early, mid and late career. It is important to note that this could also offer the organization some flexibility. Early career could be viewed as either new to the job, new to the company or both. The same philosophy applies to mid and late career.

This approach gives organizations several options when it comes to their support of career planning efforts. Here are three different ways that organizations can use existing programs to support an employee:

1. Tools

Whether a person is new to the organization or their role, organizations need to provide them with useful tools. Early stage career development starts with orientation and onboarding. These programs are specifically designed to give new employees the tools they need to be successful. Whether it's helping a new manager learn how to create a budget or teaching an employee tips for a successful 1:1 meeting, organizations can make an impact in an employee's career by giving them the right tools (and teaching them how to use them).

2. Guidance

After employees are given the tools, managers can play a role in career planning by offering guidance. Find out what employees like about their work (and what they don't). Encourage them to take on new assignments to learn and develop skills. Encourage employees to do their own self-awareness activities so they can start identifying the things they enjoy and those they have an interest in learning more about. This is also a good activity for managers to start introducing employees to the concepts of self-learning.

3. Coaching

Once employees have the tools and start experimenting with them, managers can take on the role of coach to support career development. A way to do that is by sharing with employees the things they do well. Sometimes, we all need to hear that we have a skill or aptitude for something. If an employee has an interest in something they haven't exactly perfected, the manager can also provide some feedback on skills the employee could pursue with additional learning.

What if managers in your organization have already done these things? The question then becomes: do your managers realize the impact they have on employee careers? It's a significant role and one that should be taken seriously. In fact, managers might want to start asking employees during 1:1 meetings or during stay interviews, "What can I do to help your career?"

Organizations can make or break careers

Just because it's the employee's career, doesn't mean the organization doesn't have a role and responsibility in the matter. Companies can have a tremendous positive impact by giving employees the right tools, guiding conversations and coaching performance.

A final note: We all know that companies shouldn't be asked to assume all of the responsibility for career planning. The other half of the career planning belongs to the employee.

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