In order to succeed in the market, companies need to ensure they provide efficient management of human resources. Companies can perform well only in such a case when all of the employees are able to realize their potential, apply their skills and make sufficient contribution to the development of the company. Career development policies are particularly important for those organizations which want to be successful in the market. However, their application in various companies can be rather controversial.
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On one hand, career development policies can be very expensive for the company because it has to hire well-known professors or consultants to give additional knowledge to its employees. Only large companies might be able to afford that, while small companies might not have enough resources for such investments. Smaller companies might thus choose to invest in other more “certain” assets than employees’ knowledge, in order to achieve the best allocation of their limited resources. However, the investments in employees’ knowledge can pay off very fast in many cases, and companies should always consider this alternative. By investing into the knowledge and skills of their employees, companies benefit greatly because employees’ productivity increases rapidly as the result of trainings. Employees become more confident and they are able to introduce many more new ideas, which will eventually bring great benefit to the company.
As an example of a company with a well-developed career development policy, it is could be valuable to examine World Bank. This large institution is well-known in the world for its great career development opportunities. The paper seeks to investigate career development policy in World Bank and identify its effectiveness.
Building blocks of career development policy is World Bank include the following ones:
The Bank annually adopts large budgets for career development of the personnel. According to the opinion of its executive, employees are the most valuable asset of the Bank, and thus their career development is number one priority. Such policy gives advantages both to every individual employee of the Bank and to the organization in general because productivity increases.
It is important to mark that every employee who works full-time (or part-time, such as a consultant) at the World Bank is able to sign up for a large number of courses which he would like to take. An employee of the lower level is certainly not able to attend courses which are designed specifically for top-level management, but he is allowed to take any courses in the general list of the Bank. There might be a line for some courses because they are constantly in demand, and an employee will have to wait for a few months to get into the particular class, but he is always welcome to sign up for the class.
Orientation program is offered to any new employee in the staff, disregarding the functions which he is going to fulfill. By attending the orientation program, every employee is able to find out about the operations of the Bank, its policies and prospects of the development. Orientation program last the whole week and every employee gets acquainted with the top professionals of the Bank running its departments, and learns everything about the Bank’s operations. After going through the orientation program, an employee is able to start studying any language he is interested in, and he will be placed in a group with the knowledge level which answers his level. Every employee is able to take computer classes in software which he is not familiar with.
Further career development of the employees depends both on their desires and desires of their managers. Employees are free to choose courses according to their own interests, but from time to time they have to take certain courses because their managers consider it necessary, as the result of performance appraisal. Performance appraisal is currently one of the most important issues in human resources management, and World Bank’s managers devote considerable attention to it when it comes to career development issues. Bernardin & Klatt (1985); Hall, Posner, & Hardner (1989); Maroney & Buckley (1992); Thomas & Bretz (1994) have all devoted considerable attention to the development of theoretical models of performance appraisal.
How can a manager of World Bank’s department make a conclusion about the necessity to promote this or that employee, increase of decrease his salary, shift him to another department? How can the manager decide which employee needs special training or which can perform on the highest level without additional training? The most efficient tool in such a case is performance appraisal. If carried out correctly and on the basis of efficient methods, performance appraisal can be very helpful for the evaluation of employees’ work. “Companies that hope to succeed in today's competitive business environment must learn to identify their most capable employees for placement in key organizational appointments. To do this, managers should devote more attention to maximizing the effectiveness of performance appraisal systems.” (Mcbey 1994: 23).
On the basis of performance appraisal, World Bank’s managers usually make decisions about the necessity of certain training for certain employees. Computer skills are crucial for administrative positions; therefore, most of the employees occupying these positions are required take 2-3 day courses on PowerPoint, Lotus Notes, Excel, SAP and other learning programs. As soon as the employees become professional in these software packages, they are able to perform all of the tasks in their workplace much more efficiently.
Employees in professional positions are often required to take courses connected with their position (for example, those who participate in projects dealing with economic policy of Nigeria, are often required to take a 1-week course in the basics of economic policy) or with the languages of the department they are working at (such as Chinese language for the Asia and Pacific Department).
