Three Strategies for Employee Career Development


Are you presently at loss as to how to go about developing the strategies you can use for your career development? Are you one of those employees feeling trapped and unappreciated in your organization? Do you no longer derive any sense of meaning or purpose from what you do for a living? We in the human resource practice have often observed and counseled, questioned and even helped employees in this kind of situation with requisite career advice. It is therefore for this reason that human resource practitioners have come up with career development strategies that should assist employees in their career planning and growth. These strategies when utilized bring about greater employee self-awareness. Further it brings about clearer view of workers long-term goals. The main objective in this article is to highlight the strategies for employee career development that can propel smart workers in whatever career they might have chosen in their life.

What are those career development strategies that any employee should utilize to survive in this information age? How should a worker desirous of choosing a career that enables him live a happy and full life go about doing so? Detailed below are these strategies.

· Discovery of your primary aim: The first strategy for any employee is to identify the primary purpose in life. By this is meant a picture of the kind of life you wish to live. What is it that you want to be most in the world? What is it that you love doing most and will not tire even if you continue doing it forever? You need to ask yourself questions to enable you find answers to how to discover your primary aim. Without asking relevant questions you cannot get answers. I had always wanted to be a writer. Though I started late, but I am doing what I always wanted to do which is writing. This I do through dissemination of information on human relations practice and blogging. I achieved this by asking myself questions to discover the answers. What is your own vision? What is your primary purpose in life? Your purpose or your vision in a period of time. Your purpose or vision is a continuous thing. It is something that shapes your life and it is a life time process. An employee who has not done this will only accept whatever career that is thrust upon her. She will never be happy in whatever career she might have chosen. Your career is your life. It determines how you want to live your life. You therefore need to have a picture of what you want your life to be like (your vision) and this will guide you into your choice of career. Primary aim helps your awareness about yourself. It helps you to get clear about certain truths about yourself and how you should live your life.

· Creation of Standards:This is another strategy for career development any smart employee must utilize in the 21st century. By standard is meant benchmarks to measure your performance against. Without a clearly defined vision of your life, you will have no standards by which you can evaluate your role in whatever career you have chosen nor any criteria with which to gauge and measure whether you are in the right career (or considering to pursue one) which will work for you. No matter your primary aim, if the career you have chosen or intend to pursue does not mesh with your vision you can never be happy. That is where standards come in. The only way by which you could evaluate yourself therefore is by looking at where you are in your career (work, time, money, culture, relationships) and measuring it against the picture of who you wish to be. It is therefore based on these benchmarks/standards that decisions and choices concerning your career should be made. This you do by envisioning model(s) which will then serve as your measuring rod. A model is the prototype of the kind of life you wish to live. You will create rules by which you will live your life. The rules and the standards should go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other.

· Identification of your passions, interests, skills, abilities and experience:Another key career development strategy for a smart employee is the identification of your main passions, skills, interests and abilities. You need to ask questions. What are those things that you love doing? For example writing, speaking, helping others etc. What are those innate skills that you possess or have acquired in life that distinguish you from other human beings? For example interpersonal skill, management, communication, IT, organization etc. What are those talents that you possess or have acquired that distinguish you from other employees? The experiences you have acquired over time that makes you different. No two individuals are created the same. We are all created differently. Identification of these key attributes will therefore assist you in your career development. This when married with your primary aim helps in your career development.

Identification of primary purpose or aim is however a process. The bid to envision your life is a journey. It is during the journey that you will identify your skills, passion, talents, interests and experiences that are compatible with your vision in life. You should therefore be alive and aware as they are being identified. They are the attributes that will help you in developing your career and consequently in shaping your life. If your purpose is to be a writer, what are those skills, interests, passions and experiences you need to acquire to be one? To be a writer, you need to love writing. You need to love reading and acquiring knowledge. You need be observant. Your communication skill must be exceptional.

From the foregoing therefore, the application of these three strategies for career development will assist a smart employee in making the best out of his chosen career. These strategies are to assist the employee in reinventing his life such that he will live it the way he wanted. Just as it is beneficial to a job seeker who is already gainfully employed, it is equally beneficial to one who is still searching. The strategies when utilized will guide you in your career path. Having identified your primary aim, created your vision and in the process identified your passion, interests, skills and experience, you will be able to identify the best career you will be suited and consequently work on it. Having worked on your career you will be able to work on your life because your career will ultimately affect your life.

As an experienced human relations practitioner, I can safely advice that the application of these three strategies by any employee will enable him in building a career in a matching organization or with a matching employer. Working in such a satisfactory organization brings about job satisfaction and job enrichment and consequently a fulfilled life which is the ultimate goal of every smart employee.