Over the years, I have consulted with businesses from varying industries, revenues, and employee sizes as they designed a career development program. I recall a fortune 50 company at the time who had spent millions on the design of just one occupational career pathing strategy for engineers. Through surveys, assessments, catalogs of job descriptions, mentor evaluations, forms and formal training, an engineer at this company could deduce whether his/her preferences and past behaviors made them best suited for a technical expert or a managerial path.
Though my role in this already designed program was that of trainer for a couple of years, I have to wonder how long that program stayed intact. How often was the program redesigned? If an engineer later decided he/she no longer wanted to be a technical expert or a manager, how did he make the developmental leap to the other track? What happened to her paygrade if she went from manager to a less experienced technical expert due to being in management too long? I don’t recall that leap being designed…
I think we would all agree that career development for our rising millennial population and those generations that follow cannot be so formalized today. Millennials expect progression of their careers at the fastest pace ever on the planet. They change jobs faster than any other generation. And, Gallup reports in the article Millennials: The Job-Hopping Generation that millennial job-hopping is costing the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually!
Whether the largest populated workforce generation today (A.K.A. Millennials) wants to be a technical expert or a manager, don’t they both require the following six components of effective leadership?
The ability to:
- Create a Vision
- Develop Strategies
- Ensure Results
- Inspire People
- Be Approachable, and
- Mentor Others.
Shouldn’t millennial career development be focused on these six abilities to advance in your career no matter what your educational pedigree, occupation, or role in the company? I would even argue that these six abilities are what make for a successful company and everyone within the company needs to be continuously re-inventing in these areas to stay in business.
Using the six leadership skills listed above as the elements to focus on for any employee career, now consider what a career development approach would encompass. The approach would be on-going, evolving – not a one-time training event. It would be individualized depending on the results of an on-going, repeatable skill-based assessment. It could be self-directed (with the proper tools in place to drive the process) and/or it could be coached by a direct-manager, another leader, a mentor (chosen or assigned), or a peer.
These abilities could even become the organization’s values! Now isn’t that thought-provoking? The company’s performance appraisal system could be based on these values. Training would support these values. Now, there’s alignment!
And best of all, we have the tool that measures a person’s current tendencies in these six skills. It also provides guidance on the development of each area. If you would like to see a sample report, just submit your info below!
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