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How career management services can support jobs, skills and business performance

Ranjit de Sousa, chairman of the World Employment Confederation’s career management group and member of the World Employment Confederation’s board


In the human resource world, we all seek the same goals.


We want to help our organisations to sustain and thrive in an era where labour markets are more fluid and diverse than ever before. The economies in which we work are being transformed by technology, emerging industries and new forms of work. This has created a relentless demand for new skills and capacities, some of which did not even exist a few years ago.


The challenge is as important as it is immense: How can we help business organisations find the right people with the right skills and – perhaps most importantly – the capacity to embrace change and evolve with future, as-yet-unseen demands for even newer skills and capabilities?


If the question is how to do that in an efficient and effective manner, then the answer has to be career management.


Navigating complex labour markets


Anticipating the very scenario we face today, the employment industry has developed a range of career management services to help workers and employers navigate increasingly complex labour markets.


These services can be external (career transition), or internal (re-/upskilling, redeployment and mobility support). Put simply, career management helps promote a smoother, more dynamic labour market that can benefit businesses, individuals and society.


For companies, career management helps to reveal a long-term perspective for employment and recruiting. It allows an employer to engage in truly strategic workforce planning that will help secure and retain employees that have the skills to be competitive. In other words, it helps employers adapt to change. Career management leads to sustainable, effective restructuring by emphasizing redeployment and reskilling over layoffs.


A focus on redeployment and re-/upskilling helps companies control the costs associated with change and hence remain competitive. It also enables organisations to act in a socially responsible manner at times when their reputation is challenged.  This strengthens employer brand and engagement from remaining employees, who see that they are working for an organization that cares about its people.


Supporting the work-life journey


For individuals, career management adds value at every stage of the work-life journey.


Early on, it provides people with a clear understanding of the job market and the skills needed to secure work now and in the future. As people work longer and follow less linear careers, these insights can help enjoy a more exciting and fulfilling career. Career management services provide people with a bundle of competences that offers them choice as they move from job to job. It can also allow them to move jobs more easily within companies, sectors and supply chains, thereby giving them the best chance to remain employed and avoid the stress and strain of a layoff.


In those instances where a transition is unavoidable, workers with access to career management services following layoffs are better able to seize new opportunities and enter new employment more swiftly. They are offered guidance and training to equip them with the skills they need to secure their long-term relevance in the workplace and hence change becomes an opportunity, not a threat.


Societal interests


Career management can also serve the interests of society. Career management support for vulnerable groups such as women, youth, older people and refugees in entering the labour market not only boosts their personal development, but also makes them more attractive to employers on a longer term. Career management reduces demand for unemployment services and benefits thanks to smoother, shorter labour market transitions. All together this creates a virtuous circle that can make government intervention cost neutral. Career management can act as a facilitator in bringing employers and social partners closer and collectively finding innovative solutions to labour market evolutions.


However, to achieve all these goals, we must make a greater commitment to career management. Right now, far too many organisations ignore the importance of career management, choosing instead to embrace a costly and destructive cycle of firing and hiring that really does not serve the interests of employer or employee.


This is where the Career Management Group within the World Employment Confederation becomes so important. We need to work together to promote inherent value of career management services, to convince stakeholders about the myriad of benefits that will accrue from a labour market that can adapt to changing skill needs without leaving anyone behind. The pace of change right now is so severe, unless we work together to make career management a staple of the employer-employee relationship, we will be left behind.


By delivering added value throughout the work experience, career management services enable work, security, adaptation and prosperity. They equip people and organisations to weather the storm of change rather than fleeing its wrath. It will help us build a more resilient, socially responsible world of work where individuals are fulfilled, companies perform sustainably, and society flourishes.


Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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