6. Other Issues

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‘‘Acknowledge and respect the employee’s career goals when assigning

work.’’

‘‘They don’t have a clear direction for those who do not know

what they want to do. Clearly defined career paths are not available.’’

‘‘Management and supervisors seem to only care for themselves

and don’t care about the growth or advancement of their employees.’’

‘‘ABC Company does not have a career development workshop.’’

‘‘Employees need more career counseling.’’

What They Are Really Saying

Look beneath the surface of these comments and you will see a number of

issues faced by most organizations:

There will inevitably be limited opportunities for career growth in

every organization.

Barriers between departments and position levels constrain internal

movement and growth.

No one at the top of the organization is coordinating internal talent

management activities to create awareness of growth opportunities

in all departments and units.

Fixed time-in-grade policies keep employees from advancing when

they are ready.

Job posting processes are slow and unresponsive.

Less qualified employees are being hired because of manager favoritism.

Demand for long work hours limits promotional opportunities for

single parents despite their sacrifice and hard work.

Gender-based and other kinds of prejudice create obstacles to career

growth.

Training is restricted only to certain positions, departments, or locations.

Training is approved only if it is related to employee’s current position,

and disapproved if it relates to preparation for future opportunities.

Training is inadequate.

There is no training at all, even when it is needed to achieve important

company goals.

Managers assign work without considering employees’ talents and

preferences.

There is no process to assist employees with unclear career goals.

Career path information is unavailable.

Managers are concerned only about their own careers, not the career

growth of their employees.

There are enough issues related to internal career growth and development

in most companies to keep several consultants busy for months. Yet,

employers of choice seem to have fewer such issues. They know that career

growth and advancement consistently ranks among the top three reasons

employees stay or leave in most companies. They understand that top performers

seek out and pursue jobs and careers with employers that put extra

effort into helping employees learn, grow, and advance internally.

Yet, in a survey by The Conference Board, limited career opportunities

was found to be the number one driver of overall employee dissatisfaction,

cited by 59 percent of workers.1 In another survey, where managers and

employees were asked to rate the performance of today’s managers on 67

necessary leadership competencies, ‘‘developing direct reports’’ ranked

67th—dead last.2 In a Towers-Perrin study, 85 percent of employees cited

career advancement as a key reward, yet only 49 percent said their companies

were providing it. Similarly, 80 percent said that learning and development

programs are critical, but only 50 percent said their offerings are

sufficient or effective.3 These kinds of survey results remind us that, with

about half of all companies not even trying to develop their people, there

is ample opportunity for those who are trying to become employers of

choice.