Career Development Initiatives

Key Steps in Career Development Initiatives

A career development plan is totally different from a performance appraisal. Performance appraisals focus on your supervisor?s perception of your contributions and your developmental needs over the course of the past six months to a year.

A career development plan is future-focused and details what you as an employee would like to learn and contribute. A word of caution here, career development plans are not created in a vacuum. It is essential for employees to take into account departmental and organizational needs, objectives and goals when creating their career plans.

Personal and professional growth are important factors for keeping your career moving in a direction with which you are satisfied. Prior to setting up a meeting to discuss your plan with your manager or supervisor you will want to engage in self-assessment so that you will be able to clearly define and articulate your goals and developmental needs.

As you begin your self-assessment, keep in mind , The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.? Take some time to reflect on the following factors:

What are your motivated skills and talents? Which skills do you enjoy utilizing most? How would you like to expand your knowledge and your ability to contribute?
What specific aspects of your job, the department and the overall payroll function are the most interesting to you? What would you like to learn more about, and how will this bring more value to your department and make your boss?s life easier?
What are your work/life values, and how do your values overlap with the values and priorities of your department and your organization?
What could you do to increase your satisfaction, and decrease factors that are not sources of satisfaction? Steps to increase your satisfaction could be as simple as rearranging your office to get out of the draft caused by the heating and air conditioning system, or as complex as researching, crafting and presenting a job sharing proposal. What would make you a happier, more productive employee?
What ideas do you have for enhancing your current efficiency and effectiveness? This might include learning how to perform functions that other team members perform in case they are out of the office. Also take into account, ways you could train other team members to enhance their effectiveness and/or knowledge base.

When creating your plan, consider:
1. Results from a 360? assessment instrument which gives you feedback from not only your manager, but also from your peers, subordinates and customers
2. Your previous performance appraisals
3. Future trends which will be impacting the payroll profession and skills/knowledge needed to adapt to and thrive in the forthcoming environment
4. Customer feedback and letters of appreciation
5. What one thing more than anything else is holding you back? Work out a strategy for overcoming that roadblock/obstacle.

Develop both a short-term and a long-term career development plan. The timeframes for such plans vary from individual to individual. For some, short-term means the steps they will take over the next three to six months while for others short-term might mean completing a degree or certification that takes much longer than six months so they could reach their long-term goal of obtaining a promotion.
Your development plan is a road map for plotting your career future. Don?t leave your future to happenstance. The magic begins when you set goals. A switch is turned on, the current begins to flow, and the power to accomplish becomes yours.
career development planning is for individuals as well as the organization

Career development planning procedures are always based on what the organization needs. But they have to recognize that organizational needs will not be satisfied if individual needs are neglected. Career development planning has to be concerned with the management of diversity.

Career development plans must therefore recognize that:

1.  Members of the organization should receive recognition as individuals with unique needs, wants, and abilities;
2.  Individuals are more motivated by an organization that responds to their aspirations and needs;
3  Individuals can grow, change and seek new directions if they are given the right opportunities, encouragement and guidance.

Career development planning techniques

Career planning uses all the information generated by the succession plans, performance, and potential assessments and self-assessments to develop programs and procedures which are designed to implement career management policies, achieve succession planning objectives and generally improve motivation, commitment and performance. The procedures used are those concerned with:

Personal development planning .
Training and management development.
Career counseling

In addition, career development planning procedures may cater for the rising stars by ‘fast tracking’ them, that is, deliberately accelerating promotion and giving them opportunities to display and enlarge their talents. But these procedures should pay just as much, if not more, attention to those managers who are following the middle route of steady, albeit unspectacular, progression.

1. Career counseling

Performance management processes, should provide for counseling sessions between individuals and their managers. These sessions should give the former the opportunity to discuss their aspirations and the latter the chance to comment on them – helpfully – and, at a later stage, to put forward specific
career development proposals to be fed into the overall career management programs.

2.Personal development planning

Personal development planning is carried out by individuals with guidance, encouragement and help from their managers/HRM as required. A personal development plan sets out the actions people propose to take to learn and to develop themselves. They take responsibility for formulating and implementing the plan, but they receive support from the organization and their managers in doing so. The purpose is to provide a ‘self-organized learning framework’.

3. Management Development

Formal approaches to management development

The formal approaches to management development include:

Development on the job through coaching, counseling, monitoring and feedback by managers on a continuous basis associated with the use of performance management processes to identify and satisfy development needs, and with mentoring;

Development through work experience, which includes job rotation, job enlargement, taking part in project teams or task groups, ‘action learning’, and secondment outside the organization;

Formal training by means of internal or external courses;

Structured self-development by following self-managed learning programs agreed as a personal development plan or learning contract with the manager or a management development adviser – these may include guidance reading or the deliberate extension of knowledge or acquisition of new skills on the job.


Mentoring is the process of using specially selected and trained individuals to provide guidance and advice which will help to develop the careers of the ‘proteges’ Allocated to them.

Mentoring is aimed at complementing learning on the job, which must always be the best way of acquiring the particular skills and knowledge the job holder needs. Mentoring also complements formal training by providing those who benefit from it with individual guidance from experienced managers who are ‘wise in the ways of the organization’.

Mentors provide for the person or persons allocated to them :
advice in drawing up self-development programs or learning contracts; general help with learning programs; guidance on how to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to do a new job; advice on dealing with any administrative, technical or people problems individuals meet.

