This article relates to the Career Opportunities competency and explores issues such as internal growth opportunities, potential for advancement, career development importance, and the relationship between job performance and career advancement. Evaluating the Career Opportunities competency in your organization will determine whether your employees believe they have a chance to grow within the organization. Studies show that lack of career opportunity is one of the top reasons why employees leave an organization. Also, continually hiring open positions from outside the organization can be detrimental to morale when a qualified candidate is available internally. Topics covered in this competency are: perceived opportunity for advancement, existence of a career development plan, and organizational commitment to staff development.
This short story, Try, Try Again, is part of AlphaMeasures compilation, Tales From the Corporate Frontlines. It takes a lighthearted look at the career planning methods of some coworkers, and outlines one company's solid strategy for career development.
Genuine opportunities for advancement are rare in the company where I work. Frequent job postings appear on strategically placed bulletin boards, according to company policy.
It's easy to tell when there's been a new posting. There's an almost constant group of onlookers, examining the paperwork as if it were the Holy Grail. You can hear them whisper ----who left? Or was this a new position? Who could qualify? Who would apply? Would they get hired? If they did, would it be a promotion or a lateral move? Was this a genuine career opportunity or a placeholder job?
Pass by human resources and you'll see one or more of the "fast-trackers" at the information counter. Members of this group apply for any and every job posted. It doesn't matter to them whether they are qualified, talented or experienced in the required area - as long as the potential salary is higher than their current rate. If there's no salary posted, they go on info-gathering missions and interrogate anyone who might know - on the quiet, of course. If it looks like a step up, they apply. Some have made the switch successfully, for a while, at least. It's usually not long before they're spotted scanning the job board again, searching for new career opportunities.
When the fast trackers are rejected, they can turn nasty. It's the company's fault, of course. But most people know enough to consider the source. After all, many of us give some thought to our career development planning, and feel that the fast trackers get what they deserve by not doing the same.
More often, employees feel concern for their long-term colleagues who apply for promotion when one of their superiors moves on, and are bypassed in favor of a new hire from outside the company. The reasons given usually make sense-but the fact is, when it happens too often, the company is blamed.
Fortunately, our company has a solid middle ground. Between the fast trackers and those who believe they should automatically inherit career opportunities, lie most of the average employees. At evaluation time, we work with our managers to find ways to develop the skills we need to get us into the jobs we want. We discuss new options and gather information. We engage in career development planning, and are prepared when opportunity comes along. I highly recommend this as the path to success.
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Josh Greenberg is President of AlphaMeasure, Inc.
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