How do you decide to develop someone's career?

How do you decide to develop someone's career?

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Talent retention and addressing skills gaps are an important consideration in all organisations. Making the most of the talent you have in house, and developing the careers of those with potential within your organisation can mean a great saving when it comes to both time and money. Not only do external hires generally get paid more than those recruited for the same role from within your organisation, but new hires are unable to hit the ground running - they need to be taught the inner workings of your company before they can really get their teeth into the role. This takes time and effort from many people within the organisation, decreasing the productivity of all involved, albeit temporarily.

Offering good career development opportunities is a great way to keep staff loyal to your organisation, and also makes working for you attractive to external candidates should you chose to recruit them.

However, knowing that career development is an all important tool, how do you decide who deserves and desires it, and how do you go about implementing that development once the decision has been made?

Being transparent within your organisation about the roles available and the development opportunities that exist is very important. By ensuring this transparency all staff are aware of what kind of future they could potentially build within the company, and, importantly that they have a future with you.

If people realise that they have opportunity to grow within your organisation they will be loyal, better engaged, and work harder. The most important part of deciding on career development for employees is to base the decision on merit, competency, and the employee’s own desire to progress.

This is why the role of HR and the correct use of appraisal feedback is so important, it is also important that you ask the right questions. Insight gained at 360-appraisal is a vital consideration in the decision to start career development for any member of staff, and it is important to utilise that feedback correctly and wisely. By taking the feedback gained from peers as an indicator of an individual’s work style and dedication, you can compare what colleagues have expressed with what the individual sees as their strengths and potential areas to grow. Encourage staff to openly discuss their career plans as this will allow you to address their needs in an informed way. Take the time to listen to and encourage staff, and they will reward you with hard work and dedication to your organisation.

Development plans are especially important in the attraction and retention of younger top talent. Gen Y workers are looking for training and development opportunities that improve their careers, as well as mentoring from managers. Although this may appear to be what will qualify them to move onto bigger and better things, it is equally likely that this is what will keep them working for you. However, training and development is something that often gets overlooked. Managers can feel they don’t have the time to concentrate on development plans as they are too busy with the day to day occurrences and running of the organisation.

This is why HR needs to step in and make sure that staff have the opportunity to express where they would like to go within the company, and to explain the tools available and skills necessary to get them there. Showing an active interest in the careers of your staff is what makes them loyal to your organisation and giving them the opportunity to learn new skills will consequently increase engagement and productivity.

As well as giving staff the opportunity and encouragement to discuss any career and development goals they may have, manager’s need to think strategically about what skills gaps exist within the organisation and what the overarching business goals are for the company in the future. These then need to be communicated to HR in order to match business requirements with the employee skills available. By doing this, you ensure that both employees and the organisation itself progress and grow together.

Deciding how and when to spend time developing someone’s career can be done effectively and simply by making correct use of their appraisal feedback. By using the information gained at appraisal to set really applicable individual goals you have the power to both develop individuals and address the skills gaps within your organisation.


By initially setting goals after you have discussed an individual staff member’s career aspirations, you can get an accurate picture of their dedication to and progress in achieving them, which will help inform your decision about their career progression and direction. You can also set goals involving training needs and chart achievement so you know when it is the right time to progress that person’s career. This is important as you need to validate the effectiveness of career development in order to make sure it really is providing benefit to your organisation. You also need to be mindful of different people’s and different generation’s notions of advancement.

The important thing to remember is that talented and ambitious employees will want to be the best they can be in their jobs, and they will naturally have the desire to progress. If you provide them with the opportunity to do so, they will be the best they can be for your company. If you don’t, they will look for that opportunity elsewhere.

By spending time wisely utilising feedback and consequently providing fitting and well deserved training and development, you will always get the very best out of your employees – which is surely what every organisation wants.

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