Individual Career Guidance
- common language about work life
- avoiding career misdirections
- finding motivation potentials
- increasing career self-awareness
Career Culture Development
- management and employee views of strategy and organization
- subculture comparisons (units, levels, countries, age, gender, mergers, etc.)
- overcoming inconsistent and monolithic cultures
The Career Concept approach has been applied in numerous leading organizations such as Agero Business Consulting, Alfa Laval, TetraPak, Futurestep, Asea Brown Bovery (ABB Power Systems and ABB Robotics), ARCO (Atlantic Ritchfield Corp.), Atlas Copco, British National Health Service, DMB&B (advertising), Ericsson (Job and Career Center), Eli Lilly, ETS (Educational Testing Service), IMP (International Master Publishers), Johnson & Johnson, NASA, Nordbanken, Northern Telecom, Statoil, and Tetra Laval.
Individual Application Areas
By indicating the most (as well as the least) ideal and motivating career directions and length of stay in positions, the Career Concept model is an easily communicated human resource tool for developing the work lives of managers and employees through, for example:
- Post-Assessment tends to be the first application of Career Concepts where HR professionals become certified to use the model for career development activities with existing employees, such as various managers, specialists, project participants, expatriates, high-potentials, and trainees;
- Career Development Planning can also be carried out by superiors and subordinates together as part of their regular work where the Career Concepts become an effective tool that superiors can learn fast for creating a common, constructive language and individual assessments with direct organizational relevance for their discussions with their employees;
- Selection to new positions, projects, etc. can be partially based on matching the organizational needs of different Career Concepts, Motives and related competencies in certain situations and the Career Concept and Motives profile of especially internal applicants but also possible external applicants;
- Outplacement can be enhanced by the future orientation of the Career Concept model and its capacity to increase career self-awareness through avoiding possible misdirections and finding motivation potentials for the continued careers outside the organization (while outplacement consultants use it as such a tool, it can also be used by the employing organizations themselves in for cost-effective handling of larger redundancies).
Organizational Application Areas
By indicating relative strengths and weaknesses of different culture components, the organizational Career Culture part of the Career Concept model is a strategic management tool for developing the organizational performance through, for example:
- Cultural Identification of how organizational members collectively view their strategies, structures, performance appraisal and reward systems in terms of which are the leading as well as missing cultural characteristics of the organization;
- Subculture Comparison of possible differences and similarities between the cultural views of different levels, units, countries, age, gender, mergers, and so forth in order to detect the cohesiveness of the culture as well as possible areas of complementarily, misunderstanding, or conflict (Are the views of managers and employees in synch? Are there corporate culture clashes between different country, functional or acquired units? Are there age or gender gaps? etc.);
- Cultural Evaluation of how effective the strategy is, how well-functioning the structure is, how relevant the performance appraisal is, and how motivating and satisfying the reward system is in the eyes of the organizational members;
- Cultural Alignment of the strategic, structural, performance appraisal, and reward system components to support goal achievement and avoid dysfunctional inconsistencies such as offering Transitory rewards for Expert behavior in a Spiral structure pursuing a Linear strategy;
- Pluralistic Culture Development to overcome the competence and motivational limitations of monolithic (that is, one single leading concept) cultures by broadening especially the performance appraisal and reward systems to include previously missing but organizationally needed components.
Combined Career Concept and Culture Applications
There exist many human resource tools aimed at individual persons as well as many management tools aimed at organizational development, but very few that are able to deal effectively with both. The primary strength of the Career Concept model is that its underlying categories can bridge these individual and organizational sides of management. While HR professionals tend to initially focus on the individual applications, managers are typically more interested the organizational culture applications. By using them both in conjunction, HR professionals can become more strategic and managers can have greater human resource precision in their work.
