Innovative Corporate Career development initiatives

Employers’ corporate career development initiatives may also include innovative program like those listed below.

Provide each employee with an individual budget: He or she can use this budget for learning about career options and personal development.

Offer on site or online centers: These might include an on or off-line library of career development materials, career workshops, workshops on related topics (such as time management), and also provide individual career coaches for career guidance. For examples, Dow Chemical instituted a “People Success System” to facilitate employees’ career planning and development. The system includes a list of competencies job in the company. Employees can review the competencies required for their own jobs or for others they might be interested in and identify their own development needs. They can then use the People Success System database to find training and development options. The employer may also organize an online career center using tools.

Encourage role reversal: have employees temporarily work in different positions in order to develop a better appreciation of their occupational strengths and weakness.

Establish a “corporate campus”: Make career and development courses and programs available, perhaps through partnerships with local colleges or consultants.

Help organize “career success teams”: These are small groups of employees from the same or different departments who meet periodically to network and support one another in achieving their goals.

Provide career coaches: For example, Allmerica Financial Corp. hired 20 career development coaches to assist its 850 person information technology staff. This coaching program was part of a broader organizational change program to centralize information technology and create small information technology teams. The coaches help individual IT employees identify their development needs, and obtain the training, professional development, and networking opportunities that they need to satisfy those needs.

Career coaches usually focus on career counseling and development advice. For example, they might work one-on-one with individual employees to help them use career assessment tools and identify their training and development options. However, a new breed of coach is emerging. Used mostly for companies’ highest level managers, the coaches often double as therapists. These “executive coaches” provide assessment and advice that often digs deeply into the executive’s personality and into how the person’s personal life may be influencing his or her career.

Career coaches should help employees create clear one to five year plans showing where their careers with the firm may lead. Then base developmental plans on the skills employees will need to succeed at the firm.

Provide Career planning Workshops: A career planning workshop is a planned learning event in which participants are expected to be actively involved, completing career planning exercise and inventories and participating in career skills practice sessions. A typical workshop includes three main activities: self assessment, an environmental assessment, and goal setting and action planning segment.

Computerized on and offline programs are available for improving the organizational career planning process. For example, Workforce Vision from Criterion, Inc., in Irving, Texas, helps the company analyze an employee’s training needs. Clicking on the employee’s name launched his or her work history, competencies, career path, and other information. For each competency such as leadership and customer focus, a bar chart graphically shows: gap analysis highlighting the person’s strengths and weakness. The firm can then organize developmental activities around the person’s needs.

First USA Bank has that it calls the Opportunity Knocks program: Its purpose is to help employees crystallize their career goals and achieve them within the company. In addition to career development training and follow up support, First USA Bank has also outfitted special career development facilities at its work sites that employees can use on company time. These contain materials such as career assessment and planning tools.

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