August 23, 2021

Developing careers in the workplace - many hands make light work

Developing careers in the workplace – many hands make light work.

Talking about our various work and life roles – how things are going and what we’re thinking of doing - form part of our everyday conversations with our friends and family.  

Once in a workplace, similar conversations are often shoehorned into a performance review process. They become a task on the long list of ‘things to do’ for HR, managers, and staff.  

The solution? Encourage each person to take responsibility for their own career development and share the responsibilities to support this approach. Many hands can make light work!  

Short cut: go direct to the Workplace Career Development Checklist for strategies for your workplace.

Want to know more about the Checklist?  

Coming up for 20 years ago I completed an MBA dissertation: ‘Career Development of Individuals Within Organisations – A Study of Middle Managers in Two NZ Crown Entities’. Based on an analysis of literature and questionnaire responses of 28 managers, 10 recommendations were offered under: career development policies, career development support roles and responsibilities, and career development practices.  

Fast forward to the 2020s. As a career professional and in leadership roles within organisations, I have been fortunate to work in teams on standards for career development in New Zealand i.e., the Career Development Benchmarks for the education context and the CDANZ professional standards for career practitioners. What’s missing is a guide for supporting career development in workplaces. I want to thank Diversity Works NZ for the recently published Aotearoa Inclusivity Matrix for New Zealand workplaces, which includes a set of questions around career development practice. It prompted me to devise this simple starter Checklist.

Although the Checklist echoes some of the recommendations from 20 years ago it reflects current narratives about organisational career development. Balancing the workplace need for skilled staff with individual career development needs can be challenging. Hopefully the Checklist is a prompt for making small improvements that help to attract and retain an engaged workforce.

Extra suggestions:

  • If your workplace is a small to medium-sized enterprise, focus on Employee responsibilities and choose the most appropriate strategies from the other responsibilities.  
  • If your workplace uses different terminology you may want to include this, however I would caution against replacing the concept of ‘career’.

I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or suggestions for improving the Checklist at [email protected] .  

Julie Thomas, Executive Director

The Career Development Company is an approved All-of-Government provider of career development services.