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In my years as an HR professional, I have heard many of my colleagues talking about how we can shape careers of people. Companies tend to hire from campuses under the huge assumption that they can shape the careers of people who they bring on board. The harsh reality however is less than 15% people stay with the company over a 10–15 year period. More than 85% people leave well before they are shaped to whatever form the HR team may have planned. Campus programs with 10–15 year objectives are a disaster. Campuses are merely a single source of a sub-optimally large talent pool that makes hiring easier. Most people hired on campus are unfit for employment and require companies to invest heavily to make them employable. I am aware that I am leading a contrarian view here and a few readers may start challenging the read already in their minds.

It may be worthwhile for HR professionals to start reviewing how they think to start with. One can’t try the same ideas and expect a different outcome when the world around us is changing so rapidly. Stoping shaping careers of people. People will always choose to be who they want to be. Haven’t you made that choice for yourself? What is needed in today’s day & age is help people re-sculpt their careers on an on-going basis, not shaping them into some so called perfect image. There isn’t any perfect image anyway. The required employment skills are changing rapidly and the demands on people is huge. Tactical skill development is a desperate need for continual survival and growth. HR teams and Organisations that are wasting their investments on so called long term career paths, may want to reconsider their approaches. When companies have no 5-year road maps and strategies for themselves, how on earth can you create 10–15 year career paths for your employees? Do you even know who you need 5-years later and what kind of skills these people should possess? The truth is that the world is changing too rapidly for you to predict what you need. Be humble to accept it.

Tactical skill development for tomorrow is the “new strategic”. First make sure your employees are relevant for today and tomorrow, rest can follow. In my view careers are built brick by brick, not as precast walls. Enabling your employees to chisel their careers gradually over a period of time, as their awareness & understanding of the world around them improves, is the way into the future. Shaping long term careers is long dead, re-sculpting careers is in.

What do you think?

Anand Bhaskar

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PGC is a boutique Management Consulting firm engaged in the business of enabling its clients to transform their Org, Culture & Capabilities.

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