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Career Development - Proctored or Self Managed - which is better?

Defining Career Architectures

Perhaps just like everything is ‘designed’ today, there is an expectation for employees to have customized career road maps fashionably called ‘career architectures’. As we can well understand, it is a daunting task for any organization to visualize and satisfy everyone’s career aspirations.

Organizations are waking up today to re-focusing their learning & development and competency measurement through a formal well defined path and a whole range of options – e-learning, virtual classrooms, corporate universities, fellowships, academies, study and re-skilling sabbaticals, certifications, development centers, labs are just some of the options and milestones to career progression.

How seriously do employees buy in to this and have a serious learning orientation and commitment? Read on to learn more…

What about the ROI and outcomes of learning?

The question always asked by executive sponsors is about the ROI and outcomes considering the enormous cost of training and career development – companies often tend to stop at technical skilling and assume that soft skills and other behavioral skills can be learnt by the individual who either is given that feedback or has the personal motivation to genuinely work on it.

Very few organizations today even speak about their leadership curriculum which is based on a foundation of a wide spectrum of behavioral and attitudinal aspects. So, bottom-line if the ROI cannot be clearly amplified, most training calendars end up being either skimpy or unattended as training and re-skilling are mostly considered as sessions for people with skill gaps. Sometimes the curriculum is just not relevant any more.

What are the learning options?

Some of the organizations have adopted quickly to modern learning tools and methods to work around unpredictable work schedules, virtually displaced /constantly travelling staff and teams and frequent organizational change. If the career window is not mapped clearly, learning is hazy and fuzzy and not really aligned to facilitating career progression.

Career progressions often define learning priorities and some organizations have created flexi-learning paths using a combination of learning resources. In some of our projects, we have done interesting work with tools and methods like Social CRM, Mentoring and Coaching to augment and reinforce learning commitment and make the learning journey flexible, accessible and painless.

Proctored vs. Self-Managed learning – what is more credible?

However, the question of the credibility of the output still remains and this is where Proctored and Self-Managed learning become obvious choices. Proctored learning can be done in two ways – through external and internal certification and fellowships to create tollgates for continuous assessment while Self-learning tools can always be coupled with assessment and development centers and still monitored and managed.

The same career architecture therefore, can offer a choice of learning pathways and ensure that learners can leverage either as per their time, space and convenience. However, this needs a lot of clarity on career progression policies, process and clear structural alignment of job families.

So, what is the verdict?

Well, the whole endgame is about learning orientation of individuals. In a recent survey we carried out on Life Skills, we were very surprised at the importance that people gave to their personal development so I guess it all boils down to how the leadership defines a learning oriented culture, true mentorship to pass on the baton in a timely manner (too many seat warmers!) and ensure that people do commit a minimum number of professional hours to learning and testing their skills with a formal process. The biggest challenge – who pays for it all of this? We believe that this is a joint responsibility of the company and the individual and both should have adequate budgets.

The good part though is that even if the organization is not ready, there are a lot of players available to equip people professionally and most of it is well designed and proctored so maybe that is a more predictable way ahead for now – I guess Mark Twain was right when he said “ Never let school interfere with your education”.

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