The following case study deals with the career development at Electronic Applications. A new HR director Harold Sweeney faced several human resources problems, such as a high turnover among electrical engineers. The main goal of the paper is to identify the nature and the causes of these problems and discuss formalized the career development system as a possible solution.
The Problem at Electronic Applications
The main problem of Electronic Applications is the absence of the career development system. Since many workers in the area of research do not see opportunities for professional growth, they leave for competitors. According to a research engineer Helen Morgan, the company does not invest in talent management. Instead of further training and promotion of the best employees, the company thwarts their progress by keeping them in the same departments and positions. The company does not provide employees either with information concerning career paths or with training programs. As a result, poor human resources management led to a high turnover among electrical engineers.
Relevant Information to Be Examined
Before developing a solution, Sweeney should ask Helen and other staff members about their career expectations and needs. He should ask workers’ opinions and suggestions concerning career development programs. He should also think about possible alternatives for at least some employees. Information about employees’ professional needs could be helpful in development planning or career management.
Individual and Organizational Benefits of a Formalized Career Development System
Career development is the key asset for organizations where the strategic business direction incorporates individuals’ expectations of career progress. It is pertinent to have a conceptual framework of organizational career management that provides employees with the tools, resources, and structure for planning their professional development in the company (Krishnan & Maheshwari). The formalized career development system helps employees better understand their strengths, weaknesses, and interests by showing them what jobs are available and how expanded job responsibilities can help them meet their personal growth needs. It also helps companies to retain talented employees and, therefore, gain a competitive advantage on the market (Noe, 2012). Thus, the formalized system is equally beneficial for individuals and organizations because it provides applicable tools for achieving both employees’ and company’s goals.
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Services that Must Be Offered under Formalized Career Development System
Career development includes formal education, job experiences, interpersonal relationships, and assessment of personality and skills. Programs should incorporate assessing employees’ needs, creating a positive development environment, identifying the objectives for development, choosing a combination of development activities that will help achieve the objectives, ensuring that the working environment supports the development of activities and the use of acquired skills and experiences. First, companies should help employees identify strengths, weaknesses, and development needs through performance appraisals, feedback, and development discussions. After this, managers should help their subordinates to create a development plan that delineates activities necessary for reaching career goals. Such activities may include courses, job rotation, on-site job shadowing, cross-functional projects, workshops, online learning, business simulations, etc. Employees should have access to information about career ladders, available job openings, and learning opportunities. Employees should have an opportunity to voice their wishes and concerns at the meetings with managers. Companies also can provide tuition reimbursement to encourage them to develop their skills. Finally, job enlargement and job rotation may help employees acquire new skills and experience. Participating in different projects or even performing different roles and in various departments, employees can better understand their development needs and goals (Noe, 2012). It is also very important to integrate HR practices into career development programs.
Integration of Career Development and Human Resource Management Activities
Human resource practices are a crucial element of career development. Such HR practices as training, staffing, compensation, performance appraisals, mentoring, and 360-degree feedback should be aligned with career development. In 360-degree feedback, employees’ behavior is evaluated by subordinates, peers, managers, customers, and themselves. The raters complete a questionnaire, evaluating a person according to several criteria. The questionnaires must guarantee rater’s confidentiality. Based on the assessment information and available opportunities, employees then can work on their development plans (Karkoulian, Assaker, & Hallak, 2016). Employees can also develop skills by interacting with a more experienced organization member through formal, informal, or group mentoring. Informal mentoring can facilitate dealing with psychological issues through confidential relationships with a mentor; formal mentoring ensures gender, race, and age equality and defines clear expectations for participants. Group mentoring provides a development network for employees (Noe, 2012). Thus, the integration of career development and HR activities guarantees employees’ satisfaction and retention.
Evaluation of Promotability and the Supervisors’ Performance
Evaluating candidates for promotion, a manager should assess their skills, experience, effectiveness at their current position, loyalty and potential for growth. It will be also useful to evaluate employees’ personal skills, such as leadership potential, responsibility, motivation, ability to overcome challenges, willingness to learn, and other qualities that may be useful in new positions. It is also very important to identify whether an employee is interested in the new position or is content with the current one. Supervisor’s and mentor’s performance can be accessed by the number of their subordinates who managed to enhance their careers successfully. Performance appraisal, interviews, 360-degree feedback and completion of questionnaires can facilitate the evaluation of supervisors and employees.
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The following case emphasizes the importance of an employee’s career development. If workers do not see opportunities for personal and professional growth, they will resign, which will take a toll on the business. Therefore, every company should invest in human resources management and career development. The formalized career development system in combination with HR tools will provide all structures and resources necessary for balancing individual and organizational needs and achieving career advancement, job satisfaction, and employees’ retention.
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