Key Learning Points:
- The business environment is ever-changing;
- Individual-organisational collaboration during the career planning process proves essential to ensure mutual benefit;
- The key to successful career planning involves extensive self-assessment and self-exploration.
The current business environment is influenced by various factors of which the most influential factors can be seen as the economy, technology and perhaps society itself. This results in the current business environment being characterised as turbulent and complex with ambiguous and contradictory career signals being sent to new and existing employees. Moreover, careers are being characterised as boundaryless, where individuals reinvent their careers based on their personal changes and the changes occurring in the external environment. In essence, the current, fast-changing, business environment impacts on the management of people at work, as well as the planning and managing of individuals’ careers.
Career planning used to be understood as a life-long process starting at choosing an occupation, followed by getting a job, growing in the current job, changing careers, and retiring. Previously career planning only occurred once, whereas in the new world of work it is more likely that this might happen several times as individuals first define and then redefine themselves and their career goals. The career planning process involves certain steps, including individuals getting to know themselves, getting to know the market and industry, and representing themselves in the correct manner. The first step within this process is seen as the most important as it requires individuals to conduct a self-assessment, moreover, explore their own interests, values, skills or aptitudes, preferred environments or cultures, development needs, and personality. These are essential as it can have an impact on individuals financially, psychologically, physically, and emotionally.
The challenges emerging from these fast-changing environments have implications on an organisational, managerial, and individual level. Organisations have to shift from offering careers of secure employment to individuals, to creating opportunities in which individuals can be developed. In addition, managers have to broaden individuals’ careers by investing in them, and developing a variety of multidirectional career paths based on the flexibility of individuals and offering alternative career arrangements. From the employees’ perspective, career planning involves moving away from the traditional commitment to the organisation and moving to multiple, conditional commitments to various organisations. This may result in a true, open partnership between individuals and organisations that is based on a support system taking into account the wider context of careers and the multi-directionality of individuals’ careers.
In order to conquer the challenges mentioned above, it is necessary to provide individuals with an assessment with which they can get to know themselves in order to make the correct career choices. It is also necessary to provide individuals with a person-culture fit indicating to individuals their preferred cultures, in which they will be most effective. Lastly, it is important to assess individuals’ abilities in order to identify the jobs they will most likely be successful in. From a career planning perspective, we can assist in individuals getting to know themselves and making the correct career choices in order to be employable and have a flourishing career.