Goals and strategy
Many companies offer up-and-coming talent the opportunity to pursue a so-called professional career. A smart move, because in this day and age experts are needed more than ever. This article shows you how you can successfully implement this career in your company and make it attractive for employees.
The first question that companies should ask themselves if they want to enable employees to pursue a specialist career: Why do you want to offer a specialist career - and for whom? Do you want to address all employees without management responsibility? Or would you like to use the Fachlaufbahn as a binding instrument for selected top executives? In practice one differentiates here two categories:
On-top and wide models
In on-top models, companies are introducing specialist careers as a career alternative for a few specialists. The ratio of leadership to expert positions is usually 2: 1. In the case of the width models, on the other hand, the ratio is 1: 8. Companies using the latter model often view the specialist career as an organizational structuring method that encompasses all hierarchical levels. However, experience has shown that this type of specialist career is not designed to be exclusively exclusive and therefore less attractive for employees compared to the management career path. In order to achieve a commitment of specialists, this form must also be attractively designed.
1. Levels Checklist
Once the goal, type and group of people have been defined, the next step should be to clarify the value of the individual career levels. How many and which career levels will the expert's career have? The relation to the leadership career is important. A leadership career usually develops via the group / team leader, the head of department and the position of divisional director up to the managing director. The specialist career starts with the specialist, who is an expert on a similar hierarchical level as the team leader, and then develops, for example, from the senior expert to a consultant in the management.
Of course, there is no universal rule for designing a specialist career model. Decisive for the concrete arrangement are the existing and future demands on qualified personnel, which are ideally derived from the corporate strategy, market developments, technical innovations, labor market conditions and so on. The recommended value is therefore to set a clear quantity structure. You can orient yourself to the following questions:
- In which areas of the company and to what level should there be subject matter experts?
- What is the percentage of experts in relation to the total number of employees?
- How many officers are needed per level of career to successfully implement the corporate strategy?
2. Requirement profile and potential detection
In around 88 percent of German companies direct superiors nominate the candidates for a specialist career. With 70 percent, HR comes second, naming employee. Either way, the question is: how do companies recognize nominees as the ideal candidates? To identify the right people, companies most often rely on assessment centers. The crux of it: only a few subject matter experts are already at the level that the organization needs.
The real task of bosses and HR development is to identify talented employees and develop them into experts. Klüger is therefore to rely on development centers that cover a person's level of development as openly and completely as possible. On this basis you can then talk to the candidate about support measures, possible career paths and a holistic development plan.
3. Equivalence of professional career
As always, subject matter experts tend to shy away from issues such as organizational visibility, compensation, or privileges.
The equivalence of professional and managerial career practiced in everyday life is the second most important one success with the introduction of a specialist career path, as a survey by the German Association for Personnel Management (DGFP) has shown. Only corporate support is even more important. To make the professional career a real alternative to the leadership career, you should consider the following:
Attractiveness and acceptance of a specialist career stand and fall with the salary. More precisely, how much is the remuneration system adapted to that of the management career path. Monetary equivalence should be ensured. Define which career level of the management career corresponds to which level of the specialist career path. Of course, there does not have to be one-to-one comparability. Travels are allowed and realistic. "Alibi specialist careers" in which the experts do not receive the same esteem as the executives, but rather generate demotivation.
Permeability of career paths
Another criterion for success, so that it works with the introduction of a specialist career: the permeability of both career paths. Is it possible to switch between the two career branches? Not only the development from an expert to a manager, but also the change from a leadership role to an expert role should be possible.
Status, recognition and information management
Equivalence goes beyond monetary aspects. Equally important are job titles, related status symbols, reputation and recognition in the company.
To emphasize the equivalency of career paths and to give the experts the necessary recognition, it requires the active support of senior management. For example, management could communicate the appointment of new specialists at an official event - as with newly appointed executives.
4. Qualification offers and development programs
Investing in employees is most worthwhile if you develop and retain your subject matter experts in the long term. Important attachment tools are, for example, individual qualification and development opportunities. Events that are relevant to both professionals and managers can visit both groups together.
In addition, there should be an exclusive educational offer reserved for subject matter experts. Narrow the focus in programming but not on technical issues. Also offer formats that allow individual experts to work on their personal learning fields.
5. Legal framework
What many underestimate - the paperwork: When introducing a specialist career, you must also take into account legal and administrative framework conditions as well as possible effects on company agreements, contracts, etc.
In addition, involve the personnel and works council early in the development and implementation process. This supports the sustainable implementation. In addition, you have more space and time for joint discussion and opinion forming. This is the only way to gain acceptance for the new career path, from the first idea to the final introduction.
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German edition: ISBN 9783965960480
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