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Motivation by Career Development

By: James M. Wilmott
Posted: October 14, 2008, from the June 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 3 of 6

Maximum satisfaction requires an understanding of the clear distinction between job performance and career management. Most organizations try to merge these two concepts. Performance is defined as the execution of pre-established or implied goals and objectives. By contrast, career development is defined as the understanding of the skills and expectations required as one ascends the corporate ladder. This is combined with the preparation of a rational program designed to assist individuals in acquiring the training needed to enhance these skills as well as applying them successfully in their jobs. In other words, performance is focused on the what-to-do while career assessment concentrates on the skills needed to get it done.

It is extremely important that these distinctions be appreciated in creating a corporate evaluation program. To avoid confusion, job performance and career development should be evaluated separately during the course of the year. The elements of the performance and career development programs include the key documents that drive each program and the event that determines the relative level of compliance in fulfilling the commitments.

Evaluating Performance

When evaluating performance, managers should focus on an individual’s accomplishments for the year as viewed by management and the employee. It must be determined whether the employee completed selected goals and responsibilities in a competent, high-quality and timely manner. These goals should be developed carefully in advance based on the corporate financial and commercial targets for that particular year. These goals and objectives represent the contract made between the employees and their supervisors, who represent the position of the company.

Progress toward completing these goals should be reviewed regularly both formally and informally throughout the year. In this way, the performance review becomes a dynamic, living document. Such reviews may not be done as often as one would like due to the daily pressures of the job. Ideally they are conducted at clear moments when either the manager or the employee feels they can point to a specific accomplishment. This would then be incorporated into the living review document.

Revisions to the initial goals should be made when necessary to reflect changes in corporate direction. Such changes typically come as the result of a shift in the market, in corporate strategy or in the regulations governing the market. They also may occur as a result of changes in corporate management or ownership. A formal review should occur annually with the measurement of progress toward completing the goals and objectives initially discussed between the supervisor and the employee. The degree of completion must be considered in light of the factors the employees had within their control. For example, were sufficient human and monetary resources available? Did the corporation change direction? Was there an acquisition? These and other factors need to be considered carefully in order to accurately assess the degree of success at completing the goals.