Career Mapping 8

Mosaic Web Resources Index

Middle Managers


•Recognize needs of individuals in addition to needs of the company and client

Organizational consultant Sylvia Gaffney (2005) recommends that successful internal career development in organizations can be found at the intersection of corporate business plan assessment and employee self-assessment. This win-win situation enables employees to understand what their organization needs to succeed as well as how their own personal aspirations fit with the company. Gaffney believes that both companies and employees benefit when workers take an entrepreneurial approach to their careers. She uses the term “careerpreneurs” to describe individuals who take primary responsibility for their career development.

•Maintain commitment to career advancement

In “Diversity Practices That Work: The American Worker Speaks,” the National Urban League provides a case study of a global consumer-products company’s efforts to create specific action plans and support for developing diverse talent within the organization (p. 31). Below is an outline of the components of the plan:

Employee Diversity Practice area: Career Development
Results: •Increased advancement of talented employees

•Career development and assignment plans that lead to broader experience and responsibility
How to Make It Work: •Identify critical assignments for success

•Develop indidivudl career plans that include assignments that lead to accelerated growth and development

•Assign executive-level sponsors who are fully committed to the long-term success of the individual candidates

•Avoid desire to hold good people in their current positions

Balancing the individual’s need to achieve life/work goals and the organization’s need for operational results represents a challenging task. But as a manager, you are a critical link in the chain that represents the employee’s connection to and future with the agency. Discussing career development and advancement with your employees is not just something on a “to-do” list, but is vital to the organization’s ability to retain its talent.

Managers should provide the proper foundation for an employee to obtain feedback in the current position and weigh options for growth and advancement. A 2007 case study (van de Ven) about Johnson & Johnson’s global pharmaceutical group’s talent development initiatives characterized the Career Development Discussion between manager and employee as the “heart” of the process of career advancement.

Placing an employee in “the right job at the right time” involves the readiness of both the individual and the organization. In the Focus on Growth initiative, J&J provides a framework to guide employees through a process of creating an actionable career development plan. The five steps of the Focus on Growth method are:

  • Identify personal values, aspirations and interests
  • Identify strengths and development opportunities
  • Consolidate information from Step 1 and 2 into an actionable Career Development Plan that fits with the business strategy
  • Establish a regular follow-up process to ensure development plans are acted upon
  • Conduct an annual review of the Focus on Growth exercise and resulting Career Development Plan.

Finding the “right position” involves matching career development opportunities with employee aspirations. At this point the “Manager as Career Coach” methodology is employed. It is important to make job opportunities within the organization, and possibly at other units or divisions within the company, as visible and accessible as possible. According to the case study, oftentimes the individual employee comes to the conclusion that the current job actually comes close to what they have identified in terms of personal and professional values as the the “ideal job.” Others find that there is a significant gap between their current and ideal job.

•Provide regular assessment, feedback and updates for employees.