Career Development a Key to Employee Engagement

I read lots of stuff about how vital career development is in the employee engagement mix. I also read a lot of articles stating that people are in the main, not very happy with the career development on offer to them, our own research in partnership with Careergro earlier this year seems to back this up:

Career Development Satisfaction Levels

What is career development?

BlessingWhite say, ‘Most employees do not define career goals by traditional notions of advancement. That’s good news for employers facing workforce reductions and shifting priorities. When individual employees define what career success means to them, they’re better positioned to increase satisfaction and performance in their current jobs or make the lateral moves required by organizational redeployment of talent.’ Their research indicates nearly half of all employees are looking for interesting or meaningful work in their next career move.

Today’s post is an ask for help. If you have the time, I’d really appreciate your feedback on the following questions please.

How would you define career development?

What is the most valuable piece of career development advice you’ve received so far?

What is the worst piece of career development advice you’ve received so far?

Thanks in advance – I look forward to hearing from you, and in the meantime, here’s The Clash with their take on the matter:

There may be trouble ahead

As a kid I used to walk to school past a pond in the woods. In winter when it froze over it became a challenge to walk across it. The ice would creak and usually hold our weight. Usually, not always. The pond was a couple of feet deep in the centre (that’s half a metre to you sonny) so the worst I can recall was a wet shoe, sock and trouser leg.

In the workplace, do actions have to have consequences? I listened to a manager tell me he thinks this is both important and lacking in his workplace. He is a bright guy and is becoming increasingly, wilfully disobedient. His rationale for this is ‘we don’t hold people to account around here so I more or less do as I please.’ At least he is up front about it. I can hear the ice creaking again and I don’t know for sure but I reckon this pond is way deeper than the one I crossed.

How loudly is the ice creaking at your workplace?

Shades of grey

Sitting on the train into London this morning I spotted a tweet from Sarah Lazenby to a great cartoon called “Whack An Idea” by Tom Fishburne. The cartoon illustrates the frustration I’ve long held about the endless corporate cries for creativity and innovation, so swiftly followed by the punishment of mistakes.

Fishburne says: “When a business culture plays Whack-An-Idea for too long, it no longer needs to use the mallet. The culture begins to self-edit. Ideas that seem too risky are discarded out-of-hand.” The cartoon gave me a good laugh – and it’s a powerful illustration of a serious point. That pressure to conform, to self-edit.

The train pulled into London Bridge and as I got up to leave all I saw around me was grey. Grey suits, grey faces, grey expressions. Why bother wasting time on dress codes when most folk self-edit to grey. It comes to something when my non-descript vaguely pink shirt stands out in a crowd.

Somewhere in the office there’s a drawer. And in that drawer is a piece of paper. And on that paper is written the secret mission:

“We cut out creativity

Can’t handle responsibility

We lie about innovation

We crave idea constipation

We have assumed control”

I don’t feel so good.