Managers are usually required to take courses in communications, for example, conflict solving. One of the most popular communications courses for senior level management at World Bank is “Art and Science of Strategic Communication”. This course is presented by well-known professors from Harvard and Wharton. Lecture notes of the course are prepared not only based on the course contents, but also the projects which the participants have been working on. Therefore, training is slightly different every time a new group of participants takes it. In such a way, the creators of the course do their best to make the learning program as efficient as possible for the participants.
The career development tools at World Bank also greatly depend on the type of the assignment which the employee has. There are many ways to obtain a job at the World Bank, and your career development will be greatly influenced by the nature of your entry-point. If you get a job at the Bank as a consultant, you will have a chance to participate in many learning programs, but your career potential might still be a little limited. You will have to wait until you get a more permanent position to use all of the available learning opportunities. If you get a job as an administrative assistant, you might not be able to take advantage of professional learning programs for a long while.
If your first job at the Bank is economist, or financial analyst, or communications officer, or any other professional job, you will have unlimited opportunities for career development. “For mid-career professionals, the Bank offers a variety of employment contracts, either open-ended or term, based on the business needs of specific units. Searches are undertaken internationally for jobs that require global outlook and experience and for which staff are expected to be globally mobile. Managers also hire locally when their work programs warrant it.” (Employment opportunities. Accessed on February 26, 2006 at URL: www.web.worldbank.org). However, it is usually very difficult to get a job like that from the start. The most rewarding entry-level position which one can get is a Young Professional. It opens the best horizons for career development for a young person.
Young Professional Program is one of the most challenging programs available at World Bank. It is difficult to get selected in it, but those people who get selected have literally unlimited opportunities. As the World Bank’s website mentions, “The Young Professionals Program (YPP) is a starting point for an exciting career in the World Bank. It is a great leadership opportunity in development, which offers a solid base to distinguish a path and start a career in the World Bank, gives the flexibility to work in different areas of the institution, providing an array of opportunities to learn about development work.”
The program offers the best opportunities for career development available at the Bank. Even though a Young Professional might not be familiar with operations of the Bank in the first place, all of the extensive training which he gets during two years is enough to make him into the top professional of the Bank. “Young Professionals Orientation is specially designed to familiarize YPs with the operations of the World Bank. Training in Finance is an intensive program on the fundamentals of finance. Individual training opportunities are also being offered. YPs participate in training activities organized within the World Bank as well as external seminars.” (Employment opportunities. Accessed on February 26, 2006 at URL: www.web.worldbank.org). Young Professionals are considered such valuable assets for the Bank that they get trained in every possible sphere of the Bank’s operations for them to determine what the best position for them at the Bank is. Young Professionals program has a very large budget because Young Professionals are even required to travel on various missions in order to get exposed to work in other countries during their rotation program. “Grass Roots Immersion Program enables YPs with limited exposure to poverty participate in an immersion program so they can learn from the experience. Young Professionals Discussions provide YPs with a better understanding of the policies, procedures, and business culture so they can better integrate into the institution.”
Opportunities similar to Young Professionals Program are being offered by The Junior Professionals Program for Afro-Descendants (JPPAD). It “provides young and motivated individuals with practical, on-the-job experience and training in a global development environment, while giving the Bank an opportunity to benefit from the knowledge, talent and diversity that they can bring to the institution.” People enrolled in this program also get a chance to obtain training in all of the aspects of the Bank’s activity in order to determine the most suitable positions for them at the Bank.
As a conclusion, it is important to mark that career development policy at the World Bank is very beneficial both for every particular employee and for the Bank in general. As long as the Bank allows all of the employees to participate in various kinds of learning programs, the managers can be sure that employees will stay with the Bank. Employees at the World Bank have a saying that nobody ever leaves the Bank after starting to work in it. Even if somebody leaves, he will be back very fast because he will not be able to find better opportunities elsewhere. Career development policies offered by the World Bank make every employee feel like an important part of the organization, and employees’ loyalty to the Bank is unlimited. The policy which the Bank has chosen is very efficient. It is the most favorable for employees enrolled as Young Professionals or mid-career professionals because they have the most opportunities for learning, but other employees of the Bank also have great opportunities for learning during their careers.
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