When you think about the future, what is your career plan?
Believe me, having a clear definition of the next steps in the profession has never been more important than today.
And this is especially true for those who have many personal goals to be achieved. Among them, having children, buying an apartment or traveling to Orlando, in addition to enjoying a comfortable retirement. To make these dreams come true without going through hard times, moving up professionally and earning more is essential. We know, however, that everything goes much better at work when money is not the only motivation. By nature, human beings enjoy challenges and learn new things. The career plan has to do with that too. That is, with not settling in, staying on the move. But how are entrepreneurs who founded their companies and occupy the top position in them, being responsible for important decisions? Even if they are no longer able to move up in their organizations and have no desire to return to the market as employees, it is important that they understand what a career path is. After all, in addition to the personal career plan, there is the entrepreneurial one, which concerns the careers of employees, not owners. It is a very important tool for employee motivation and, consequently, for retaining talent.
Throughout this article, we will detail all of these issues.
Among other topics, you will see:
- What is the career path?
- Why is it important to build a career plan?
- Challenges of the business career plan
- W plane
- How to make a career plan – step by step
- Career plan in large companies
- Career plan for small and medium-sized companies
- Career plan in startups
- Example of a company’s career plan.
Read to the end and find out everything about the personal and business career plan.
What is the career path?
A career plan is the definition of professional objectives and goals to be achieved by a person and also what needs to be done for them to be achieved.
The above description is for the personal career plan which, as we anticipated earlier, concerns what a worker expects from his professional future.
The business career plan is a little different.
It is a kind of guide, which allows each employee to know the paths they can take within the company where they work.
The larger the company, the more complex its organization chart – graphical representation of job hierarchies in a company – and the more useful the career plan is.
Returning to the personal plan, he must set deadlines, that is, in how many months or years the worker expects to achieve each goal of his planning.
In the case of the business plan, some companies also work with deadlines for employees to have a reference – not a goal, but a possibility.
It may happen that the deadline arrives and the objective is not achieved, or the other way around the stage is overcome before the deadline.
This will depend on a number of factors, but the main one is the professional’s ability.
In the end, the big difference between personal and business career plans is that the first concerns what the person wants for himself, and the second is what the person expects from his employees.
Why is it important to build a career path?
Focus on the present moment.
This is, without a doubt, excellent advice for a person suffering from anxiety, an evil that affects workers in all areas.
The idea is that the person, instead of torturing himself psychologically for problems that have not yet arrived, worry only about what happens now. And so, try to solve what is within your reach.
But to be successful in your professional life you need to have a balance between that thought and the ability to act today thinking about tomorrow.
That is the plan.
That’s because there are many goals that cannot be achieved overnight, but with gradual dedication over a period of time.
Imagine a person working at a Brazilian branch of an Italian multinational.
It may be that, to reach a certain management position, he needs to know how to speak Italian, right?
Therefore, you will only achieve the desired progress if one day you decide to start taking Italian classes, keeping in mind that, in the future, this knowledge will be necessary.
That’s exactly why the personal career plan is important.
Outlining a plan, it is possible to see clearly which steps must be taken to make professional goals a reality.
For companies, defining career plans for their employees is a way to retain talent and avoid high turnover.
When employees have real chances of advancing in the profession and more than that, they know exactly what they need to change jobs, they will think twice before looking for a new opportunity.
In addition, they work with much greater motivation, as they keep in mind that a job well done and personal development are the paths to ascension.
Challenges of the business career plan
The human resources sector, well known today as people management, has a great challenge: to define career plans that are really attractive to employees.
What happens is that the world has changed a lot.
The millennials (born in the 1980s through the mid-1990s) and young people entering the job market now are very different from previous generations.
Before, the goal of most workers was to get a good job and make a career at the same company.
This was synonymous with stability, a very important value.
New generations have very different ambitions.
They are attracted by experiences, not things, and are addicted to news.
Therefore, loyalty to a company is not among its customs.
The result is a high turnover in companies in all areas.
The ideal, therefore, is that the company not only thinks of remuneration and benefits as attractive in a career plan, but also in challenges, possibilities for personal growth.
The big challenge is to align the company’s expectations with the employee’s, which are increasingly difficult to meet.
Business career plans are not all the same.
After all, each company has its characteristics and needs.
One of the most used models is the Y career.
It’s like a road with a fork: there comes a time when you have to decide whether to go left or right.
In the case of the Y career plan, the choice is between moving to a managerial or specialist position.
The choice must be made because each path requires different skills, which will have to be developed and improved.
A management position involves management knowledge, as well as leadership, motivation and inspiration skills.
Perhaps it is not the ideal choice for a person with a low social profile, for example.
As for the specialist, not so much managerial and people management skills are expected, but a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge about the company’s area of operation.
An expert designer, for example, will work with a focus on innovation in creating new products, an assignment that requires specific technical skills.
In short, the specialist will be a reference in the execution of the work, due to his extensive knowledge acquired, while the manager will be responsible for coordinating work teams and other administrative functions.
The desired formations for one and the other, as you can imagine, are quite different.
The career plan in W is an alternative to Y because, with it, the employee does not have to choose only between a specialist or management position: he can have a position that encompasses a little on each side.
Whoever chooses this path can develop people management skills without losing their specialty.
That is a leader who also performs.
Because of this, this professional usually has greater potential to inspire the employees who are below him in the company’s organizational chart.
He is able to give feedback and technical instructions, contributing a lot to the growth of employees.
