Hr Aspirant
Hr Consultant

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i would be very grateful if i can get answers to these questions
1. what are the factors responsible for turnover and how can the situation be remedied
2. what is career pathing and career planning
3. what are the charcacteristic features of the categories of human resoucres managers, for instance: Id controlled, Ego controlled and Superego controlled mangers
thank you so much as you help out

From Nigeria, Ibadan
Importance of career planning

By Tan Kwang How

THE success of an organisation depends on the calibre of its human resources. It is the quality of the people that determines the continued survival and growth of the organisation. As the organisation grows, thought must be given not only to the recruitment, selection, development and retention of human resources but also for the organisation to direct its attention towards career development and succession planning.

In the past, many organisations adopted a benevolent and paternalistic attitude, assuming responsibility for the career pathing and growth of their employees. The organisation or rather the senior management would decide to what position, and at what speed employees would advance in their careers. This system could work in situations of stability or very steady growth.

The dynamic nature of business today, however, has presented problems for this system. Many organisations today have realised that they cannot take total responsibility for the career growth of their employees.

The word career may mean different things to different people and there are many ways of defining it. A career may be defined as a series of separate but related jobs that provides continuity, order and meaning to a person and are held during a person's working life. Usually, we would also expect the series of jobs to show some profession or promotion as the person gains more working experience and obtains new skills. If there are no progressions, then it would not really be a career but just a sequence of jobs.

Career development and succession planning begins with career planning. Career planning is important because the consequences of success or failure are linked closely with each individual's self-concept, identity, and satisfaction with work and life.

Career planning is a process whereby an individual employee chooses and sets his career goals and identifies the means to achieve them. The focus is to match the individual's personal preferences and goals with the opportunities that are realisticially available. This means that career planning does not necessarily concentrate only on promotion and advancement opportunities. In fact the concept of career success has changed tremendously over the years and is no more as simple as it was in the past.

The concept of career success and how a person views his career depends not only on the individual but also on many other factors. It is generally the case that people want more from their jobs than just money to survive on.

The traditional loyal organisation man of the past had a clear definition of success; work hard, never argue with the boss, and you will be rewarded with good increments. If you are lucky, there may be a vacancy to which you could be promoted. Thus the model for career success in the past was related to advancements and good salaries. If a person were to achieve the title of manager or general manager, he would have been considered a success.

People today have achieved a standard of living that places them sufficiently well-off to the point that they have the security to explore alternative models of career success and they are confronted with a variety of alternatives. Not everybody may want to be a manager. There may be some engineers, for example, who would prefer to be working on their technical problems.

What this means is that there is no single model for the concept of development and career success. Is it occupational success? Job satisfaction? Growth and development of skills? Successful movement through various life stages? The traditional concept of career development and success were easily defined in terms of occupational advancement. Today it is also recognised that from a practical stand-point, there are just not enough openings or opportunities to make promotion available for everyone.

In fact, as more organisations opt for a flat structure, the coming years will see less promotion opportunities and this will cause frustrated expectations, and more job-hopping.

Organisations will need to look for alternatives means of satisfying employees' career aspirations. Ultimately career success cannot be defined as just promotions alone, each organisation will need to define success in terms of the career programmes it creates and by the individuals in terms of their own perspectives and needs.

Organisational career planning

Although career planning is the primary responsibility of the individual, the organisation should take an active interest in an employee's career planning. From the organisation's point of view, career planning involves a deliberate attempt to maximise an employee's potential contributions. The human resource plans of the organisation will indicate its future employment needs and the related career opportunities. With career planning, the organisation will be able to develop the employees so that when the time comes, there will be adequate supply of the right types of skills and abilities needed to enable the organisation to achieve its objectives.

There are many advantages for the organisation in undertaking career planning programmes. Some of these are:

Develop promotable employees. Career planning will ensure that the organisation has a constant supply of promotable staff.

Reduce turnover. It will help increase the employees loyalty because they will feel that the organisation has a genuine interest in their development.

Encourage employees' growth and development. Employees will be motivated to grow and develop their potential abilities.

Reduce hoarding. Career planning will discourage selfish managers from hoarding their key subordinates and suppressing their growth to the point that they stop doing their best, develop negative attitudes, or leave the organisation.

Career planning will ensure that senior management will become aware of the interests, skills and qualifications of employees who would have better chances of moving upwards.

It can help the organisation prepare certain categories of employees for more important jobs and thus contribute to racial balance for the organisation.

Individual Career Planning

Individual career planning begins with self-awareness and self understanding. People should recognise and evaluate their own skills, abilities and interests before they can realistically establish any career goals and plan their activities to achieve those aims.

The process of learning more about oneself is referred to as self-assessment. A person's career is part of his life plan and self-assessment is aimed at helping the individual avoid mistakes that could affect his career or life. The fact is that many people apply for and accept any job that comes along without giving any thought to whether the job matches their interests or abilities. Thus, self-assessment will help em-ployees match their abilities and goals with the appropriate job or profession.

Of course getting to know oneself is not a one-time event. As times change and a person goes through life, his priorities will also change. Thus, self-evaluation is a continuous process and should be carried out every few years.

Many tools are available for self-assessment and the common ones are:

Strength/Weakness Balance Sheet

Likes/Dislikes Survey


Strength/Weakness Balance Sheet

This is a self-evaluation procedure that can assist the individual to become aware of his strengths and weakness. This is really the first step to self-understanding and will help the individual go for jobs that will make full use of his strengths and avoid jobs that require skills or abilities which are his weaknesses. Some of the weaknesses, when recognised, can be overcome through training or practice.

The procedure for preparing this is simple, although it does require the individual to be honest with himself. On a sheet of paper, the person draws a line down the middle. The left side is labelled Strengths and the right, Weaknesses. The person then writes down all his perceived strengths and weaknesses. Though the process is simple, the actual identification of strengths and weaknesses is sometimes rather difficult. A great deal of soul searching is required and typically it should take at least one week to complete.

In fact, if a person is very honest with himself, the first attempt may produce even more weaknesses than strengths. The person should repeat the process a couple of times. He may discover that what appeared at first as a weakness could actually be considered a strength.

This may not provide all the answers but it will definitely reveal to the person more about himself and be of great benefit to him.

Likes/Dislikes survey

This is a procedure that will help people to recognise the restrictions that they place on themselves through their likes and dislikes. Some people, for example, do not like to be confined to the office and prefer to move about mixing with other people. Obviously, such people will be better off in a job related to sales and marketing rather than purely administrative job. Similarly, some people like to travel and some do not. Even choice of location is dependent on the individual, some prefer to be in a small town or their own hometown while others prefer to work in a large city.

The survey will allow people to gain a better understanding of themselves and will help them make a choice of career which will be more suitable to their personality.


Another method of self-evaluation is to complete a self-inventory. This is an instrument which lists a person's interests and aptitudes along with work skills and abilities. Like the other two instruments described above, this is aimed at stimulating a person to think deeply about their own self.

By filling in a self-inventory honestly, a person will be able to match his or her interests and aptitudes with the opportunities available within the organisation, taking into account their own skill and abilities.

* The writer is with O.D. Management Consultants Sdn Bhd where he conducts a wide variety of management and supervisory courses on an in-house basis. This article is ex-tracted from Planning, Recruiting and Selecting Human Resources published by Federal Publications Sdn Bhd. Part two of this article will appear on Wednesday December 9, 1998.

From China
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