In addition to all the benefits of both the separate applications above, combined Career Concept and Culture applications can also generate synergistic applications, such as:
- High-Precision Intrinsic Reward Systems can motivate managers and employees towards higher performance by matching work situations with individual Career Motives profiles and thereby making additional contributions intrinsically rewarding (that is, helping them to love their work rather than "bribing" them with additional costly pecuniary rewards);
- High-Precision Strategic Change Management can in a similar way match the individual Career Motives to the organizational issues and change efforts involved in, for instance, merger & acquisition integration, restructuring, downsizing, business process reengineering, total quality and speed management projects in order to reduce common employee resistance and facilitate implementation;
- High-Precision Culture Development goes beyond the pluralistic solution to the problems of inconsistent and monolithic cultures by not only providing a broader range of performance appraisal factors and rewards, but also emphasizing those factors and rewards that are the most relevant and motivating to different (groups of) individuals while de-emphasizing other less suitable factors and rewards;
- Future application developments include a Career Culture Visionnaire for identifying and evaluating future ideal Career Cultures and a Career Competence 360o program for developing competence profiles for individuals, positions, and organizations.
In all, combined Career Concept and Culture applications can enhance performance by matching the strategy of the organization with both the individual career profiles and organizational culture to achieve: (a) the competence fit between strategy and people; (b) the motivational fit between people and culture; and (c) the organizational fit between strategy and culture.
Clients Using the Model
The strategic Career & Culture model has been used in many major organizations during more than 20 years of use in Europe we have customers such as Adecco, Agero Business Consulting, Alfa laval, Cardo Door, Nordea, TetraPak, European Investment Bank, Futurestep Sweden.
A number of US applications are described in the Career Pandemonium article (pages 61-64) in Academy of Management Executive (1996). They include pluralistic career awareness workshops and career mentors at NASA, Eli Lilly's career training, counseling, performance appraisal, and talent assessment geared at pluralistic alternatives to the typical Linear career, Johnson and Johnson's training, staffing, and development of special "tiger teams" for speeding up high-priority product development, and Northern Telecom's recruitment and leadership development program for crossing functional barriers and discovering the multiple career needs that young people tend to bring to the organization.
Tetra Laval Prepared Food wanted to map their corporate culture (in part to
identify possible remaining cultural clash between the merged Alfa Laval and
Tetra Pak people) as well as to develop a new career management system which
could more intrinsically motivate the employees rather than having to rely on
costly pecuniary rewards. Thus, they measured the Career Concepts and Culture of
the 80 member Swedish unit. Both developmental career self-awareness and
unrecognized motivation potentials were found among the individuals in contrast
to a more conventional culture oriented towards stable growth. While no
significant culture clash was found among the members, the culture indicated
high improvement potential of internally inconsistent components. The model and
findings were used:
- in presentations to each of the subunits with 10-15 employees to create a general understanding of the model and a common language to discuss career development;
- in subsequent individual feedback sessions with the HR manager to increase self-awareness by avoiding possible misdirections and recognizing motivation potentials;
- to broaden the organizational culture by including missing performance appraisal factors and rewards to solve the cultural inconsistencies and better match the individual motivation potentials; and
- to enhance the HRM precision by constructive discussions and considerations such as protecting the Expert employees from unwanted job rotation.
- ABB Power Systems did a combined Career Concept and Culture project in order to provide their young high potentials and their managers with a tool for career development in different directions. They selected two groups with 15-20 young high potentials, their immediate bosses and their boss in each. The findings included different motivation potentials that were communicated in individual feedback sessions after general group presentations of the model. This enabled the high potentials and their bosses to share a common language for discussing their future work lives. In addition, the Career Culture showed that the managers viewed the culture as more pluralistic (all four career categories) than did the young high potentials, who still saw it as mostly oriented towards Linear/Expert. It thus signaled that the major pluralistic T50 organizational development project (combining Transitory speed, Expert quality, Linear competitiveness, and Spiral renewal) had yet to fully reach all the way down to the young high potentials, at least according to their own eyes.
- ABB Robotics used an off-site management meeting with all their 45 managers in Sweden to introduce the Career Concept model as a dual purpose tool for individual career development planning and organizational culture analysis and high-precision development. Although the organizational Career Culture was strongly pluralistic, the only low scoring reward category was still considered to be sufficiently important to increase. This was also the first application of the new cultural evaluation version, which highlighted the importance of emphasizing especially those performance appraisal factors that are the most relevant for the career orientation of those that are being appraised. Furthermore, the meeting resulted in that all the different departments wanting to do combined Career Concepts and Culture projects for their respective employees (starting with the Marketing department in the fall of 1997) and the HR manager signing up for becoming a certified trainer of managers in career development planning.