PROCESS OF CAREER PLANNING
Career Development Cycle
Career development cycle is an important part of career planning. It discusses one’s experiences in a given organization from joining to growth to quitting about one’s pre-determined career plan and modifications therein. There are the following four stages of this cycle:
1. Exploratory stage: Exploratory stage starts when a new employee joins an organization. He finds a big gap between what a perfect organisation should be and what it is. He finds that neither the education in the university nor the induction programme of the organization can prepare him adequately for the job at hand. Alternatives for the initial training include a “swim or sink” approach, full-time training with no job responsibility and worthwhile exercise. However, the sooner the trainee is given a definite job assignment, the more rapidly he will develop.
2. Establishing stage: Once an individual has chosen the profession, he requires regular feedback on his appearance. An excellent career development plan should provide this feedback. The first performance appraisal, the first promotion, and the completed assignment are all significant occasions for a young employee.
3. Maintenance stage: In this step, employees try to retain the name they have established in their career. In a fast-changing world, this will require continuous efforts at self-development. This is the stage where many face their mid-career crisis. Some start an entirely different career. In one case, an executive took to journalism at the age of 40, and he was quite satisfied.
4. Stage of decline: Impending retirement scares everybody. But, it is almost inevitable. Some planning for retirement can ensure the smooth transition. Many organizations conduct training programmes for their retiring employees.
Career Need Assessment
Employees are often uncertain as to the type of work that would suit them best. There are some evaluation instruments available to determine basic aptitudes. Human resource development managers should be able to guide employees by administering these devices to them. Employees should think whether they value prestige, independence, money or security. They should also find out whether they are loners or socially active. These exercises with some assistance from HRD managers should help in career need assessment.
Realising that employees have definite career needs, the organization should chart different career paths. Several examples of such career paths chartered by a large public sector organization have been given in this unit. These should be made known to all employees. As every employee wishes to see a bright future for himself, these career paths do provide the hope to achieve success. Additionally, the employee wants to know what types of jobs are available shortly as well as in the medium and the long range. Such information should be provided to all employees. Similarly, promotion routes should be made public. They should not be kept secret. Openness should be the hallmark of an effective organization in this area.
When employees become aware of organizational career opportunities and have assessed their career needs, the problem is one of alignment. The vital role has to be played by HRD in assuring alignment to build up morale in the organization. A systematic choice of development techniques like special assignment, training, counseling and rotational assignments should be made to ensure this alignment.
At a particular stage, the upward mobility stops for many employees. This is inescapable given pyramid organizational structure. This phenomenon is called plateauing. It takes place around the age of forty. Some suggested measures to deal with such employees are
i. Mentors could be assigned the task of altering expectations of such employees. Depending on the maturity of such mentors, good results can be achieved in assuaging the hurt feelings of plateaued employees.
ii. Additional career ladders could be established to retain some valuable resource.
iii. Giving them importance by assigning them to some critical task force or committee.
iv. Assisting them to choose a new career. Some organizations help their plateaued executives to start their own business. One of the PSUs had developed career path models for the following major disciplines:
• Sales • Technical services • Operations • Engineering • Aviation • Liquefied petroleum gas • Finance • Personnel It was observed that career path models had not been drawn for subjects, such as materials, public relations, training, etc. It was decided by this organization that these departments would bring workforce from eight significant disciplines as mentioned above. The career path models had been evolved to provide direction to the career progression of officers. It formed the basis for placement, transfer, and rotation so that the officers are prepared for higher responsibilities progressively, and the experience they gain becomes cumulative rather than respective. It was aimed to have ten years experience on a continuous basis and not one year’s experience repeated ten times. These career path models were finalized after extensive consultations and discussions within the organization.