Career development consists of the personal actions one undertakes to achieve a career plan. The terms ‘career development’ and ‘employee development’ need to be differentiated at this stage. Career development looks at the long-term career effectiveness of employees, whereas employee development focuses on effectiveness of an employee in the immediate future. The actions for career development may be initiated by the individual himself or by the organisation. These are discussed below.
Individual Career Development
Career progress and development is largely the outcome of actions on the part of an individual. Some of the important steps that could help an individual cross the hurdles on the way ‘up’ may include:
i. Performance: Career progress rests largely on performance. If the performance is sub-standard, even modest career goals can’t be achieved.
ii. Exposure: Career development comes through exposure, which implies becoming known by those who decide promotions, transfers and other career opportunities. You must undertake actions that would attract the attention of those who matter most in an organisation.
iii. Networking: Networking implies professional and personal contacts that would help in striking good deals outside (e.g., lucrative job offers, business deals, etc.). For years men have used private clubs, professional associations, old-boy networks, etc., to gain exposure and achieve their career ambitions.
iv. Leveraging: Resigning to further one’s career with another employer is known as leveraging. When the opportunity is irresistible, the only option left is to resign from the current position and take up the new job (opportunity in terms of better pay, new title, a new learning experience, etc.). However, jumping too jobs frequently (job-hopping) may not be a good career strategy in the long run.
v. Loyalty to career: Professionals and recent college graduates generally jump jobs Managing Careers frequently when they start their career. They do not think that career-long dedication to the same organisation may not help them further their career ambitions. To
overcome this problem, companies such as Infosys, NIIT, WIPRO (all information technology companies where the turnover ratios are generally high) have come out with lucrative, innovative compensation packages in addition to employee stock option plans for those who remain with the company for a specified period.
vi. Mentors and sponsors: A mentor is, generally speaking, an older person in a managerial role offering informal career advice to a junior employee. Mentors take junior employees as their protégés and offer advice and guidance on how to survive and get ahead in the organisation. They act as role models. A sponsor, on the other hand, is someone in the organisation who can create career development opportunities.
vii. Key subordinates: Qualified and knowledgeable subordinates, often extend invaluable help that enables their bosses to come up in life. When the bosses cross the bridge, they take the key subordinates also along with them. In his own self interest, the subordinate must try to find that winning horse on which he can bet.
viii. Expand ability: Employees who are career conscious must prepare themselves for future opportunities that may come their way internally or externally by taking a series of proactive steps (e.g., attending a training programme, acquiring a degree, updating skills in an area, etc.).

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