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How to reboot your career support in 2021


This year is shaping up to be one of the toughest yet for HR teams. Several recent surveys indicate that many remote workers feel disconnected, anxious, or burned out.

On top of that, HR professionals are having to work harder to tackle more urgent challenges around restructuring, diversity initiatives, or employee engagement. In some organisations, career development programmes may slip down the agenda when there is so much to fix.

But now is not the time to demote careers from your employee offer. Instead, 2021 is a good time to refine your ongoing career development programmes so they continue to fit in with new organisational priorities.

Our recent conversations with HR leaders in client organisations indicate that many are re-appraising their career offer by addressing three challenges.

Better uptake of L&D technology

Problem: Mandatory workplace courses aside, uptake of online courses is often poor with some reporting course completion rates as low as 10%, which lockdown hasn’t helped. Third party suppliers don’t always offer content to help you promote courses internally.

Solution: Trial an online career development course, preferably one that encourages self-management, with on-demand content and supporting communications to maintain engagement. For example, our acclaimed Be Bold In Your Career 10-week course offers expert-led content, surveys, webinars and other tools – ideal for quickly engaging a cohort.

Positioning careers during a restructure

Problem: Some of the positive career support messaging to employees is harder to market internally when part of the business is at-risk of redundancy. Reorganisation can also result in declining job satisfaction, commitment and job performance for those not affected by a restructure.

Solution: Successful organisations manage to channel their employees’ anxiety by focusing on motivational factors like career development, attractive new skillsets and professional knowledge. Not everyone will appreciate this offer, so communicate your career tools sensitively. A good third-party supplier will help you with this.

Getting the most from annual reviews

Problem: Annual performance reviews can quickly become process rather than outcome-driven, with managers and employees going through the motions rather than seizing the opportunity to unlock potential or stretch talented individuals. Open-ended career development conversations don’t always align with the short-term troubleshooting demands of busy bosses.

Solution: Trial a post-performance review follow up to determine appetite for career management support. Identify an employee cohort who need attention – perhaps long-tenured employees – and open up their thinking with a career healthcheck tool such as our CareerPulse which suggests actions for how they take a proactive approach.

While 2021 will undoubtedly throw up some new surprises, there is more certainty that the pace of recovery and reinvention will be fast and furious. This is a time for more doing and less planning.

Adding one or two simple career tools is a cost-effective way of solving HR challenges in 2021 without redesigning your entire offer. In 90 days from now, you could have just completed fresh career learning for hundreds of colleagues to get them ready for new ways of working. Who says big companies can’t move fast?

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