Managing employees’ careers allows for strategy execution

By Mark Huselid, Brian Becker and Richard Beatty
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/06/2005

What can HR do to directly influence the contribution to a firm’s strategy execution efforts? There are many ways, but two stand out. These concern metrics necessary to assess employee growth, especially in “A” positions, and to assess the strategic focus of the workforce in its efforts at strategy execution.

HR’s responsibilities to the broader-based workforce are to design means of enhancing careers, building competency growth models, posting systems, and doing whatever is necessary to grow workforce competencies. Generally, employees grow mostly by real work experiences. This means that individuals need to rotate through jobs, and such rotations are in the best interest not only of the firm, but also of the employee. As competencies grow, employees become more valuable to the organization, and career opportunities as well as compensation opportunities are enhanced. Growth through rotational assignments may also mean that part of the firm’s workforce philosophy should state that no employee owns a job, that the firm owns all positions and employees are expected to grow their competencies and become eligible for other positions.

Competency growth models for strategic positions gauge employee growth and contribute to the firm’s competitive advantage. HR time and effort should be devoted to the development of competency growth models. Employee growth and development is often random, as in promotion decision-making, including the movement from non-managerial to managerial jobs. Career development efforts are often not well managed and must be much more specifically focused than they have been to date. HR can play a significant role in making this occur.