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Guidelines For Implementing Career Planning And Development

By Sarah Beckett on July, 7 2016
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Sarah Beckett

What is your philosophy?

Career development as an organizational program has really evolved over the last twenty to thirty years. 

A couple of decades ago, it was common for employees to expect their organizations to lay down a comprehensive program for them to follow. 

The underlying assumption was the employees need only follow the program lock step, and eventually they would progress and advance.  Under this paternalistic philosophy, if employees were not successful the tendency was to blame the organization with the view that somehow it had failed the employees.

A little more than a decade ago, there was a shift in philosophy whereby organizations began to take a more entrepreneurial “wild west” view of career development, stating that it was up to employees to “take ownership” of their careers. 

While there is nothing wrong with saying that people have to take responsibility for their own development, in many cases organizations took this philosophy too far.  They left employees to their own devices, without structure, programs and processes to support career progression. 

Naturally employees planned and managed their careers, sometimes in ways that did not meet the short and longer term strategic needs of the organization … sometimes taking their careers right out the door of the organization. 

This “disposable employee” approach did not take into account the high cost of developing employees, the cost of replacing them, as well as the impact on the top and bottom-lines when highly competent employees leave the organization.

Best practice organizations are now taking a more balanced approach.  While it is acknowledged that employees must take ownership for their development and advancement, it is also understood that organizations must provide the necessary programs, tools and processes for employees to self-manage in a way that meets both employee as well as the organizational needs. 

Best practice organizations understand the value of attracting, developing and retaining highly competent employees, and make sure they have the programs, tools and processes in place to do so. 

They also understand which roles and groups within the organization are important to the organization’s success, and how the organization could be at risk should key employee groups not receive the support needed to develop themselves.



Thus, it is important to take the time in advance of designing and implementing a career development program to consider the principles and philosophy behind this important process within your organization.

Once you have determined the underlying philosophy for career development within your organization, you are ready to plan your program design.

There are typical implementation stages that best practice organizations follow when designing and implementing Competency-based Career Development programs and processes, that include:

  1. Establish a competency architecture and competency dictionary
  2. Develop a high level implementation plan
  3. Determine the infrastructure and system requirement
  4. Build and incorporate basic competency-based elements
  5. Develop and implement programs for high risk / high need job groups