A couple of years ago, I wrote an article titled “Create a Personal User Manual So Others Know How to Work with You”. I think it’s a great onboarding activity for managers and new employees to start building positive working relationships.
At last year’s Qualtrics X4 Experience Management Summit, I heard about another kind of manual that organizations should consider giving their employees. This one is focused on career development and how to get a promotion – a career development manual. Dan Spaulding, chief people officer at Zillow Group, a leading real estate and rental marketplace, was sharing with attendees how Zillow is in a growth mode and they want to make sure their talent pipeline is ready for future opportunities.
Even if your organization isn’t in a growth mode, giving employees clear expectations regarding what it takes to get a promotion or pursue a specific career path is the right thing to do. Spaulding shared that there were three elements to getting a promotion/new opportunity at Zillow.
Individual Readiness + Job Scope + Business Need = New Job!!
This makes total sense to me. The company needs the position. The employee needs to be ready and capable to do the job. But here’s where it gets tricky. In many organizations, employees don’t have much control over business need.
Where employees do have control is their job scope and individual readiness. I tend to think of job scope has the employee’s ability to do their current job. And hopefully, employees are receiving regular feedback about their current job performance during performance reviews and one-on-one meetings with their manager.
The component of this promotion formula that I believe can get overlooked is individual readiness. And that’s why it could make some sense to give employees a career development manual. Individual readiness is one area where employees can take the lead in their own development. Here are some things to consider including in the manual:
General readiness skills that every employee should work on. No matter where you are in your career path, it’s always a good idea to focus on your listening skills, ways to become a better team player, opportunities to show genuine appreciation to others, proven strategies for getting the work done, and activities to stay current with the business. It also couldn’t hurt to encourage employees to deliver relevant feedback and be curious with technology. Those are just a few ideas. I’m sure you have some more that you can share with your team.
In addition to giving employees some ideas about skills and competencies they should develop; organizations can offer some suggestions about where they can learn. Let employees know where they can find organizational resources such as a business library, blogs, and sponsored webinars or podcasts. If the company offers a buddy or mentoring program, make sure employees know how to access it so they can start building connections. And finally, don’t forget to let employees know about training programs or special projects they can be considered for to add work experience.
All of these things – resources, experiences, and connections – allow employees to become ready for new opportunities. Organizations have a wonderful opportunity to create a career development manual they can share with new employees at some point during the onboarding process. It’s a good way to tell employees that the company hopes they will be around for a long time.10