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How to shift to proactive Career Development

17 May 2018, by Lesley Vanleke
  • #Career Fitness Profiler
  • #talent development

In this blog, I want to demonstrate why and how individual career tragedies could have been avoided. The key is to shift from a reactive to a more proactive approach on the topic of careers.

In a recent intervision session with our certified coaches, we’ve discussed two cases in which employees were promoted to a team leader position. Both were excellent professionals with high technical skills. A traditional development center assessment was performed, a personality questionnaire was administered, an inbox exercise and role-play activity were conducted, and a competency-based interview was run. The green light was given in both cases. After only a few months one person was working overtime to the point of exhaustion while the other was perpetually on the verge of tears. In both cases, one of our coaches was approached and the Career Fitness Profiler was applied.

In my opinion, the reason these types of situations occur is twofold: on the one hand, in both cases the organizations approached their staffing issue solely from an organizational perspective. Only when the newly appointed team leaders were on the verge of fall out was an attempt made to look into the individual’s perspective. A reactive attitude altogether. On the other hand, these employees had no real understanding of their personal career identity or career visions. It seems as though they were lured into a management position for all the wrong reasons: social desirability, persuasion by management, financial and psychological recognition, etc. In neither case was the employee equipped to make a real sustainable career decision that would serve them and the organization well in the long run.

As a result, two very able and respected professionals ended up experiencing emotional strain and were at risk of fall out. The drama lies in the fact that this could have been avoided if the individual’s perspective and the metrics in the Career Fitness Profiler would have been taken into account much earlier in the process. This way, a more proactive approach could have been taken.

In other words, I am saying that presently there is a tool available that can help you, as an HR professional, take a more proactive approach in facilitating people’s careers.

By applying the Career Fitness Profiler, you can help individuals to get a grip on the career choices they need to make in both the short and long term. The added value for your organization lies in the fact that you can predict whether the role you have in mind for this person is suitable based on dimensions outside of mere competencies, such as the match with intrinsic motivators and the energy available to take on a new challenge. Additionally, the Career Fitness Profiler will show you a person’s agility, their pro-activeness, and the degree to which a person is value-driven. All of these are key indicators of leadership potential.

I think it is imperative for organizations to integrate these types of metrics, which represent the individuals’ perspective on the career, with the organizational perspective. We think that organizations that can make this shift will benefit in terms of well-being, employability and sustainable growth.

I present the following support points:

  • Work has become extremely demanding. The only way for an individual to build a sustainable career is to be extremely conscious of only accepting roles and projects which tap into his or her talents and intrinsic motivation. Your employees also may not take on the responsibility of self-managing their careers, and you could ask yourself to what extent facilitating them in this process is part of your responsibility with regard to building sustainable careers within your organization.
  • Unconscious people make lousy career decisions, resulting in massive energy loss and financial burden. Have you ever calculated how much mismatches, stress-related sicknesses, burnouts, reactive coaching, and reintegrations weigh on your budget? Not to mention the incalculable costs these have to your employer brand?
  • Making people aware of their career identity and developing their self-management abilities will benefit the degree of employability in your organization.

If you are an HR professional looking for ways to make the shift from reactive to proactive career development, you might find these tips interesting:

  1. Find ways to make individuals and managers aware of the importance of self-management within one’s career. Janssen Pharmaceuticals started try-out workshops on contemporary careers and the importance of self-management. Janssen is now organizing such workshops for leaders and team members throughout the entire organization.
  2. Use evidence-based tools to explore the individual’s perspective on the career with the employee, so he or she can enter a worthwhile dialogue with the employer. the Career Fitness Profiler facilitates this dialogue.
  3. Use the information in the Career Fitness Profiler in a complementary fashion to the more traditional information when making choices concerning selection, mobility, and succession
  4. Integrate the Career Fitness Profiler in assessment and development centers, in leadership training, onboarding modules, etc.

In conclusion, organizations that manage to pro-actively integrate the individual’s perspective on the career into that of the organization will benefit in terms of well-being, employability, and sustainable growth.
If you want to find out more about how the Career Fitness Profiler can help you make the shift to proactive career development, contact us.


About the author

Lesley Vanleke

Lesley Vanleke holds over 20 years of experience in HR. In 2014 she co-founded TalentLogiQS, where she searches to understand all different aspects of customers’ challenges and needs. She strives to be a sounding board and bring about connections that deliver added value for all parties concerned.