Career Development Process

.This Career Development Guide provides employees and their management with a reference document that:

Offers a general “road map” for continuing career and professional development.

Provides an understanding of the behavioral and technical competencies that are required to effectively perform tasks in their occupations, and to use for career planning.

Presents a reference document on learning and other developmental opportunities which may be used in preparation of Employee Development Plans – a component of the Employee Work Profile
What it is Career development is an ongoing process where employees:

Explore their interests and abilities
Strategically plan their career goals, and
Create their future work success by designing learning and action plans to help them achieve their goals.

Career development involves being aware of one’s personal goals and values as well as work goals. It involves continuously learning and applying new knowledge, taking advantage of opportunities, and taking risks in order to help the organization be productive and effective chieving one’s career and personal goals.

The purpose of career development is to:

Enhance each employee’s current performance
Enable individuals to take advantage of future job opportunities
Fulfill their employer’s goals for a dynamic and effective workforce.
We live in uncertain times. Factors outside of the employee and employer’s control may affect the outcome of career actions. But one thing is true – the best career development move is to perform well in one’s current position.

Consistent, high quality performance along with thoughtful career planning will help ensure continued success on the job.

Who’s responsible

The employee has the lead responsibility for his or her career development.
Supervisors, managers, and the organization can provide meaningful assistance in this process.

The following are examples of career development actions:


Decide what they want from their careers now and in the future
Take actions individually or with their supervisors to assess individual interests, strengths, and areas for development
As part of the performance management process, develop a yearly Employee Development Plan (EDP) with supervisor input, including current job development and longer term career objectives
Work with supervisor to identify on the job learning and training opportunities, continued education, and/or avenues for professional development


Identify the job-related knowledge, skills, abilities, competencies and experience that employees need to be effective in their positions
Help employees define short and long term development needs that support organizational objectives and employee career goals
Support Employee Development Plans by indicating specific steps that need to be taken and by whom to accomplish the learning goals.


Provide a job and compensation structure that supports the organization’s goals and allows for individual development and growth
Provides time and available funding for development activities
Use the knowledge, skills and abilities of each employee to support organizational objectives
Develop a proactive approach to meet future staffing needs

Employee Development Plans

The Employee Development Plan (EDP) is part of the performance management system. On an annual basis (or more frequently), supervisors and employees meet to discuss the career and personal learning goals of the employee and the organization, identify the learning steps and resources needed, and put together a plan to achieve those goals over the coming year.
An EDP should include short and long term career goals, and the training, education, and learning that is needed to achieve them.
The keys to success in developing an EDP are information, communication, joint decision- making, and willingness to learn:


Employees need to understand their own strengths, preferences and career goals as well as options for future career progression within the agency or elsewhere in state government. Creating a career development plan is a good way to keep track of this information so you are prepared to discuss your career with your supervisor. The Career Maps feature being developed for this provide a good way to understand potential career moves within the organization.
Supervisors need to understand the organization’s current staffing and performance needs, as well as the knowledge, skills, experience and competencies needed to perform in the current role and in the future.


The employee is responsible for making supervisors aware of their career and professional development goals, especially if they change.
There are rapid changes in today’s world: missions and projects begin and end; budgets go up and down, and the need for skills and abilities can change quickly. It is up to the supervisor to communicate the current and anticipated needs of the organization so that decisions can be made that are in the best interests of the organization as well as the employee.

Joint Decision-making:

Although EDPs and career development plans are unique to each employee, they do not exist alone. Employees need to consider important issues like available funding, workload, and the needs of other employees when making decisions and career plans.
Supervisors need to take employees’ goals into consideration as they consider what development initiatives to support, and how to allocate available funds within their units. Understanding employee career goals may help supervisors identify alternative development activities that meet those needs when budgets are tight.

Willingness to learn:

Gone is the time when good employees can expect to automatically move up a predefined career ladder. Employees need to be agile in finding the right jobs throughout their careers. A demonstrated willingness to continue to learn and use new skills, particularly technical skills, is critical to long-term career success.
Organizations are moving toward flatter structures, and the traditional movement “up” the career ladder is no longer the only way to achieve success. Employees need to be creative in identifying ways to move along in their career – such as lateral moves, learning or experiential opportunities or even career changes that will broaden their experience or help leverage them into a different area.
Supervisors need to stay aware of individual employees’ development needs, and make opportunities available to employees that will help them achieve their career goals and contribute to their work unit’s success.
You are Unique
There is no single career development path that is right for everyone. People have different skills, interests, values and goals – and each person’s career and individual development plans must take these differences into account.
The same is true for individual jobs . Although two jobs may have the same general role description, the mission of the organization , and the specific circumstances and environment of one job, may differ from a job with the same role name in another organization.
As you progress through the ranks, different skills and behaviors may be needed in different combinations in order to be successful. For example, as an employee progresses from entry level, to journey level to a senior or executive level, the need for increased competency in leadership, or understanding the business, will be much greater than as an entry level person in their career group.

  1. January 8, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    hey thanks a lot for this article . i was looking for the same . its really useful for me . thanks once again .

  2. Divvya Desai
    May 8, 2023 at 10:37 am

    Hey ! What a brilliant articulation on essential elements which are important to consider in career development initiatives . It has given me clarity to great extent . keep sharing

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