Career Development Plans: Every Padawan Needs a Master

Career Development Plans

Your support of your employees’ career development is a win-win for them and you.

It lets them know they’re working for an organization that cares about their growth as much as they do. And it’s rewarding for you, too. As they learn and develop new skills, they are more valuable to your business.

Take a tip from the Jedi. The secret to career development is mentorship. Here’s why.

Qualities of a good Jedi master

A successful career development plan for your employees starts with a good mentor. Choose one with excellent communication and leadership skills, patience, and an enthusiasm for teamwork. Other qualities to look for include a solid understanding of company policies and practices and a good sense of how much involvement with a protégé is ideal (versus micromanaging).

Mentors can recommend ongoing learning and training programs that can serve employees’ career goals. They can help when a position opens that may advance team members’ careers by advising them on why it may or may not be a good fit.

Padawans learn by example

A mentor can help employees in a number of other career development efforts:

  • Identifying an employee’s long-term career goals. Many employees — especially those in the early stages of their work life — often fail to take the time to consider how they want their careers to progress over time and how to achieve long-term goals. A mentor can nudge an employee to begin thinking long term, not merely where she wants to be next year.
  • Acting as a dedicated role model. Don’t sit idly by while an employee tries to reinvent the wheel. Even if the force is strong with him, encourage him instead to emulate the behaviors and attributes of a mentor who’s already taken a similar and successful career-development path.
  • Unlocking the power of networking. Career development doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Mentors can introduce their protégés to others who can prove invaluable points of contact and perhaps become additional role models.

Mentors help guide your employees so that they can contribute more and create a stronger pipeline of talent: You’ll have more employees poised to fill vacant positions — even leadership roles— when the time comes. Hello, Jedi Council!

What are some things a good mentor should do? Let us know in the comments section.

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