Job seekers and people in entry-level jobs may have had little opportunity to consider how to build a career. Even when they see their first job as a step toward a career, they may have little understanding of what that looks like or how to actually do it. Employers building a culture of advancement need to provide employees with opportunities and tools to (1) explore their career interests and goals and (2) develop concrete and actionable plans to achieve them.
Career maps, job shadowing programs, career research tools, and individual career plans are all ways to support career exploration. These services may be provided in-house or through community-based, labor-management, or industry partnerships. Employees’ ability to see how their frontline position fits into career opportunities in healthcare can motivate them to pursue more advanced positions.
Here are some guidelines to develop a robust career exploration portfolio:
Identify career pathways for each position and include the knowledge and skills (sometimes identified as “competencies”), experiences, certifications, or degrees needed for that role.
Create a visual career map that clearly outlines the career paths within your organization. Consider layering this map with one that shows a broader array of positions across the entire healthcare sector in your region.
Develop individual workforce development plans that identify career goals, summarize previous work experience, identify current competencies, and lay out a plan to acquire the necessary education, skills, and abilities to advance to the next position.
Create opportunities for job shadowing for new hires and incumbent employees. Shadowing a high-performer of a current or aspirational position helps employees understand the day-to-day functions of a job. Maximize the experience by providing a list of relevant questions to prompt discussion about required competencies and their colleague’s career path.
Develop mentors who can provide insight on day-to-day job activities and provide encouragement to peers.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Research workforce development tools that already exist in your region and sector. For example, there may be existing career maps for healthcare or long-term care may that just need a little tailoring to meet your needs. Assessing existing tools can save time and identify resource gaps.
Organizations that show the greatest success with career exploration do the following:
Build a culture of advancement with appropriate policies and procedures that facilitate lateral and vertical transfers and promotions.
Provide career coaching and counseling that supports employees professional and career growth.
Institutionalize career exploration as part of the regular onboarding and annual review processes.
Evaluate tools and resources by soliciting feedback from users and analyze data to assess tools and identify inefficiencies or gaps.
As we commit to excellence, we strive to set the standard for providing excellent clinical care and delivering superior customer service, while recognizing and developing our employees.