Five ways to navigate your career movement

‘We are not getting the right talent. We are struggling.’ – this was what the HR head of a multinational manufacturing company told me last month. It had me intrigued. ‘What about internal movements? Do you not have the right fit there?’, I prompted. ‘The internal talent falls short on possessing the right skills’, was the response.

This had me pondering. Almost every organisation lays emphasis and rightly so, on learning and development. Never mind that most of the learning is now online. The options to upskill are open to everyone and cuts across job profiles. It is left to the individual to select what works best and acquire a new skill. Then, why have internal movements up the ladder become scarce and rare? What can individuals do to successfully navigate their career?

#1 Take charge of your own career

Many organisations today have flat structures. This means, the move horizontally is limited and expansion across functions with new skills could be the only viable option. In such a scenario, it helps if employees can take charge of their own career and identify areas/functions which they want to switch over to. The biggest myth that employees live with is that their managers will steer this conversation. No! The ownership of your career growth lies with you. You need to take the bull by the horns, plan your move, and hold that dialogue with your manager.

#2 Pick up new ways of learning

One can learn a lot from observation. Many organisations have in place ‘shadowing’ and ‘secondment’ options that expand an employee’s experience and cultivates new learnings. Want to develop leadership skills? Then how about shadowing a leader that you admire? Request to be a silent participant in meetings of a leader whom you find inspirational and motivational. Make a note of how conversations are held and observe the practical skills that you can imbibe.

#3 Assess your own skills

Where are you on your skills rating? Do you have what it requires for the next career jump? For instance, communicators are today dealing with AI driven content. How do we up our own game here? What would you need to do to do your job better? Since communicators are storytellers, ask yourself whether you want to sharpen the human skills of emotional intelligence and critical thinking. This is the space that even HR and organisations need to consolidate and pay more attention to. Shifting the organisational culture from staying focused on degrees to laying more emphasis on skills calls for a radical shift in mindset. The rewards to this shift are plenty though. Employees who foresee this shift and work towards developing new skills will benefit the most.

#4 Invest in yourself

When was the last you invested in your own career growth? Investment is not restricted to making a down payment for a course that you have always wanted to do. It is about pursuing that program with your utmost passion. It is about having high energy levels to chase your dreams and not leaving them midway. It is about allocating time to apply the new skill you have learnt.

#5 Be grateful

It is very easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to one’s own career growth. We can be our worst critic. Hence, it is important we stay focused on what we have already achieved. Even if you are not at a level where you aspire to be, be cognizant of your achievements and laurels that have brought you to the current position and level that you are at. No education, no skill, no experience, and no expertise are ever wasted.

Winning in life ultimately hinges on how much you are focused on your growth and your own advancement.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Country Group Head CSR at Bayer - South Asia
Sarita Bahl leads the Corporate Social Responsibility function for Bayer South Asia and is also the Director – Bayer Prayas Association. Prior to this, she successfully oversaw the communications and public affairs function for Bayer South Asia. Over her three decades of professional experience, Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, public sector, trade associations, MNCs and the Not-for-profit sector. An alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Science and the Swedish Institute of Management Program, Sarita specializes in stakeholder engagement, sustainability and communications. She is passionate about animals (is mother to a female cat), books and movies.

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