What Is the Difference Between Career Growth and Career Development?

By Staff Report

Dec. 3, 2012

Dear Growth or No:

There is a major distinction between the two. In fact, career growth depends on career development.

Growth is your organization’s ladder or, to use the parlance of the day, career lattice. While a ladder displays only vertical movement between jobs, a career lattice, by contrast, contains both vertical and lateral movement between jobs and may reflect more closely the career paths of employees in the modern work environment. The ladder is the somewhat dated model of career growth. The lattice is the more prevalent path today.

Career development, on the other hand, includes things employees do to enhance or develop your career. It is just as important for professionals as it is for other types of employees—perhaps even more so. Professionals need solid credentials to instill trust in customers, but also must continuously polish and improve those credentials. Also, professionals have just as much ambition to take on new responsibilities as do other employee groups. Your organization figures financially benefits (increased revenue from new clients) when your professionals become known as “go to” people. That takes development, so your organization should implement a clear program to boost its expertise and management skills.

For professionals, this can take shape in different ways, depending on the stage of their career. Consider a plan to help familiarize newly hired professionals with their teammates and organizational decision-makers. This helps them learn the culture of the organization and how to build successful working relationships with their managers. Aid them in developing a well-mapped career path, including short-term objectives that serve as milestones.

For those who’ve been employed in their professional field for some time, your organization needs to keep them from getting stuck in a rut. Sponsoring formal training tuition that advances them in their field of expertise is pretty common, but there are such things as conferences, webinars and online lectures, and opportunities for professional networking that can be part of their career development and enhancement.

A professional organization depends on the expertise and engagement of its employees to generate business. Not all your professionals will be interested in a promotion, but for those who are, your business will benefit by helping them foster the skills they’ll need.

SOURCE: Ron Thomas, director of talent and HR solutions, Buck Consultants, New York

LEARN MORE: Well-Trained Managers Can Curb Attrition

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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