Working Together to Encourage Career Growth

Amy Marcum | Insperity

Though sometimes used interchangeably, the distinction between a job and a career is significant. A job, often completed begrudgingly, is something done to make a living. But the term career inspires thoughts of progression, development and movement up the corporate ladder. It also implies a sense of longevity, with career-minded workers committing themselves to a certain industry or field over a longer period of time. It is therefore no surprise that organizations want to harness the potential of these focused and driven employees. By guiding employees along their career path, businesses can reap the rewards and see improvements in their bottom line.

Work Together

Employers can provide workers with the foundations on which to build a career, but it requires collaboration. There should be determination on both sides, making the process a two-way street. Some workers fall into the trap of believing it is the responsibility of their employer to provide them with a career. This is not something an organization can accomplish on its own though, and the onus is as much on the employee as it is on the employer. Developing a mindset focused on growth and opportunities to improve individual and business-wide performance will help employees uphold their side of the bargain.

Be Open

Employers can capitalize on workers’ drive and position, making their business the best place to grow a career by offering guidance and encouragement through good communication. Asking questions about strengths, weaknesses and interests can help management position employees where they should be. Flexibility is important, and holding discussions about goals and definitions of success can provide insights that help employees and the business improve. Outlining achievable goals can encourage and promote improved performance and a feeling of fulfillment.

Put People First

Employees who feel they have a career are more motivated and engaged, which can help improve business performance. Engagement is not a warm and fuzzy buzzword; it has measurable results and solid benefits to organizations. It is important not to lose sight of overall business goals though, and this can be a difficult balancing act. It is sometimes easier for small businesses to balance these concerns, as leaders can be more hands on with workers, but it all starts with understanding that people make businesses work. 

Foster Flexibility

People often define their own path; a winding track that twists and turns throughout their professional life. Employees look out for their best interests and focus on their strengths in order to define their careers. Organizations can help their workers by being flexible, altering roles and pre-defined job descriptions to fit employees’ knowledge and skills. Promoting agile behavior across the workplace can have long-term business benefits, too. By encouraging workers to be adaptable in a changing workplace, the impact of challenging situations, such as a material shift in the business landscape or ongoing staff problems, can be lessened. While there is a place for structure in business, promoting fluidity can help employees remain motivated and engaged, and help companies retain talent over the course of a career.  

Amy Marcum is a senior human resource specialist for Insperity, a leading provider of human resources and business performance solutions.

Photo credit: Viktoria Kurpas/