The career in W is very common especially in information technology (IT) companies, with the figure of the project manager.
How to build a career plan? (Step by step)
Now that you have understood what a career plan is, what is its importance and which are the two main types, it’s time to check out some tips for building one.
Personal career plan
1. Set goals: where do you want to go? What is the ultimate goal and intermediaries in the career path?
2. Set deadlines: set deadlines for achieving each goal in the plan. Be realistic so you don’t get frustrated.
3. Think about your development: remember the example of the Italian course and think about the skills that must be developed for the desired ascension. It may be technical knowledge or developments such as learning to communicate better.
4. Make a plan: Make time to develop these skills. Schedule how your free time will be used to study and follow the schedule.
5. Anticipate the necessary actions: also record the actions you think will be necessary to reach the proposed objectives. For example, enroll a project in a public notice or apply for opportunities at a company you want to work for.
6. Review the plan: You should visit the career plan from time to time to check how close or how far you are from your goals. If you decide that it is better to go the other way, you can change it without problems, as long as you are convinced of the new proposal.
Business career plan
1. Structure a clear organization chart: Even if the company has multidisciplinary teams that work together, it is important to have a clear idea of the hierarchies, which facilitates the definition of a career plan.
2. Improve communication with employees: talk to them about the possibilities and expectations of the company, but also about their aspirations.
3. Define progressions: What are the possible paths an employee can take? More than that, what criteria will the company take into account in promotions? This should all be communicated to employees.
4. Improve feedback: Learn to identify deficiencies and virtues and communicate what has been observed to employees.
5. Set goals: understand that goals are not meant to pressure the employee to achieve the proposed development, but to encourage it.
6. Give the necessary support: invest in processes that facilitate the development of employees, offering courses, coaching and mentoring.
The manager also needs to be improved in order to improve his skills in people management.
With the ideal training and knowledge, the definition of career plans and monitoring the evolution of employees becomes much easier.
Career path in large companies
Large companies usually pay well and offer many benefits to their employees.
In addition, many people dream of an opportunity in an organization of this size because of the possibility of growth.
This only increases the importance of a good career plan so that these people’s expectations are not frustrated and employees remain motivated to perform at their best.
But the career plan has another important use for large companies: it encourages the improvement of processes aimed at the development of employees.
Giving the necessary support for employees to evolve, less time and money is lost with the selection of new employees.
After all, it is much more worthwhile to train those who are already used to the organizational culture of the company.
Career path in small and medium-sized enterprises
In small and medium-sized businesses, the challenges are different.
They don’t have such a complex organization chart, and sometimes opportunities for growth are limited.
If in a large company, the chances are always arising (for promotions of superiors, dismissals and creation of new positions, for example), in smaller companies, this does not happen all the time.
But that does not mean that small and medium-sized companies do not need to establish career plans.
It is enough to see that there are evolutionary criteria in any context – knowledge and company time are usually the main ones.
There are also training courses, attendance at work, commitment to the company and others.
If the person gathers all these attributes, which manager will not want his rise in the company?
Career path in startups
One of the main characteristics of startups is the rapid growth forecast in their early years.
Thus, defining career plans is an even greater challenge.
The same goes for small and medium companies, even if they are not considered startups, which have a growth plan in the short and medium-term.
The difficulty is predicting future placements for professionals, and in a few months, the entire structure and configuration of the organization chart may change.
In this case, the idea is to be transparent and to communicate these possibilities to employees.
The manager cannot design a standard path to follow because, in a short time, it may no longer make sense.
Instead, the motivation must be precise because of the expected rapid growth, a scenario in which new opportunities always arise.
Therefore, an invitation must be made for the employee to follow the company’s growth.
Especially for the millennials generation, it’s a tempting proposition.
Example career plan
To create a career plan, make a chart that starts with your skills.
Make several lines with the main categories and subcategories. For example:
- Self-knowledge (knowledge of skills and weaknesses)
- Efficiency (time management, finishing jobs, work accuracy, achieving goals)
- Adaptability (knowing how to work under pressure, changing under new circumstances)
- Empathy (understanding what others say and caring about their feelings)
- Communication (efficiency in the transmission and understanding of messages)
- Innovation (proactivity, what brings the company back)
- Commitment (your concern with the company’s results).
Next to each subcategory, a score should be assigned, so that the strengths and those that need to evolve are mapped.
From there, the plan must have a SWOT analysis, in which it is recorded, in a table, what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the career.
Next, it’s time to list the professional goals. What are the goals you want to achieve in your career?
The next table is for setting priorities. Separate into columns according to the deadlines you set for each objective (month, three months, six months and so on, for example).
Now, a fundamental part: the action plan.
It is a table with a column for the objectives and another at the side for the actions that must be taken in order to achieve them.
Finally, get into the habit of revisiting your career plan frequently and assessing how your goals are progressing.
You can leave space to analyze the current situation and your progress, a kind of career diary.
It is interesting to assess how perspectives change over time.
The great lesson that any professional needs to understand is that the great transformations in our life do not happen by chance.
They are the result of hard work, planning and, of course, taking advantage of the opportunities that arise.
What if they come up and you’re not ready? That’s what the career plan is for.
If you are in the position of manager, think about it all too. Put yourself in the shoes of the collaborators who are below you in the hierarchy.
How can you contribute so that their motivation is always on the rise?
Develop career plans and improve the company’s internal communication.
Remember that seeking specialization in people management is the best way to count on satisfied and engaged human resources.