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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 5 of 6

Another advantage of the performance review is that it begins to identify perceived reasons why the performance either exceeded or was below expectations. Performance below expectations usually is the result of personal, psychological or physiological issues or a lack of the required skills to do the job. Performance above expectation is the result of exceptional effort or high proficiency, creativity or motivation in particularly relevant skills. This is the definition of competency or talent. Recognizing the deficiency or possession of such skills can support employees with their career development and bring satisfaction to the acceptable level desired by both management and employee alike.

Skills and Knowledge Development

While the employee’s performance determines what was done, and its impact on the company’s success, it is equally critical to determine how the task was done. It is in knowing the how that provides the organization the means to determine whether the individual can be successful executing future assignments and responsibilities, i.e., is the person promotable?

In virtually every company, no matter how well-intentioned the human resources effort, this process is a mystery to the staff. The lack of understanding by all involved typically produces the aforementioned mixed emotional response that occurs when a promotion is announced. Inevitably the process is so subjective that it confuses the staff instead of providing the motivational impetus that it should have.

Of paramount importance in developing a career program is the identification of the skills and knowledge that are necessary to meet the demands of the variety of jobs in the organization. These skills will likely vary from department to department within the company. For example, the skills needed at various levels in the accounting/finance department will be markedly different than those of sales, production, R&D or marketing. Regardless of the department, the skills needed to be successful at every level within that department must be recognized, identified and communicated to management and employees alike.

It also must be recognized that skills and knowledge are not static. They must be developed continually and augmented by the employees to optimize their value to the organization especially in a rapidly changing world of technology and business.