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Career self-assessment is a process that not just focuses on an individual but impacts the workplace as a whole. This paper will address itself to three particular issues. The first issue will be the proactive approaches an employee can use to get assistance from their manager to advance within their organization. Secondly, the paper will look at how this relationship can be established as a continuous process and lastly how this can lead to workplace self-development.
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For an employee to grow within an organization, he/she needs to have the necessary intrinsic motivation for growth and development. As an individual the employee has his/her goals for personal development. However, the employees’ manager also has his/her goals and the organization has its own goals. It is up to the employee to continuously look for ways in which he/she can align their goals with that of the organization. This should not just be in the short term. If the employee is innovative and the work environment encourages growth, he /she should identify ways in which they can employ their skills to benefit the organization in programs or activities that the organization has not ventured into despite its potential (Ouchi, 1981). For example, if an employee is interested in conducting market research and this is not available, they can forward the idea to their manager who will take it up with the organization board. This way the organization gets to grow while the employee grows too; a win-win situation (Hirsh, Jackson & Kidd: 2001).
Secondly the employee can also actively seek out a mentor within the organization. One of the responsibilities of the manager is to nurture the employees and scout for outstanding talent. It is up to the employee to make a good impression to their managers. This can be done in several ways. An employee should make sure that work assigned is done meticulously and on time. Moreover the employee should have good interpersonal skills and be a good team player as well as individual worker. It helps if the employee exhibits an interest in learning because willing teachers are always looking for wiling students. As part of interest in learning the employee needs to show interest in taking up extra work. However this should be work that not only benefits the organization but also benefits the employee in the short run and long run career prospects.
To ensure that these proactive approaches are constant, the employee should formally ask for mentorship from a manager who can help them develop professionally. While a line manager is an excellent choice for a mentor, one does not have to restrict their choice to their line manager. What is important in choosing a mentor is that the prospective mentor is able to guide the mentee in a professional manner. The mentor should be able to point out the mentee’s strengths and how to highlight them while working on the minimizing weaknesses. The mentor should also point the mentee in the direction of new opportunities for growth in terms of knowledge and career. In essence mentorship is supposed to enable an employee attain their career objectives.
The manager has a pert to play in this as well. He/she should ensure the working environment is a learning environment that is open to fresh and innovative ideas (Nicholson , 2003). For example, the manager can have an open door policy where there is time set aside for employees to discuss their career objectives with him. This can be an informal appraisal that calls for introspective analysis by the manager and the employee of themselves and how they can improve the work place. Moreover the manager can organize for shadowing and seconding arrangements with other divisions in the company where possible. This will give his employees a chance to learn new skills and increase their versatility in the workplace. This not only translates to increased revenues for an organization, it also leads to employees feeling more relevant in an organization.
For workplace self-development to happen there has to be a concerted team effort between the employee, the manager and the organization (Atchison, 2003). Firstly the goals for each of these three parties need to be identified. These should be in the short term, medium term and the long run. Moreover, these goals should be continuously appraised so that any changes are noted. The aim of this is to ensure that the goals of these three parties are congruent and where incongruences exist, how best they can be addressed. While the employee has no interest outside of career development, his contribution to the organization is vital. As such his/her career needs should be addressed. The manager is equally important as he provides a tactical and at times operational sense of direction on how the organization affairs should be run. Moreover he/she is tasked with managing people and his leadership skills play a role in determining organization outputs and outcomes as he/she plays a key role in motivating or demotivating employees.
The organization has a very important role to play in the career development of employees. This is because it is the final determinant of the requirements needed to create an environment conducive for self-development. If the organization supports the managers’ initiatives and ideas and encourages learning and growth, then it is possible for employees to attain their career goals. Furthermore, where an organization is seen by employees to be motivating, the employee will be able to work better.
In conclusion, while the manager plays an important role in determining the attainment of career objectives by employees, it is a team effort. Organization employees need to be sufficiently motivated to advance their career objectives. The organization on the other hand needs to be alive to the aspirations of its managers and employees. There should be a proper feedback mechanism that will ensure the goals of these three parties are as congruent as possible. This is essentially the purpose of career self-assessments. They should be able to shed light on what can be done differently and what can be encouraged as positive trends. The organization should respond to these ideas and create an environment that is friendly to self-development. This can be in monetary or non-monetary terms; what is important is that the employees are able to attain their career objectives and that managers are supported by the organization as they go about helping employees in their career growth (Kumar & Patrick: 2011).
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