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Old Career Contract New Career Contract
Long-term employment is expected. There are shorter term expectations,
affected by changing business needs
(no guarantees).
Reward for performance is Reward for performance is growth,
promotion. recognition, and self-satisfaction.
Management controls career progress. Employees are in charge of their own
Lifetime career is offered. Employee-employer bond is based on
ful¬llment of mutual needs.
Clearly de¬ned career paths are Career paths are less de¬ned, more
offered. changeable.

Resulting in: Resulting in:
Fixed job descriptions. Changing jobs, more projects and task
Compensation and bene¬ts that Recognition systems based on value
reward tenure. creation and results.
Long-term career planning by the Short-term career planning by
organization. employee.
Plateaued workers. Flexible, task-invested workers.
Dependent workers. Empowered, responsible workers.

The reality is that the new career contract still has not materialized
in many organizations, especially ones that value control over employee
autonomy and self-direction. In these old-school organizations, many em-
ployees passively wait for managers to take the ¬rst step and never learn to
manage their own careers. By contrast, most employers of choice clearly
communicate that employees must take the initiative with regard to their
own career development, but they also provide the tools and training nec-
essary for them to do so, as we shall see in the best practices that follow.

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Recognizing the Signs of Blocked Growth and Career
One of your employees may be experiencing restlessness and frustration
with career growth and advancement if he or she:

• Indiscriminately applies for a succession of internal positions, for
some of which they are unquali¬ed or unsuited.
• Was recently not selected for another position in the company.
• Has been recently passed over for a promotion.
• Seems to be coasting and appears to be bored or underchallenged.
• Keeps asking for new challenges.
• Keeps asking for additional training.
• Asks for career path information.
• Has been in the same position long enough to have long since mas-
tered it.
• Has applied for tuition reimbursement but is unclear about career
• Has recently completed a degree and seems to expect a promotion.

Responsibility for employee career growth and development is shared
equally by the employee, the manager, and the organization. Here is the
way one organization divided the responsibilities:

Employee™s Responsibilities

• Make job performance and creating value your ¬rst priority.
• Make your career aspirations known to your manager.
• Assess your own talents and get frequent feedback on your perform-
ance and potential.
• Continually seek new learning and growth opportunities.
• Learn to uncover hidden needs in the organization to create a new
• Seek growth through lateral movements and job enrichment, not just
• Learn how the organization ¬lls jobs internally and how to use the
job-posting system.

The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

• Actively seek information about jobs of interest to make sure they
are jobs you would truly enjoy, and that you would have a realistic
chance of obtaining.
• Understand that you, not the organization or your manager, have the
primary responsibility for managing your career.

Organization™s Responsibilities
• Create systems, policies, and practice that facilitate professional
growth for all.
• Provide training and resources to managers to help them develop
• Conduct long-range strategic and human resource planning and
communicate future talent needs to managers and employees.
• Create and maintain a fair and ef¬cient internal job posting process.
• Provide necessary training to enhance performance and enable career

Manager™s Responsibilities
• Identify and continually reevaluate future talent needs in terms of the
work to be done.
• Assess the strengths, motivations, and developmental needs of each
employee and match them to the work to be done.
• Maintain person-job ¬t through frequent coaching, feedback, reas-
signments, or other corrective action.
• Assist employees in implementing realistic developmental goals and
action plans.

If expectations and responsibilities become unbalanced, as when em-
ployees expect the organization to create their career plans for them, or
when a manager fails to discuss career plans with a direct report, or when
senior leaders fail to approve necessary training, the system breaks down.

Best Practices for Creating Growth and Advancement
Here are the kinds of practices that serve to maintain a balanced approach
to providing employees with the growth and development opportunities
they need to stay, and stay engaged.

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Engagement Practice 23: Provide Self-Assessment Tools
and Career Self-Management Training for All Employees
Smart companies recognize that employees can have a widely ranging de-
grees of self-awareness and that many highly talented performers may not
understand, cannot articulate, and often underuse their greatest strengths.
By misunderstanding their own talents, employees may seek jobs for which
they are unsuited. They may also borrow the goals and ambitions of suc-
cessful coworkers in pursue roles incompatible with their temperaments.
They may create untold damage by becoming managers of people when
the talent to manage people is missing or of little true interest, except as a
means to getting a promotion.
Here are some of the practices in wide use by preferred employers to
increase the self-awareness and enhance the realistic goal-setting of em-

• Provide interactive software for self-directed career self-assessment
inventories through the company™s intranet.
• Offer voluntary career self-assessment and career self-management
workshops, with career self-management guide, to all employees.
• Implement a self-assessment process that places a strong emphasis on
identifying an employee™s motivated talents and abilities through the

