National Career Development Month?

business succession planning career development employee engagement leadership leadership development professional development recruitment and retention strategies succession planning process Nov 01, 2022
Business Succession Planning

Right on the heels of our eighth annual LIVE2LEAD:Harrisonburg event, I noticed a social post from a large manufacturing company that we do a fair amount of work with, calling attention to “National Career Development Month.” Seeing that from quite a few organizations I’ve been employed with over the years would have definitely left me scratching my head but I’ve seen firsthand how this group has invested in developing their team members so I felt like it was worth looking into… I was a bit curious though since professional and leadership development has been our primary focus for nearly a decade yet I had never heard a single reference to an entire month being dedicated to this…

As I dug through a few links from an internet search, I found this from “Awareness Days”:

November is national career development month. Established by the National Career Development Agency the month long awareness campaign encourages career development professionals to celebrate career development. The National Career Development Association (NCDA) provides professional development, publications, standards, and advocacy to practitioners and educators who inspire and empower individuals to achieve their career and life goals.

Uh, wait a minute… Am I the only one who finds it more than a little odd that “National Career Development Month” was established by the “National Career Development Agency”? That doesn’t seem much different than a handyman declaring a “hire me to build your deck” month! But I digress…

Around the same time I saw that post, I also noticed one from my nephew (who just accepted his first position as a supervisor) that read, “Poor leadership is building a great team and doing everything in your power to hold onto control. It makes no sense to recruit the best people and tie their hands by not giving them the freedom to perform.”

I couldn’t resist and replied with this in the comments: “Make no mistake, POOR leadership will never build a great team. Some of the folks on that team may become great but they will not stick with poor leadership long enough to become a great team. Either the poor leaders will move on or the great team members will…” My point was to emphasize the importance effective leadership has on building strong teams and organizations - and this never just magically happens! But since there’s a National Career Development Month, it should all be OK…

Make no mistake here, my sarcasm isn’t meant to downplay the importance of intentional career development. In fact, we dedicate an entire lesson of our Emerging Leader Development course to providing tools for each participant to create a strategic growth plan. Further, providing opportunities for career development can play a bigger role in attracting and retaining candidates than salary! An article I found on referenced a LinkedIn Workforce Learning Report showing that “94 percent of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn.” I also found an article from citing a survey that showed “70% of the respondents indicated that job-related training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay at their job. The Millennials had the most significant results, with 87% of them citing access to professional development or career growth opportunities as being very important to their decision of whether to stay or go.”

OK Wes, where are we going with this? So glad you asked! For any organization to be successful over the long haul, there had better be some sort of business succession plan in place. And without being intentional about how career development opportunities are provided, whether there’s a month on the calendar dedicated to it or not, a smooth succession is unlikely. As we move forward here, we’ll look at different areas that need attention in order to develop an effective succession plan, who should be involved in that process, and different tools we can use to ensure our plan yields a measurable return on investment!