How to facilitate career development of employees?
First Round Capital
I wanted to know how managers can facilitate career development better as I have had some bad experiences in the past and want to do better myself when I will work as a manager. I found an interesting video by Russ Laraway titled “First Round Capital” and was inspired to write a blog post from it. I will link the video in the end so you too can watch it.
Laraway first defines the problem on career development planning by introducing approaches such as Career Fight club, Keynesian Careerism, Check in the Box and Haphazard.
Career Fight club refers to nobody discussing career development with anyone which often leads to the employees not even knowing they are supposed to do that and seeing it as something that is not part of the workplace. In Keynesian Careerism the focus is on short-term career outcomes and long-term results are not considered. An example of this is an idea that promotion is the same as career development.
“Promotion represents an incremental success and incremental growth and at the worst they are no more than a title change. A nice formal gesture to recognise work well done.” Russ Laraway
Check in the Box is all about engagement surveys among employees. Results show that many people will leave the company in the next 5 years as they are worried about lack of career development. Often the response to this is placing all employees on Individual Development Plan (IDP). Unfortunately, those IDPs are then forgotten and not worked upon because the company considers the problem solved. With the Haphazard approach you do not plan at all and just hope to make the choices that you towards your goal.
Laraway then introduces an approach that focuses on understanding someone’s past, future and present as a more productive way of facilitating career development. It is used to discover where is the employee coming from, where do they want to go, and what actions to take in the present to get there. He calls the past “Life Story”, the future “Dreams” and present “Career Action Plan”.
In Life Story discussions a manager discusses with an employee for one hour and they begin the story from kindergarten age. The aim is to find turning points in their stories and ask further questions to discover why they changed their life at the turning points. Should look to find five to ten turning points and discover patterns that allow you to understand not only what the employee values, what they enjoy and what is important to them but also what they tend to avoid. Life Story discussions show the manager how the employees reached the present workplace.
Aim of a Dreams discussion is to discover what the employees want to be in the future. Laraway recommends asking three questions:
1.What size company do you imagine working for?
3.What kind of role do you envision?
The Life Story and Dreams discussions lead to Career Action Plan. It is divided into four parts: Develop Role, Develop Skills, Develop Network and Develop Next Step. Develop Role means that it is possible to develop their current role in ways that will help them move towards their career goal. It not only will show that the manager and company want to invest in the employee but that they support them in more ways than one. In Develop Skills parts the employee and manager choose training and courses that would build the skills and competencies necessary for reaching the goal. In Develop Network part they are looking into who are people who can give instructions or wisdom and can have an effect on reaching the employee’s career goal by introducing opportunities. Develop Next Step means to define what is the next role that can take the employee closer to their goal.
Each step should have three to five actions attached to them and those actions should answer questions who, will do what and by when. Those three questions must be answered by the planned actions or they are not planned enough to lead to any kind of development.
To answer the question in the title of this blog post, you can facilitate career development by understanding employee’s past, their wishes and bridging those two with an action plan. The most important things to understand from employee’s past are what do they value, what do they enjoy and what do they want to avoid. You need to know what the employee’s defined career goal is. Then you plot a course of actions together with the employee that allow them to align the actions with their values and sources of enjoyment while taking them to the goal. It is worth noting that the basic idea of this approach sounds very similar to another one where the past, future and present are called hindsight, foresight and insight. I recommend the video for anyone who is involved in managing workforce as Laraway explains his approach in a clear manner with examples in a keynote talk that is hosted in youtube. You can find the talk here .
Laraway, R. 2016. First Round Capital talk in CEO Summit 2016 on Career Conversations. Watched on 04.05.2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD1Jj_bJz6o&feature=youtu.be