Steps Towards Career Planning

By Mandeep Singh
Partner – Talent & Rewards,

career planning HR helpdesk

One of the most interesting and most talked about areas in the field of Human Resources is Career Planning. This has gained significant attention from line managers and HR practitioners in the recent past.

The interesting trend however is to see this term being used in many interviews irrespective of the skill the individual has, pointers relating to career planning figure in the top 5 reason of leaving a present employer and contributes to the top 5 reasons of choosing a new employer.

This makes it an interesting point to discuss, it specifically makes it interesting to find out what is the difference between a job and a career, after all, both are in a particular company, in both the scenarios we are given specific tasks, we get appraised for performance and there is a work culture like any corporate culture would have. Think about this, and I am hoping that by the end of this article you should be able to figure out for yourself whether you are in a job or in a career?

This phenomenon, concept or phrase, whatever you may call it revolves around a company focused on employees and building their future in a manner that they can benefit themselves and the company.

In simple words, and for quite some time it was understood and taken that a career is when an individual can join an organization and retire from the same organization.

In this age, where everything is advancing and is result oriented, measurable and focused around value propositions, the retirement statement definitely doesn’t hold true. Career is not about having the ability of retiring because of job security, it is more than that. Career is about seeing the change in the expectations, seeing the change in the environment and seeing the change in the culture that surrounds an individual in an organization.

This means, as an individual, you need to see some kind of advancement (whether due to specialisation or due to exposure) to your primary socio cultural needs, monetary needs and technical needs.

To explain further, a career plan would include how a person moves every year on the compensation, how the individual moves in relation to peers in the company and in relation to his or her own personal goals. It would also include how the individual is planned to either upgrade skill to take on a role requiring higher skills or it would include finding roles which give the ability to an individual to grow. None of these are linked to promotions and upward movement in the job. Career planning can have promotions as part of the entire game plan, but cannot be dependent on it, a promotion only makes the career plan interesting for an employee and in some cases makes it move faster.

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Factors in the Path of Career Planning

Here are some key factors that contribute to career plan for an individual that is giving growth, which is one of the top 3 reasons of exits in any company. To sustain growth for an individual, a detailed plan needs to be in place and communicated at appropriate intervals to an individual, i.e: how do you plan a role enhancement or enrichment over the years.

Therefore, it means that career planning can also be for a role and not necessarily for an individual. The organization chart related links of the maze, how  does an individual move from one box to the other, how does one box change over the years and what does it take for an individual to be in a particular box. That’s career planning in simple words. This is what is required for individuals to know when a statement is made that there is future with the company.

This is an interesting and an essential factor for any line manager to know about his subordinates, if the manager really wants to use full potential of the subordinates for the tasks assigned by him. Not to forget, that any credible HR organization would necessarily have to have this in place for all employees in the company.

More to read

How to Choose the Right Company to Join

Employee Training & Development Program: A Need Not Privilege

Get Your Hiring Right – The Interview Circle