In today’s tough economic circumstances, business leaders are seeking competitive advantage through the best use of their people more than ever before. In a time when the job market is uncertain many leaders may feel that supporting the career management of their staff is not a priority, seeing it as something that is personal to employees.
But the challenge is, that while you as a leader will want to maximise your employees performance, your employees want to maximise their careers – and these goals are not one and the same.
Years of change, restructuring, outsourcing and down-sizing have caused people to take a more active role in managing their careers. Employees at all levels face career decisions on a daily basis: is my job safe? Should I stay or should I leave? Should I change careers? Should I pursue new projects? Should I go back to university? Should I start up on my own? And in a rapidly-changing work environment, the answers are not always obvious.
It is in the context of this economic reality that helping employees to develop their careers assumes more significance not less. Career management is about getting people to where they want to be and where the organisation needs them to be. If you want your people to be committed to the organisation, engaged with their work and driven to perform you need to provide them with the tools and resources they need to manage their careers within the organisation.
Sadly, in a buoyant job market it’s often easier for employees to leave a company than to manage their career internally. In the tough economy we’re in right now, the bigger risk is that employees quit (mentally) and stay! So supporting your employees in managing their careers isn’t just a “nice” thing to do – it’s a business imperative.
Support your employees in managing their careers and they will feel connected to their work, valued for their contribution, engaged with the organisation, and motivated to contribute. Their willingness to apply and increase their capability will be enhanced.
Ignore the subject and you risk the capability of your team being driven down as individuals exit either psychologically, becoming disengaged or demotivated, or physically by moving to competitors.