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The development of a fully functional career ladder is valueless unless it can assist in improving the competency of employees on both the managerial and technical career ladder. It is important that employees be trained in the skills essential for meeting the challenges that the company faces in achieving its financial objectives. To provide the correct training, it is necessary to develop an inventory of skills and define the current level of mastery of each employee.
To assist the supervisor in this effort, it is helpful to prepare a skills worksheet for each member of the staff. The sheet should include the employee’s career track, ultimate goals, educational background, experience history, the skill level required for the next position the employee is pursuing, and the skill level required for the employee’s ultimate goal.
The most important aspect of the career discussion occurs when the employee and the supervisor meet to review and discuss their respective evaluations. It is critical that a consensus is reached; achieving consensus requires that mastery of a skill at a particular level is demonstrated. The difference between expected competence and actual competence needs to be addressed. By including the skills and the progression of skills required for long-term career objectives, a plan to help the employee meet both short- and long-term career aspirations can be developed.
This process is empowering because it produces a career development document that is customized to each employee’s needs and career aspirations. It also prioritizes the specific skills that need to be improved for each employee. Individuals also know the short- and long-term training that will assist them in achieving higher levels in the organization. Further, employees can determine how much time they want to invest to improve competency in certain skills.
It becomes readily obvious that the typical one-size-fits-all development program implemented by a human resources department may not be of the greatest value. These general corporate programs should be relegated to programs the company wishes to implement at a base level corporate-wide, such as safety and diversity programs. In systems described above, human resources would assist by identifying appropriate courses and training programs for each skill.