Career development impacts employee performance
Sudipta Dev on how employee career development initiatives
boost organisational productivity.
It is a known fact that most professionals leave an organisation due to lack
of career growth. Active career development initiatives by a company is a key
retention tool to keep the best talent within its fold. It is one of the greatest
motivators to keep an employee happy and engaged. But does career planning and
development of employees actually make a difference to the productivity of a
worker? Most organisations think so, and consider it a part of their critical
human resource strategy. From the employees point of view career development
initiatives gives them a clear focus about their career track, the blind spots
that they have to overcome and the final goal to be reached. This focussed approach
works to their advantage from their everyday work to long-term aspirations.
The impact of career development/ succession planning programmes
can be seen through the productivity indicator, engagement surveys and reduction
in attrition rate. It is in fact a win-win situation for all. The typical
employee views a career development programme as a path to upward mobility,
the manager sees it as a retention and motivational tool, and the top management
view it as a tool for succession planning, explains Tarun Singh, Director,
Kenexa Technologies (India). These career development efforts bring into focus
high potential candidates who can be groomed for greater responsibilities in
Understanding the significance
It has often been debated whether all organisations do understand
the advantages of these initiatives in the process of accomplishing their business
goals. Sreeram Kaviliga, AVP-HR, AppLabs Technologies states, Yes to some
extent they do understand. But, unfortunately due to factors like deliverables,
tight deadlines, insufficient bandwidth to the reporting managers, nor coaching
given to them, in practice there is not enough visible attention given to this
"Aspects like what, when, why, where, and how, have to be clearly
captured as a part of the development plan and communicated effectively"
- Anshuman Ray
HR, Country Manager
It is not just enough to understand the significance of career
development programmes but managing it well. The whole process should be well
organised to receive full support from employees who will clearly see the advantages.
It is mutually beneficial to the employee as well as the employer. Aspects
like what, when, why, where, who all and how, have to be clearly captured as
a part of the development plan and communicated effectively, says Anshuman
Ray, HR, Country Manager, Synopsys (India). He adds that candid communication
helps manage expectations better and once plans are finalised and rolled out,
there should be zero tolerance around consistency, commitment, compliance and
credibility; unless business encounters something unusual and things that could
not be foreseen. Implementation of these plans helps companies earn credibility
amongst employees and commitment towards building intellectual capital
which is the root for any IT organisation.
Affect on employee performance
"Possibility and hope for career development
motivates employees to
perform better. It is an ongoing, dynamic
- Ulhas Aher
Career development programmes enable a deeper focus on an
employees aims and aspirationsfrom identification of the handicaps
being faced by an employee in accomplishing his goals to the solutions in terms
of re-skilling or reassignment. This focus acts as the significant motivator
for an employee to excel and exceed the targets. It facilitates powerful
personal and professional development. As per the motivational theories, achievement
orientation, growth and development are the basic human needs. Possibility and
hope for career development motivates employees to perform better. It is an
ongoing, dynamic process; employees may need encouragement and support in reviewing
and re-assessing their goals and activities, explains Ulhas Aher, Head
HR, Compass Connections.
"A strong sense of direction coupled with responsibility, boosts
levels and hence
- Vishwas Mahajan,
CEO & Managing Director
An organisation focussed on developing the career path of
its employees boosts the morale and ultimately the productivity of its staff.
Vishwas Mahajan, CEO & Managing Director, Compulink Systems, points out
that these organisations infuse a lot of confidence among its employees. Besides
helping employees get equipped with relevant skills and knowledge, it also facilitates
the organisations objective of showing a well articulated, growth oriented
yet flexible career path to its employees. A strong sense of direction coupled
with responsibility, boosts motivational levels and hence performance,
"Organisations have their own vision and individuals their own aspirations.
