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Motivation by Career Development: Part III

By: James M. Wilmott
Posted: August 29, 2008, from the October 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The career development process and the documents that constitute the career development profile can be used for many applications in the company. It allows employees to know what skills they specifically need to develop. It also enables them to understand that they are not going to receive exactly the same training as their colleagues. Rather, what they will get is the same opportunity for training. The amount of formal training an individual can receive in a given year is limited only by the department’s budgetary allocation for training. Ideally, an equitable but not necessarily an equal distribution of funds to each employee in the department is desirable. Further, formal courses can be supplemented with internal training, and mentoring programs can be established between employees who have strength in a particular skill and those who need assistance with that skill.

A worksheet used to document career development can be used to support recommendations for promotions. It enables the supervisor to justify the validity of the promotion requests to management. The process itself is important in optimizing the value of each employee to the corporation. Individuals who are professionally motivated can continue in their fields of expertise and contribute to the company’s success at ever-increasing levels.

Further, the process can be used as a tool to assist the organization in succession planning. Since the key skills for a department are established and the increasing level of manifesting each skill is clearly defined, then individuals demonstrating the capability of assuming the next level of responsibility can be readily identified. The process also helps reduce the subjectivity often associated with succession planning. A manager’s bias, for or against a particular employee, is greatly diminished and conscious or unconscious discrimination is minimized.

Esprit de Corps

Perhaps the most important benefit of the proposed process is that it changes the environment in the department from competition to cooperation. While the managerial ladder, by definition, has an ever-decreasing number of positions available as one makes the ascension, the technical ladder does not. In fact, it is to the organization’s benefit to have as many employees ascend to higher levels of the ladder because their value to the company becomes much greater. There is no practical limit to the number of higher-level professionals. The only restriction is budgetary.

If the skill progressions are done correctly, then these higher-level individuals should be responsible for increasing the success of the organization, which in turn should enhance financial performance and market value. This will make more funds available to reward the efforts of all employees. Since there is no cap on the number of senior professional positions, employees will want to help one another with advancement. A win for one is not a loss for another. A person who is very strong in a particular skill can mentor a colleague who is deficient in that skill and vice versa. This reciprocal mentoring gets everyone involved in the career development of every individual in the department.