You work in the human resource (HR) department of an electric power company in the southwestern region of the U.S. The company was founded in 1940. It has an excellent reputation as a provider of electricity, an outstanding corporate citizen, and an excellent place to work. It has been ranked among the top three employers in the community for several years.
The company’s mission is to serve customer’s needs for electric power in ways that provide exceptional value to all stakeholders including customers, shareholders, employees, and the communities in which it operates.
Its values include providing a safe work environment; ensuring fairness and respect for customers, employees, shareholders, and partners; honoring commitments to use resources wisely; providing a high quality of work life for its employees; striving for excellence; and having fun.
Given its long history, many of the company’s current employees are children and, in some cases, grandchildren of former employees. Thus, there are close family ties to the company as well as a sense of loyalty.
However, over the years, technological advancements in the power generation business have resulted in jobs being either redesigned or eliminated. For example, in the past, the company had many employees who read meters that showed the amount of electricity used by households. Meter readers traveled from house to house each month to log the information for billing purposes. Now, meters are read automatically and data are transferred to the billing department via computer. This technological advancement has eliminated the need for many employees who were required to resign, be laid off, or be retrained for other positions in the company.
The company faces a challenge as it strives to maintain its reputation as an excellent employer in the community and yet leverage advances in technology to help it increase efficiency and remain competitive.
As a member of the HR team, you have been tasked with the responsibility of drafting a plan for a career development program for the company, which will help managers effectively guide their staff in developing individual career development plans that are integrated with and support the company’s mission and values. Your report will be reviewed by senior HR managers as well as executive directors.
The HR department will have conducted a needs assessment as part of its strategic planning process to determine how the company will achieve its goals and objectives over the next 5–10 years. This assessment identifies areas where employees with new skillsets will be required as well as areas where current employees with skillsets may need to be either maintained or reduced (laid off).
As part of their annual performance appraisal, all employees will draft a personal and professional development plan on their own, which will then be discussed with their manager. This plan should cover a five-year period and be reviewed and adjusted annually. It should include both formal training programs and individual initiatives to support their personal and professional development interests.
By combining information about the company’s needs from the needs assessment and employees’ interests from the personal and professional development plans, it will be possible to develop a career planning program for the company that identifies the overlap between the company’s needs and employees’ interests and also detects gaps that could become opportunities for growth in the future. Overlapping areas indicate where the company needs skillsets and the employees want to develop them, whereas gaps indicate the areas where the company needs skillsets but there are no current employee interests in that area.
This process should help the company achieve a greater return on investment (ROI) from its training budget, thus improving the bottom line. It should also result in lower employee turnover since employees will realize that their personal and professional growth and the company’s needs are in alignment so they will be able to stay with the company and meet their personal and professional development goals.