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How to Create a Career Development Plan that Supports Growth

Whether you're the boss or an entry-level employee, career development planning can help you achieve your goals. We will take some time to define career development and how to set up a career development plan so that readers can apply these tips in their workplace.

What is career development?

Career development has become very important for employees as they determine their goals and objectives. Fifty years ago, a worker might start at a company after high school and stay there for a few decades and retire with a gold watch. This isn't the norm anymore. People change jobs and even careers more frequently and are less likely to stay in one place. Career development provides a guide for individuals to determine what they want out of their careers and how to achieve their goals and objectives.

So how does one create a career development plan? In many organizations, the employer and employee will work together to develop an action plan as career development is mutually beneficial. We will discuss how employers can help employees create a career development plan in a moment. Still, anyone can and should plan their career development individually even if their employer does not support them.

What to consider when planning your career development

  1. Identify what your employer considers to be key performance indicators and whether you are on the right track to achieve them in your current position and future positions you would want to be considered for.

  2. Review your strengths and weaknesses. If there is a skill or knowledge gap that is preventing you from succeeding in your role or preventing you from being promoted, can you take steps to narrow that gap?

  3. Become more vocal in meetings with your team and manager. And always be willing to ask and accept feedback, so you can apply what you learn to your career development plan.

  4. Find a mentor who has been successful in a similar position as you and seek advice and recommendations from them as you pursue career development.

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How to determine your next career step

Career development planning is designed to help workers define their goals and set a path towards achieving them. But what happens if you've already established a career and are no longer energized by what you do or your goals and passion have changed, and you want to do something else? In some cases, you may have to change careers in your current organization or even move on to a new one.

This situation is very common. The average worker will stay at a job for 4.6 years and change careers between three to seven times. The most common reasons why people change or leave their jobs is because of a lack of satisfaction in the current position, poor pay, little career advancement, or issues with a manager or team member.

If you face any of these issues, it might be time for a change. This could mean speaking with your manager about taking on a new role, enrolling in a program or course to help you transition to a new career, or networking to see what else is out there. Career development planning will often lead you in exciting new directions as you identify what you want out of your job and whether you're happy in your current role.

boss mentoring employee

How employers can help employees develop their career further

Career development planning does not just benefit employees who want to gain the skills needed to move up the ladder. Career development planning also enables organizations to retain top talent and fill positions without having to conduct costly recruiting outside of the current talent pool, which puts them at risk of hiring the wrong person for the role as well.

To strengthen our case even further, growing talent from within also boosts employee morale and productivity as workers have a stake in the organization's growth and a motivation to succeed. Additionally, organizations with a formal career development planning program in place recruit better as candidates look for employers that offer paths for career growth. Candidates want to work for an employer that is just as devoted to their career path as they are.

If possible, employers should take an active role in career development planning. The best career development plans usually are collaborative and involve a combination of one-on-one discussions, training, and mentoring. Employers should provide employees with a clear picture of organizational goals and what skills and experience are needed to succeed in given positions. Employees can then assess themselves and identify what they need to do to advance on their career path within an organization.

Steps to create a career development plan for employees

While every organization is different and will tailor a development program to its own talent and needs, these are common steps founds in most career development planning programs:

  1. Determine your organizational goals, department goals, and goals by position. This will help employees develop strategies to nurture internal talent and how to provide a path for employees to succeed as they help the organization grow.

  2. Assess what skills and experience are necessary to allow someone to succeed in a given role. This connects goals with skills, which is essential for career development. Some organizations may even organize career development events to further engage employees in career planning.

  3. Conduct one-on-one discussions with employees about their skillset and morale, current organizational goals, and future aspirations - both short-term and long-term.

  4. Develop a plan of action for your employees where they identify goals they want to achieve to move ahead on their career paths. Schedule ongoing meetings to assess progress.

A final note about career development

At J&J Staffing, we help organizations find high-quality candidates to fill a wide variety of roles — from office positions, to warehouse positions, to professional positions. We also provide a resource for candidates to find job postings from hiring organizations. Career development planning is important for employees and employers alike. We encourage you to think about career planning no matter if you're a decision-maker or someone who wants to become one someday.

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J & J Staffing Resources is a professional staffing agency that connects local businesses to job seekers throughout the Greater Philadelphia area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

We bring over 45 years of expertise in office, industrial, technical, and professional staffing placements as well as payroll management, and offer a wide range of services for both employers and job seekers.

Need help? J & J Staffing has offices in Newark, Bridgeport, Woodbury, Cherry Hill, Ewing, Princeton, Langhorne, and Horsham. Visit your local J & J staffing center or get started below.