“Hi, my name is Tom (Dick or Harry) and I’m responsible for the development in this company…”
“Oh, so nice to meet you. Tom (Dick or Harry), can you please tell me, what are the activities you run in the area of your function?”
“Well, mostly I deal with the activities of secretarial work for the obligatory training and with the related management of interprofessional (assigned for the personnel training) funds”.
Silence and the ball of hay rolling in the background, like in western movies…
Now, everyone is free to label as he prefers his own position in the organizational chart, I dislike grammar nazis, however, I remain perplexed when the fundamental principles are being turned upside down because it’s something like to claim the use of sponge cake recipe, preparing the shortbread pastry, but to keep calling it shortbread pastry and demand that others feel the flavor. I really don’t understand the purpose.
So, I, who is quite “old”, suppose that when you talk about the organizational development you refer to (or should refer to) the complex process of management and enhancement of human capital, aimed at growth/wellbeing of organization and, surely, single individuals (without whom the organization is just an empty building in some sad place, facing the highway).
“The development activities should be able to gather all the relevant, for business management, instances that come from the organizational and economic transformations, from social and cultural changes, from individual adjustments, as well as their expectations, ambitions and projects”. – Gabriele Gabrielli
Just to use one of the millions of definitions that can be found in the literature.
If we agree with this vision on the development, clearly we find ourselves in front of at least three different fields of reasoning:
1) “Evolutionary” component is really accentuated and seems to indicate a range of choices, also training ones, not exclusively oriented to the short period or temporary operating range [and we need someone who decides, in this case, how, where, and when to direct the resources and efforts in time];
2) It’s necessary to grow not only competences, but also engagement, sense of belonging and motivation [will the training only be enough?];
3) It’s impossible to confront only the controversial concept of “career” [in this sense, does the HR function take time to decipher real expectation of employees?].
Talking about this, I find very interesting the interpretation that tends to separate the concept of “career” from “psychological success”. [Already in the 80’s, Hall mentioned it, but nowadays it has become extremely relevant].
According to this approach, technological evolution and globalization have forced management to re-evaluate and re-define jobs, working contents and criteria of professional satisfaction: to make career, traditionally meant as the growth of responsibility and retribution, on a vertical scale, has entered the stage of crisis.
Other elements of evaluation have taken over, all linked to the quality of life, to autonomy, to the possibility of moving in a flowing manner between the functions, and even more, between the companies, maintaining high level of know-how, that guarantees “engagement” and reduces the stress, that derives from insecurity of one’s own position.
“While the traditional idea of career progression emphasizes stability, hierarchy and clear definition of working positions to be taken over the time, the new conception stresses out the continuous adjustment of organizations, people and careers to the rapid change of the environment”. – De Filippi
The professional asks the modern company to be rightfully retributed and trained, but also to be put in the conditions that permit to grow according to his own, very personal conception of success.
And in this case, next to the linear career concept, at least two other typologies of professional development process are coming to life.
“The expert career concept implies the working improvement, that can’t be realized in a progression between different positions, but in the acquisition of growing competence of specific professional area”. – Costa, Gianecchini
In this case, it is evident, that the motivational incentive of an employee isn’t a power or a need to collect subordinate staff or bigger offices, but the act of being recognized inside the community as a point of reference.
“The spiral career concept implies periodical relocations of roles, activities and areas of function and the mobility ,above all, is intended in lateral sense”. – Costa, Gianecchini
This career direction is articulated in different “moments” and strongly aspired by those resources that are in need of continuous and diversified experiences to keep up the high level of engagement. The keyword is more “creativity” than freedom.
The last career direction, in term of development, is less simple to define and to manage: the transitory career concept.
Individuals who pursue this model seek independence and autonomy, dislike too structured or rigid organizations and feel good in a “consultancy” relationship, despite the fact that they exclusively and permanently deal with single entity.
We don’t talk about the “esodati” (workers made redundant but not yet old enough to receive the pension) and that work for the same company as consultants, but we refer to those professionals who’d gladly work also 12 hours a day, just to be allowed to go along with their own rhythm and modalities .
And in this way, not only strengthening the know-how, but also more sophisticated people management politics that don’t take for granted the ambitions of individual employees and their connection to the company.