Employee aspirations

A career anchor has been defined as one’s occupational self-concept comprising self-perceived talents and abilities based on actual success in a variety of work setting; self-perceived motives and needs based on opportunities for self-tests and self-diagnosis in real situation and on feedback from others; and self-perceived attitudes and values based on actual encounters between self and the norms and values of the employing organization and work setting.

This anchor could vary from managerial aspirations where people like to administer, to technical/functional aspirations where people are more attentive towards the details of their craft, stability, autonomy/independence, and entrepreneurial/ creativity; among others. The most important thing to note here is that the anchor is a ‘stabilizing force’ – the values, motives and needs that an individual will not give up, if forced to make a choice.

However, there’s usually a mismatch between an individual career anchor and the kind of career path that an organization provides. And in the knowledge industry, where the employee is the greatest asset, no organization can achieve success without its employees achieving success. Therefore, the relationship between organizations and professionals also needs to be looked at from an increasingly symbiotic perspective.

Entry level professionals mostly pursue careers that are in vogue those in the 2-3 year experience category more or less know their career anchor. One needs to have mental clarity to understand career aspirations. Building that Psychological connect is never easy.

A good understanding of career anchors can strengthen the psychological contract between the employee and employer. But this is never an easy. After all, how do you deal with entry level professionals, who would join an industry not out of any specific Career inclination, but because of other reasons like peer pressure, what’s in vogue etc. Again many a times career options that are in line with the employee’s career anchor might be limited. So once the career anchor has been identified and the employee assigned responsibilities in line with the same, after a period, the growth of the employee may become limited by the opportunities available in that area.

Patni, as an organization, gives people time to ‘settle down’ instead of charting out a career path right at the entry level. They wait for two years and then let them choose their careers. One of the main purposes of Patni’s performance appraisals is to identify the strong areas of an employee. It has six growth paths, which are thrown open to employees once they have completed a certain period of time with the company. After a fair bit of counseling, the organization helps employees choose the career they would like to be in. Employees even have the liberty to opt out of a career path after spending a considerable amount of time, in case they feel they want to do more.

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