Career Development

The process by which individuals progress through a series of stages in their careers, each of which is characterized by a relatively unique set of issues, themes, and tasks, is known as career development.

Career development consists of two processes- career planning and career management.

  • Career Planning consists of actions and activities that individuals perform to give direction to their work life. Management or HR professionals often assist individuals as they assess their skills and abilities in order in order to establish a career plan, but the focus here is on the individual and their responsibilities.
  • Career Management involves preparing, implementing, and monitoring employees' career paths, with a primary focus on the goals of the organization. Individuals are actively involved in career management activities but the emphasis is on the organization providing development programs and opportunities that align with its interests, such as staffing and succession planning.

With a strong career management program, organizations can design and implement strategies that are aligned with business objectives and with the interests and goals of individuals. Such programs foster innovation and change in the workplace as well as employee retention.

In truth, an organization that ignores the personal goals of its employees will continually face morale problems, miss opportunities to match new organizational requirements with the best qualified candidates, and risk losing stellar employees.

Conversely, employees need to understand the goals of the organization in order to fully target their aspirations or, at minimum, to ensure that they do not render themselves dispensable by their lack of identification with organizational direction and changing skill/position requirements.

Career Development Programs

Organizations have a wide range of possible career development tools and activities to choose from. Organizations that have rich and fulfilling programs have integrated a variety of these activities into an overall career management strategy. Generally, these tools and activities can be classified as employee self-assessment tools and individual coaching/ counseling.