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How to mind the career management gap

There is a gap between the expectation and the delivery of career management - and we need to close it

According to the LHH Talent Management Survey, 83% of organisations expect that offering career development opportunities will grow in importance. No surprise given that 91% of high performers say that working for an employer that offers learning and development opportunities is critical to them. When it comes to Millennials, 87% say career development is an important part of their jobs. And there are significant benefits to providing a career supportive culture, with 78% of businesses which do reporting positive revenue growth – 21% ahead of companies which don’t.

So given that positive set of figures for career development, why is it that only 23% of HR professionals agree that their career management is effective? Furthermore, 57% of organisations report that managers are simply not conducting regular career conversations with employees. It’s clear that there is a wide career management gap between the value placed upon discussing and developing an employee’s future path and the actual implementation of such vitally important programmes. Those who do close that gap clearly see a lift in profitability, engagement, and retention – so what’s holding others back from achieving this goal?

We believe there are five key trends holding back successful career management:

1. The impact of digitalisation

Technological change is already having a major impact on jobs, and the pace of change will continue to accelerate. According to McKinsey by 2030 375 million workers – that’s 14% of the global workforce – will need to switch occupations due to digitally driven advances such as greater automation. Of course this will also create new roles and career paths, so upskilling and reskilling the workforce will become an ongoing challenge. To avoid struggling to attract the best talent from a smaller pool, the need to develop your own talent will become even more vital – both to ensure your workers continue to have the right skills and to attract new employees by providing them with a clear career management strategy.

2. Experience is vital to drive development

Not all businesses can afford to adopt Google’s approach of allowing employees to spend 20% of their time on personal projects. But experiences shape the skillsets that we can bring to our work, so allowing and encouraging risks, experiments and the relevant learning that goes with all that is important. That also requires organisations to be prepared to give the relevant support to make this possible, including coaching and making sure that key learning points are absorbed into the business as quickly as possible.

3. Emphasise the individual

Increased automation is also putting a greater focus on individuals and their own unique personalities, skills and aspirations. Few organisations are yet to put the individual – and their development needs – at the heart of what they do. It’s tough when client demands, business targets, and deadlines take precedence. Nobody ever said it would be easy. But in shifting the organisation to be more individually focused, the performance gains will outweigh the short-term impact.

4. Everyone needs to invest in employability

As with the rise of the individual, pure academic experience, particularly with senior level roles, is declining in value. What matters now is varied life and work experience. Traits such as curiosity, agility, passion and purpose are increasingly determining employability. So businesses need their career programmes to foster and encourage these very different skills.

5. Leaders are more and more important

As organisational change accelerates, the instigation of career development conversations can’t be left with the employee alone. Having the right people with the right skills in the right roles needs senior management input to ensure it happens Leaders need to identify the talent needs for their business and engage with HR to make sure they are delivered.

So how do you turn these challenging trends into positive career management opportunities? You can download our whitepaper to discover more about the specific areas we believe will allow HR to achieve that. But one thing is certain: there is everything to be gained by closing the career management gap, not least to ensure your business has engaged employees with the right skills to ensure your organisation’s long-term success.

To find out more and lead the way to successful career management download our whitepaper.

Natavan Aliyeva is EMEA VP of restructuring and career management at LHH Penna