Career Development

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Career Development in the Federal Public Service - Building a World-Class Workforce * Previous
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Career Management by the Employer
The nature of organizations and thus organizational careers are changing. When the environment was relatively stable, the operations of the organization were relatively predictable and employees who did a good job could count on continued employment and advancement. But the old rules no longer apply to organizations or their employees. Organizations today need flexibility to adapt to ever changing circumstances and this has created a new, more flexible, employment contract. Instead of employment security, organizations try to offer employability security. Instead of employment for life, the organization offers to help employees develop skills that will enhance their future job prospects. Unfortunately what employability security means in practice is often unclear. As Barbara Moses points out, what organizations say and what employees hear are two different things. The organization says: "You are responsible for your own employability. We will provide you with meaningful, challenging, and skill building work which will be good for your resume as long as you continue to add value." The employee hears: "We offer no job security. We will fire you when we have no more need for you. We will work you to the bone. We don't pay particularly well. And we will tell you that you are our most important resource." Employability security is intangible and the new career is much less predictable than the old employment contract. The new employment contract, coupled with the pressures on organizations to do more with less, causes significant stress. Moses claims, "the average worker today produces about 30% more goods or services than he/she did a generation ago with less take home pay, less job security and dimmer future prospects." The stresses and frustrations experienced by employees as a result of the new career can contribute to reduced productivity, poorer quality decisions, increased absenteeism and turnover, and increased incidence of disability claims related to stress. Research shows that organizations can help alleviate some of the negative consequences of the new career through effective career management. Career management refers to the policies and practices established by the organization to help employees plan and develop their careers effectively. Effective career management requires that organizations: * redefine their responsibilities regarding employees' careers; * revise their models of career management; and

* redirect employees' career aspirations.
Under the old career rules the organization assumed responsibility for the career development and career paths of its employees. Career management was a bit like playing chess -- putting the right pieces (that is, people) in the right places at the right time created a winning strategy. The value that organizations placed on employees' contributions was measured by the number of promotions awarded them and thus many employees' aspirations focused on moving up the ladder. Under the new career rules the employee is responsible for his or her own career. The organization is responsible for providing information on future job opportunities and developmental experiences. Instead of...
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