I am passionate about continuous learning and professional development. I prioritize and protect it. While I strongly believe that each person should own their own career, it’s also important for leaders and organizations to provide professional development support if they want to retain top talent. Let’s remember that development isn’t always a straight vertical path. Providing employees with the opportunity to grow in different ways – in different functions and roles – not only supports the development of high-potential employees who may be considered key talent and/or a successor, but it may be one of the missing links to your retention strategy. People want to be developed. And if you don’t offer opportunities, another organization will.
I’m so excited to welcome Taura Prosek back to WISHRM23! Last year, she presented “Empower Employees to Lead Their Careers” (you can read the interview here). This year, her session “6 Steps to Building a Robust Career Development Solution” addresses the organizational need to develop a solution that supports internal mobility and embeds development into its talent strategies.
Q1: Tell us a little about yourself and your role with Stewart Leadership. What led you to Stewart Leadership, and which part of your job are you most passionate about?
A1: My role at Stewart Leadership primarily focuses on solutions and sales where I build new and strengthen current client relationships. What drew me to Stewart Leadership over 7 years ago was their partnership approach tailoring to the unique needs of their clients.
I am also an executive coach and career development strategist so do quite a bit of work in these areas. I’ve been passionate about career development since my role as Manager, Early Talent, over two decades ago when I facilitated hundreds of career coaching conversations.
When I’m asked, “Why would we provide career development support to our employees? Aren’t we preparing them to leave?” I confidently reply, “No, you are preparing them to stay!” I LOVE this work and view it as one of the most important benefits an organization can provide their employees today, which was the inspiration behind this presentation.
Q2: Why is building a robust career development solution so important?
A2: People often leave organizations because they don’t see options to grow and develop if they stay. Recent stats note that as high as 70% of employees say they would be forced to leave to advance their careers. This is crazy! When an organization supports internal mobility and combines this with offering career development programming and support, amazing things can happen. The benefits include retention, engagement, agility, improved employer brand, better succession planning, and more.
Q3: You mentioned that recent studies identified a gap in career development capabilities among internal talent development professionals. What is the gap, and how can organizations begin to close that gap?
A3: Gone are the days of the typical career path, thus, HR professionals must play a facilitator role in supporting the employee and their manager in a collaborative approach to career planning. HR professionals may not be traditionally skilled in the areas of career coaching, career goal setting, internal resume building, conducting skill gap analysis, interview preparation and skill practice, event networking strategies, and more. Over 24,000 talent development professionals have assessed their capabilities within the Talent Development Capability Model™ and “career and leadership development” is identified in the bottom five of the total list of 23 capabilities. So, at a time when HR professionals must play a more active role in the career space, it continues to be identified as a skill-set area that needs to be strengthened. This gap can be improved through aligning career development efforts with current talent systems and processes and upskilling HR professionals through workshops, certifications, and resources in all areas related to career.
Q4: For organizations that have never had a career development solution, where should they start and how much of their budget do they need dedicated for this initiative? How can HR professionals support a career development initiative in their organizations?
A4: Although HR professionals may lead the career development strategy internally, each employee is ultimately responsible for leading and owning their own career decisions. They simply need the skills and internal sponsorship to do this effectively. People leaders are responsible for having the important and frequent career conversations that employees are demanding today. Stewart Leadership offers a workbook called “Lead Your Career: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Achieving Professional Fulfillment and Helping Others Do the Same” for only $35 per copy. Although it is written for the individual employee to career plan for themselves, it doubles as a guide to help anyone who facilitates career conversations. The final chapter is focused on helping people leaders prepare for and hold those authentic career conversations that employees crave.
An easy first step is to identify a group of HR professionals who want to strengthen their career development skills to participate in a pilot Lead Your Career workshop with a focus on their own careers. This is a low-risk and economical way to gauge interest for expansion across the organization and there is no better way to learn a topic than by experiencing it first-hand as a user of it.
Q5: What can participants expect during your session, and is there anything that attendees can or should prepare ahead of time to maximize the discussion?
A5: Six steps will be outlined as a roadmap to follow as career development is prioritized and integrated into an organization. To prepare in advance for this session, participants can informally pulse fellow coworkers with the question, “How can we better support you and your career here?”
Think about a recent role where there were internal and external candidates on the slate for consideration. Were your internal candidates as prepared as external? When an internal candidate doesn’t interview well and an external gets the role, consider the message this sends and the cost that results in the short-term and long-term.
Q6: What is one thing you hope attendees of your session will take back to their workplaces?
A6: Career development is no longer an “extra” type of benefit. It’s expected. As a first step, I hope that when attendees go back to their workplaces, they prioritize gathering the voices of their key stakeholder groups. What are employees and people leaders saying about career development and internal mobility? What are key performance indicators telling you? Conduct a baseline analysis to figure out where you are today so you can put a plan together that supports helping people to grow and STAY in the future!
Q7: What is the best way for attendees to connect with you and Stewart Leadership?
A7: Please visit leadyourcareer.com and stewartleadership.com for more information about our career development solutions and services. Connect with me on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/tauraprosek/, and email me directly at email@example.com.
Q8: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Wisconsin State SHRM Conference?
A8: The in-person connection at this conference can’t be beaten. This conference is filled with people buzzing in the gathering spaces and the energy is contagious! See you all there!
Taura’s session is offered virtually and in person on Thursday, October 12th from 10:15-11:30am.
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