˜˜PeopleComeFirst™™ at Lands™ End
Lands™ End has developed an online self-service career development
and learning management system for its 8,000 employees called Peo-
pleComeFirst. An employee can create a career development plan
that will be available online for reference and revision. Employees
typically meet with managers at least twice a year to work on their
development plans, which serve as guides for training and career
The company went to the online process after it found the man-
ual process dif¬cult to track. Now all information about employees™
development and training activity is kept in a central location where
both the employee and manager can access it. Lands™ End has sepa-
rated the career development planning process from the annual per-
formance review in order to place the maximum focus on the
employee™s development.5

The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

analysis of satisfying life achievements. Achievement analysis is espe-
cially empowering and con¬dence-building.
• Create a ˜˜virtual career center™™ containing self-assessment invento-
ries along with career planning software programs, career path map-
ping scenarios, position competency de¬nitions, job postings, talent
bank pro¬les, training catalogs, recommended books, professional as-
sociations, conferences, courses, articles, and other information rec-
ommended by coworkers.
• Provide tools for independent career management and planning”
career guides, individual development plans, and assessment invento-
• Challenge employees to take the initiative and schedule meetings
with their managers to discuss their assessment results and create a
new individual development plan.

Engagement Practice 24:
Offer Career Coaching Tools and Training for All Managers
Recognizing that the employee™s direct supervisor is the primary agent
for achieving employee commitment and satisfaction, more companies are
providing tools and training to managers so they will be better equipped to
ful¬ll their career coaching responsibilities.
Many companies now provide company-sponsored training with other
managers on how to conduct career conversations, respond to frequently
asked employee career questions, complete individual development plans,
and follow through with sponsoring activity or accountability initiatives.-

How to Create a Job and Revitalize a Career
Bob Taylor had been with Charles Schwab & Company for twelve
years, but was considering leaving the company. He had begun to
lose interest in his work, but before resigning, decided to talk things
over with his boss. With his boss™ go-ahead, Taylor proposed the
creation of a job that would combine his technology and business
skills”organizational troubleshooter. ˜˜The key to my staying was to
innovate my own job,™™ said Taylor, whose formal title became vice
president of the mobile trading project at Schwab™s Electronic Bro-
kerage Group. ˜˜To energize someone,™™ advised Taylor, ˜˜let them
work on what they absolutely love.™™6

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Some companies provide individual development planning forms and feed-
back tools, such as voluntary manager skill evaluations that employees
complete to give managers feedback on their employee coaching and de-
velopment skills.
To help managers better understand the process that they will be rec-
ommending to employees, progressive companies also invite all managers
to complete the employee self-assessment and career self-management
process for themselves. After all, they are employees, too, and they will be
more likely to encourage their employees to complete a process if they
have bene¬ted from it themselves.

Engagement Practice 25: Provide Readily Accessible
Information on Career Paths and Competency
Some companies understand better than others the need for employees to
know how to prepare for future jobs. After using self-assessment tools to
look within themselves at their own talents, preferences, values, and moti-
vations, employees need to look outward at career growth options within
the organization. This becomes much easier to do if the organization has
invested in the creation of career paths and competency maps for all posi-
Employees need to have access to job descriptions, listings of compe-
tencies, and educational requirements they will need to qualify for other
positions, whether these are shown on a company™s intranet via a ˜˜virtual
career center™™ or in hard copy form. Frequently, this information is made
available on the company™s Web site for outside applicants to view as well.
Some companies even interview successful employees and publish ˜˜career
path pro¬les,™™ in which they tell the stories of their own advancement, key
decisions they made, turning points, and give advice to newer employees
about how to progress within the organization. Such stories make clear to
anyone who reads them that successful employees in any company often
do not progress upward in a direct, linear path, but make lateral moves,
leave the organization and come back in higher-level jobs, and accelerate
their careers through involvement on task forces, rotational assignments,
and short-term projects.

Engagement Practice 26:
Create Alternatives to Traditional Career Ladders
If we truly value all talent for the value it brings to the organization, then
we should not penalize top technical performers by forcing them to pursue
The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

management positions as their only route to higher pay. Many companies
continue to provide only one path to higher pay”the line management
career ladder.

Four Distinct Career Patterns
Michael Driver, professor in the business school at the University of
Southern California, has conducted research showing that individuals
are more or less hard-wired to have different concepts of career suc-
cess, and that there are four distinct patterns:

1. Linear: These are people who are naturally motivated to move
up the traditional corporate career ladder. They value power
and achievement, but have been increasingly disillusioned and
frustrated in recent years by the disappearance of rungs on
career ladders in most organizations.
2. Expert: Rather than climb a career ladder, the expert wants to
become known as an authority or the best in a selected ¬eld
or craft. Experts tend to seek training and on-the-job experi-
ences that deepens their expertise.


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