During the Great Recession, employers adopted the philosophy that employees needed to own their career development. Honestly, I think employees liked it. They were in charge of their learning and as a result, organizations adopted learning activities such as microlearning, social learning, and more self-directed learning.
Now that more employees are working remotely, I believe we’re going to see a greater level of employee driven career development. Learning doesn’t stop when you work from home. But organizations are going to want and need employees to offer some direction in terms of what remote learning looks like. Not only the best way to deliver remote learning but the topics that employees might find valuable.
Over the last year, we’ve written about some of the skills that employees should be developing. If you’re an employee, you might find these helpful in setting your goals for the year. And if you’re an employer, this could be a discussion starter about the content to offer.
Even though the focus of today’s article is on employee driven career development, organizations that are focused on employee engagement and retention need to consider career development as part of their strategy. Employees want to know that they have a future with the company they work for and part of that means knowing that the company is going to help them accomplish their career goals.
But career development is a broad term. It takes more than one program to create valuable and relevant development opportunities. I’m using the word relevant because career development isn’t just for employees. Career development helps organizations with future staffing needs.
Years ago, I was asked (along with a few other people) to come to the local unemployment office and provide some advice to individuals who had their jobs eliminated and were considering entrepreneurship as their next career. The conversations were exactly what you would expect. We were answering questions about how we became consultants, our biggest challenges, etc. In fact, it was very similar to the process I followed before becoming a consultant.
The reason I’m sharing this story is because a lot of the people who were trying to figure out if consulting was right career move for them were really struggling with the decision. What they really wanted was someone to answer the question: “Do I focus on trying to get a job inside a company or do I focus on starting my own company?” It’s a big decision and one everyone needs to make on their own.
Right now, many of us are concerned about our career. Maybe you’ve been furloughed or laid off. Maybe you’re still working but are starting to hear rumors. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about making a career change for several months. Regardless of your situation, you should be thinking about your career and how to position yourself for opportunities.
There’s a saying in recruiting, “Always be closing.” Well in career development it’s “Always be ready.” As in, “Always be ready for your next opportunity.”
At one point in my career, I worked for an outplacement consulting firm. Part of the company’s role was to help individuals who were laid off find new opportunities. While some people were very upset about losing their jobs, others used the situation to pivot to a career they’ve been wanting to do for a while.
Whether you’re looking for a human resources or managerial role, having HR related skills is important. This article outlines a few skills beyond the usual recruitment, training, and employee relations.
Career development is about the organization and employees working together to identify learning opportunities. There’s no rule that says managers have to tell employees what to learn. And there’s also no rule that says all learning must happen in the office. Use this as an opportunity to build a career development plan that meets both employee and employer needs.
COMING SOON TO THE HR BARTENDER SHOW
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Gainesville, FL9