Alignment and congruence of both create a win-win situation"
- Anand Talwar
VP, Talent Management
Then there is the question of long-term viability of investing
time and resources into an initiative which might not actually pay in the long-term,
taking into consideration short-term employee loyalty. This is a truth which
no organisation can deny, but it cannot also give up its plans for employee
development. Career development is a continuous process. Incidents such
as employees quitting the organisation should not stand as a barrier to this
process. There is always a commitment of the top leadership towards such programmes
as they see long-term value addition to the organisation, states Mahajan.
Anand Talwar, Vice-president, Talent Management, ITC Infotech,
acknowledges that a large number of employees have the opportunity to change
jobs, but it is imperative for professional organisations which are in business
from a long-term perspective, to have a sound career management framework. In
fact the lack of it impacts productivity. In ITC Infotech, we believe that individuals
must be provided growth and career advancement opportunities as we look forward
to building them into thoroughbread professionals, adds Talwar. The company
has launched a career management framework built around the fulcrum of personal
development plans and career mentoring. This framework is being instituted in
the organisation during the current financial year.
Tarun Singh, Director, Kenexa Technologies (India), suggests a three-pronged
approach to tackle long-term productivity issues:
- The employee must have a degree of clarity on what he
wants to pursue and achieve in life, so some degree of self-knowledge and
self-introspection is essential for any person to find a job where he is the
correct fit. Once this happens, then the employee is fully engaged
and thus highly productive, and less likely to switch jobs if he perceives
that the company is really interested in his career development.
- Just as an individual must have a clear goal orientation,
the organisation must show a high-level vision and goals which are clearly
made known to employees, which would give them a lot of confidence about the
organisations intent and the opportunities for progress within the company.
- The goal of career development thus becomes a plan to
retain and promote employees who are strategic to the companys success.
The right approach
Organisations have today begun to understand the effectiveness
of mentoring among all career development initiatives like promotion, job rotation,
training, etc. The mentorship approach has proved to make a significant impact.
Nirupama V G, Associate Director, TeamLease Services, informs, Few companies
assign career counsellors to employees, who act as a mentor and coach throughout
the counselees career with the company. The counsellors take genuine interest
in the counselees career and guide them to projects which will enable
him/her to develop the skills and experience and hence employability. Review
of the project handled by the employee is done with respect to the career plan
at regular intervals. This apart many companies have communities
of knowledge comprising people involved in similar projects, business streams
or domains. These communities act as knowledge banks/learning centres which
help the employees to strengthen the skills pertaining to their career stream.
Biju S Nair, Vice-president (Finance & HR), Four Soft, lists the best approaches
to developing careers:
- Creating opportunities for the employees in the organisation.
- Employee-friendly work environment with high learning
curve and leadership mentoring.
- Understanding broad corporate goals as well as industry
requirements and aligning the career development initiatives.
- Creating friendly work culture and transparent environment
for better career growth.
- Salary growth and benefits to match the role specific
requirement and ability to perform as per the job requirement.
- Job rotation
- Job enlargement
- Succession planning
- Assessment and development centres
Source: Compass Connections
Aligning with organisational goals
The growth of an individual is intrinsically linked with the growth of an organisation
and vice versa. No organisation can develop without taking its employees on
the growth path and an individuals development is meaningless if it does
not align with the organisational goals and strategies. When an individuals
aspirations is directed elsewhere from that of his organisations it can
lead to absolute chaos.
Organisations have their own vision and individuals their own aspirations.
Alignment and congruence of both create a win-win situation and the lack of
such alignment can create movement in haphazard directions leading to loss of
productivity, morale, etc, states Talwar.
Alignment of employees with organisational goals and strategies is a must. Shrikant
Kulkarni, Senior Vice President, KPIT Cummins Infosystems, points out that this
happens when organisations leverage home-grown talent which understands the
companys business, its challenges, customers, technology, its values and
Soft skills development is an integral part of career planning initiative.
Team play, leadership skills, communication skills are key competencies for
one who goes up the career in the IT industry, adds Kulkarni.
Every organisation needs to retain people with the right skills and talent.
This can be enabled by investing in their future growth and showing them the
path to fulfil their dreams. In this process the effort put by employees gives
a fillip to their performance and transforms into greater organisational productivity.