When individuals own their career, businesses win. In fact teams win, leaders win and individuals win. Yet when it comes to developing a career strategy, too often employees are left to their own devices to create, execute and measure the effectiveness of their own career management. Consequently businesses and individuals are often at risk of being misaligned, valuing different things and risking engagement, productivity and opportunity.

At a time when CEOs and business leaders openly acknowledge the challenge of attracting and retaining the most talented people in the marketplace, there is much merit in helping individuals see and plan for career development within their current organisation. PwC’s recent report ‘Talent Mobility 2020 and Beyond’, notes that CEOs have a focus on retaining the best people within their workforce, with two-thirds saying that it is more likely that roles will be filled by offering career progression and internal promotions in the future.

With the recent shift away from the arbitrary style of performance reviews that simply focused on past results or outcomes, there is an ever-increasing need for business leaders to engage in meaningful career-oriented discussions with their people. The risk of not doing so is high, with employee engagement, productivity, recruitment and retention, workforce planning and performance all emerging as potential hotspots.

For many managers and leaders though there still exists an enormous reluctance to engage in the necessary conversations that help people develop realistic career objectives with the organisation they work for. Misunderstandings, confused expectations, individual sensitivities, lack of trust and uncertainty about business direction are often the blockers to these conversations being had.

Developing a mutually beneficial career strategy requires an individual to have an accurate view of exactly what their value is to an organisation; and for business leaders to share information about the company’s future growth plans and how an individual’s value or ‘currency’ is regarded for future opportunities. When these conversations are held in a safe, trusted environment where there is a shared intent to support mutual growth and ambitions, true career ownership is developed.

Individuals who establish a genuine level of awareness and ownership over what their career currency is, are well positioned to identify immediate opportunities for development and leverage. It also ensures that they are well equipped to either remain in, or recover control over their career circumstances.

Given that it can rise and fall just like any other currency, it is important to firstly understand what the attributes of career currency are.

The 4 attributes of career currency are:

  • Performance: Ability, Output, Motivation, Consistency, Ambition, Attitude
  • Potential: Past and Future Learning, Growth and Development, Ambition
  • Relationships: Internal Relationships (including peers, reports and management), External Networks, Influence, Collaboration
  • EQ: Communication, Resilience, Endeavour, Behaviour

Ultimately an accurate view of career currency enables individuals to understand how their performance is regarded and what their potential opportunities and/or associated risks are.

As a result, this self-awareness will enable individuals to make more highly informed career decisions by helping them understand:

  • Where are they are at and why?
  • What are their most pressing considerations?
  • What can be done to elevate or re-establish career value?
  • How can they best maximise career options?
  • What are the longer-term implications or opportunities?