Take control of your career ladder | Sunday Observer

Take control of your career ladder

The challenge for HR is not only to continue to provide career opportunities to employees but also to provide job enhancement opportunities.
The challenge for HR is not only to continue to provide career opportunities to employees but also to provide job enhancement opportunities.

Traditionally, the Sri Lankan workforce expects organisations and HR managers to ensure career progression through the career ladder or succession planning. How practical is this in the modern environment.

Whether you like it or not, HR professionals no longer have a captive base of employees with control over their climb up the ladder. HR is no longer able to promise a position on the ladder, or a climb to the top. Recognising that there is a new paradigm for career progression in the 21st century, though an organisation can provide resources and tools to assist employees in developing their skills and abilities, the organisation is no longer the sole option that employees have.

The challenge for HR is not only to continue to provide career opportunities to employees but also to provide job enhancement and job enlargement opportunities. Training and development should be focused on preparing the employee for a lifetime of employability versus a lifetime of company employment – that’s the reality.

However, managers are responsible for incorporating the organisation’s definition of success into employee feedback, evaluations and development plans. Helping managers develop career paths for their employees is another area in which HR professionals can take the lead. HR professionals should help managers view employees not as their exclusive resources but as organisational resources. When managers think this way, they are more apt to encourage employees to develop themselves in areas outside their existing departments to the benefit of the entire organisation.

Corporate-wide initiatives around career planning can be as simple as role-playing with managers on how to discuss career interests or use career mapping with their employees. More complex initiatives involve developing formal career paths for all positions within the organisation.

Traditional career ladders are based on the assumption that the individual wishes to continue to climb the ladder as long as he or she is able to and that the employer continues to provide opportunities.

Job rotation

Job rotation is an effective method to provide job enrichment from an employee’s perspective. It involves the systematic movement of employees from job to job within an organisation. Typically, formal job rotation programs offer customised assignments to promising employees in an effort to give them a view of the entire business.

Assignments usually run for a year or more. Rotation programs can vary in size and formality, depending on the organisation. Job rotations are not new, but they can be highly effective. Low-level workers in job rotations can gain variety and perspective, so they do not get bored.

For managers, rotations are typically designed to broaden their expertise and make them better prepared to move to the next level.

As middle management jobs have disappeared in recent years, rotations for managers have become more important.

But there is a downside to job rotation programs. Such programs may increase the workload and decrease productivity for the rotating employee and for other employees who must take up the slack. In addition, line managers may be resistant to high-performing employees participating in job rotation programs. Finally, costs are associated with the learning curve on new jobs.

In the traditional career ladder organisation, individuals may be pushed into management without the desire or the skill to do the job. Not only does the individual become frustrated with new challenges for which he or she is ill-equipped but the organisation suffers as a result too.

Take control of your ladder to control your future. 

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