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:

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

5 thoughts on “Career Development a Key to Employee Engagement”

  1. I think career development for everyone is very different. Some see it as progressing up the management chain, some see it as becoming very skilled at what they do and wish to gain the qualifications to back their skills up. Others will simply see development as being more valued throughout the company, and thus get paid a higher salary than they were previously.

    To me, you need to find out what’s important to each individual in order to understand how they would like to be developed, and you can’t simply offer a catch all career development program. I have managed people in the past, who have all viewed career development differently. The key to keeping them engaged has been to take the time to understand them as a person, and realise what it is that their wishes and motivations are. They then see that you’re attempting to be reasonable and empathetic with them, and they reflect that back in how they deal with you and their attitude towards their work.

  2. Great piece Doug, really thought provoking!

    For me career development is anything that gives you a deeper understanding of your current role or prepares you for the next ‘step up’ or a different role outside of the fields. Either way it is about exploring something different and new, which can mean it has some trial and error about it – you might not always explore something that is immediately applicable to your role, or possibly leads you down a blind alley so to speak. Nevertheless, you still need to get off the bench and get involved to move forward so to speak!

    The most valuable piece of career development advice I was given was to take responsibility for it. So not only finding ways to develop my skills but having to take responsibility to justify the time I was taking analysing or wanting to be away from my day job in order to take part in training, events etc. Really helped focus my mind about what I wanted and how I would make it work.

  3. Hi Doug, Great piece of work to reflect on. It’s missing its usual musical link though. Development is significant, but I would say that ahead of this employee engagement needs to ensure that the strengths of employees are recognised and played to, that they are aware that they are valued and this will then develop trust. The psychological contract is paramount. The best piece of advice? “I can’t see how you can do this” (try me) the worst piece? “You can do this job, apply for it” (I did, but I didn’t think through what my plan/strengths were and got the bloody job). Carry on the good work.

  4. Thanks to Peter, Patrick and Marion for provoking my thinking further. I also heard from Lisa Sibley off line too and her thoughts echo and add to yours. Marion – you are right to pick me up on the musical link, especially as there is a perfect fit available, courtesy of The Clash. I’ve updated the post.

    Cheers – Doug

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