Career Development and Fulfillment is for EVERYONE!

I first met Anne-Lise Gere of Gere Consulting when we were both presenters at Peninsula (VA) SHRM’s annual day long conference September, 2016

I recently had a discussion with a peer consultant, Anne-Lise Gere of Gere Consulting Associates, who frequently works with clients in a traditionally low paying industry. And this low paying industry has the same talent concerns as high powered tech firms, etc. How do they prevent high turnover and how do they keep their people motivated and growing?

What an excellent question. And after pondering this I realized that all human beings have the same need and aspiration out of their vocation. In addition to making an income to live, everyone likes to enjoy what they are doing, getting a sense of satisfaction from their work, and feeling they are growing as a person. This equally applies to someone making minimum wage in what may be considered “under-appreciated” work compared to those college educated professionals making six-figure salaries.

YES! We need to stop right there. No person should ever look down at another human being and consider someone else’s job or vocation as “menial” or “less than.” We should treat the highly specialized surgeon who may be operating on us and the person giving us our meal at a fast food restaurant with the same respect. We should equally respect a health care aide making about minimum wage, often working alone in a client’s home taking on physical and emotional challenges, as much as the CEO of a large company grappling with global commerce.

Think about this – how many of us routinely interact with corporate CEOs? Very few. We all interact with people making minimum wage several times per day. Isn’t it pleasant when these people serve us with a smile because they sincerely enjoy what they are doing and want to deliver an excellent client experience?

People working in traditionally lower paying jobs are often very critical since they are in customer and client facing roles.

Here are three important points to consider for providing skills and career development and fulfillment programs for those lower wage employees:

1) More often than not, your lower wage employees are the ones in client-facing roles. An energized satisfied employee can provide excellent service to your clients so they keep returning, whereas an unhappy employee will turn clients and customers away.

2) The cost of recruiting, replacing, onboarding and training replacements for departing experienced employees can often be up to one full year of salary. Constant employee churn is very costly and can indeed impact your bottom line. For example, in home care, consultant Anne-Lise Gere estimates it to cost at least $2,500 when a caregiver leaves within 3 months, and this does not take into account the potential churn in clients dissatisfied with losing their caregiver.

3) Some of your entry level and lower wage employees have ambition and the ability to progress into management and leadership roles. Do not discount them. When doing my career development projects for my clients, I often profile mid-level managers and even senior leaders who got their start in the company in minimum wage jobs.

Indeed there is a value proposition and strong business case for engaging all employees in skills building and career development activities.

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Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer offers consulting services in diversity and career development, including its innovative “Total Engagement Career Mapping” offering for engaging employees in meaningful company-tailored career planning.

I thank Anne-Lise Gere of Gere Consulting Associates for her valuable input and insights for this blog.

Career Road Mapping for Enterprises and Professions – Part 1

Full utilization and retention of human resources is one the most strategic areas that companies need to improve. This will include providing employees a clear picture of rewarding career paths that can be built within the corporation or within an operating unit. Can employees see career progression of current successful employees in the enterprise and then connect the dots to see how these examples apply to them? Are they then afforded the encouragement, career planning and skills building activities to grow their careers?

I have developed a unique and innovative approach of building career roadmaps within an enterprise or a profession group that will fully engage participants. The first step is to identify 20 – 30 successful professionals currently within the job area. The pool should be diverse representing a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and routes to their current positions. Participants create one page career maps that highlight their job progression and very importantly, the skills their built with their various roles. (Or I could create the maps from resumes and interviews with participants.)

The second step is for me in my consultant role to analyze and “data mine” the collected maps for 5-7 key career development themes which can be packaged and presented to employees or professionals within a job area. Overall career development concepts can then be added to the presentation to provide a foundation, concepts such as:
• The importance of each individual taking ownership of their careers and taking the time to assess their own strengths and ambitions
• Combining both short term and long term career planning
• Making job decisions analytically instead of emotionally
• The importance of engaging a good set of diverse mentors

An additional step can then be taken. All the skills developed by the road map participants over their careers can then be groups into categories, and then learning activities identified for the skill groups for professionals to add into the career development plans.

I will continue to expand on some of the concepts within this blog in future entries.