So as you know, its coming up to Performance Appraisal time at my organisation and my inner nerd wants to share with you that for me, its also kinda exciting for me planning what I’d like to achieve in the next year and spending some time to think about my career.
Am I where I thought I’d be? Do I still know where I want to go? How am I going to get there?
I was thinking about this when I came across an article on twitter and found out that this week (18th-24th May) is National Career Development week.
According to their website, “National Career Development Week (NCDW) celebrates all of the careers activities held in Australia throughout the year. It is a key initiative of the Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) and is funded by the Federal Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).NCDW, through hundreds of careers events run during the year, encourages all Australians to actively engage in career development and develop the skills to manage their careers, learning, work and lives in order to get the life they love.”
The site is fantastic. It has so many resources for individuals, businesses and includes event details- you should definitely check it out.
I have to say I absolutely love the concept that they are encouraging people to take control of their career development to achieve greater happiness in life. After all, we spend so much time at work in our lives- we may as well happy. Additionally, career development is becoming even more important with the current economy and a tight job market- it’s something everyone should be thinking about.
When we talk about career development it’s important to not just consider the typical choices such as training by external providers or university courses. Up to 80% of workplace learning occurs through informal means (Cross, J. 2007. Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural pathways that Inspire Innovation and Performance) so this is an area where organisations should be encouraging their staff to think about when they are drawing up their personal development plans.
If your organisation promotes a wider range of activities under your career development umbrella- you are adding value to your EVP (key touch point and engagement area for staff) and saving your organisation money.
For instance consider the learning evolves from career experiences and relationships in the workplace.
Experiences have a huge capacity for you to link what you have been taught, or what you might already know and really put it into practice. It gives you the opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t work in a real-life situation.
- Stretch experience- This could involve job enlargement, taking on new responsibilities and expanding your knowledge and skills
- Secondments and Acting Roles- keep an eye out for opportunities to step up and show what you are capable of. Stand in for a team leader/supervisor in their absence or looking out for cross-divisional, interstate or international secondments that may be available. These opportunities can also help you expand your knowledge and skills across a range of roles, in different functions.
- Project Experience- get involved in a project outside your normal role responsibilities. This will give you great exposure to people within the business that you may not ordinarily interact with, allow you to practice and refine your project management skills and get your hands dirty.
Relationships are a fantastic way to grow and develop yourself. There are many instances where you can learn from those around you- you just have to be aware when it is happening and take note of what you’ve learned!
- Feedback from your Manager- regular catch-ups with your Manager are a great indication of how you are performing and what you need to do to enhance your development. Also, remember to ask for feedback in the moment so that you learn at the time things happen.
- Peer learning- be a sponge! Soak in what you can from those around you. Does the person sitting next to you have knowledge and skills that you could be learning? Also if you are new, a buddy is a great pool of resources at your fingertips for those first few weeks in your new role.
- Comms Sessions- attending Comms sessions or road shows organized by your organization are an excellent way of keeping in touch with what is happening in the business and a channel where you can contribute thoughts and ideas. It’s also a great place to network.
- Mentors and Coaches- these people can share their insights, experience and expertise with you to assist your learning and development. They may also ask you thought-provoking questions to help you reflect upon your own performance and what you can do to improve.
- Networking and Social Groups- Extend your network by being a member of a project or social group.
In this economic climate it’s important to get creative with your development plans for 2009/2010. Remember that there are loads of things that will help you develop your career- you just need to put your thinking cap on.