One of the world’s largest and most influential banks was facing a number of challenges, such as dynamic organizational changes and the loss of valuable employees – it was necessary to implement a career advisory process. A Career Advisor would support employees in their professional development both inside and outside the organization, and the course itself would increase mobility within the company and develop employees’ competencies. This is where our collaboration began with the purpose of creating a comprehensive training program that would allow the company to achieve its goals.
While we were preparing and delivering training, we had to answer many important questions that put us on the right track:
- What are the specific goals and expectations of the program?
- Who will be selected as the Career Advisor and what competencies must they possess?
- What ethical standards will apply to the program?
- What educational materials can we use for the training?
- How are we going to measure the effectiveness of the program?
- What are the conditions and limitations applying to employees who will use the program?
- What are the expectations and goals of the participants?
- What tools and methods will future Career Advisors have access to?
- What are the goals of the HR department and what changes in the organization must be made with regard to the program?
- What rules regarding the roles of HRBP, Career Advisor and Coach are set forth in the code of ethics?
- Who is responsible for taking notes and how will they be stored – electronically or on paper?
- What procedures apply if a participant falls ill or skips a session?
- Can HRBP act as an advisor to employees while simultaneously supporting the department in which they work?
- What code of ethics can be established to ensure that employees feel safe and their privacy is protected?
The goals of our program were clear and ambitious. Based on the assumptions about the role of Career Advisor, we had developed a program that aimed to prepare participants to:
- Formulate career goals and plan activities precisely
- Identify professional predispositions and sources of motivation of employees
- Determine necessary skills, especially in the context of new roles
- Create a map of development opportunities and suggest preparatory actions
- Present career paths within the company, taking into account specific business areas
- Tailor educational methods preparing for the intended goal and new challenges
- Assist employees in making career decisions, and design individual career paths and strategies according to preferences and market needs (internal and external).
Over the course of two months, as many as thirty participants completed eight intensive modules (details below), evolving into confident Career Advisors ready to support employees and make a positive impact within their organization.
1. Classification of clients, communication styles and diagnosis of needs
The first module provided future Career Advisors with a number of key competencies, including the ability to recognize both their own communication style and that of the other party. Participants learned to classify clients in terms of career goals awareness and readiness to act. The module also covered how to conduct a first meeting to effectively diagnose the client needs.
2. Interview simulation with a client
During the second module, participants had the opportunity to practice the acquired knowledge. In groups of 2-4 people, they simulated different communication styles, playing the roles of clients, advisors and observers. These exercises developed the skills of asking open-ended questions, active listening and adapting to different client needs. This practical approach enabled them to practice appropriate behavior in different scenarios and increase effectiveness in future interactions with clients.
3. Individualized approach to clients and career management tools
The third module continued the topic of client diversity and their needs. The career management theory was discussed in depth, as well as the Parameter Bidding process, which helps clients set priorities for work and career achievements. The knowledge allowed participants to understand that clients have diverse goals and motivations, which in turn requires a tailored and personalized approach to cooperation. The module also discussed in detail the use of the Wheel of Life as a practical tool in daily work with clients.
4. Parameter Bidding and customized Wheel of Life in practice
During the fourth module, participants went through intensive hands-on training focused on the complex Parameter Bidding process. Through a series of exercises, future Career Advisors mastered to perfection the ability to prioritize career goals and bid parameters with clients. The module also focused on the practical use of the Wheel of Life in advisory work.
5. Outlining client’s brand and positioning on the job market
The fifth module focused on strategies for building a personal brand, positioning candidates on the job market, and the MAN methodology. The Personal Branding model was introduced, which outlines 8 areas key for achieving career goals. The importance of adapting communication to different channels and maintaining a consistent image was also emphasized. In the second part of the module, the discussion focused on mapping relationships in the organization according to the MAN methodology, and on “Candidate Positioning”, i.e. defining the unique client characteristics that will make them stand out in the recruitment process.
6. Personal Branding and “Candidate Positioning” in practice
The goal of the sixth module was to put the newly learned tools into practice. Participants were introduced to the “GROW” model used by Career Advisors during sessions with clients. Exercises in pairs were a key component of this module and allowed participants to learn in practice e.g. how to develop together with a client their so-called USP (unique selling proposition), and how to work with clients in each of the 8 areas of the Personal Branding model.
7. Professional ethics and conclusion
During the last module, the attention was focused on preparing future Career Advisors for effective and ethical career counseling. Professional ethics, the desired competencies of advisors and the structure of the advisory process were discussed in detail. Some time was also dedicated to summarizing the course, preparing for the exam and answering participants’ questions.
The exam consisted of two parts: written and oral. In the written part, participants answered randomly selected 30 questions – out of 40. The goal was to assess their knowledge acquired during all modules. The requirement for passing this part of the exam was to answer at least 80% of the questions correctly. The oral part consisted of diagnosing client needs in a random selection of cases. The threshold for a pass in this part was the so-called “solid B”.
Challenges encountered along the way
During the implementation of the training, we faced several key challenges that required us to be flexible and creative. Here are the main ones:
- Diversity of the level of experience and adapting materials: One of the challenges was the diverse level of experience and knowledge of the participants, which required us to adapt the content and presentation in such a way as to allow both – the more advanced and those with less experience, to derive value from the training. We had to make sure that the materials were accessible to everyone and gradually introduced the topics, so as not to discourage or bore anyone
- Participant involvement: Another important aspect was the varying participant involvement. Some showed a very proactive attitude, taking an active part in discussions and exercises, while others were more conservative and needed additional motivation to participate actively. The introduction of various interactive methods and motivational techniques was essential to maintain a high level of engagement among all participants
- Adjusting the pace of the training: We wanted to ensure that the training was neither too tedious for the more experienced participants, nor too intense for those who needed more time to understand the material. Therefore, we constantly monitored their reactions and adjusted the training plan to ensure that the pace and rhythm of the class was appropriate
- Individual challenges of the participants: Moreover, each participant faced their own challenges and had specific expectations towards the training. This required us to be flexible in our approach and effectively tailor advice and support to each person’s unique needs.
Meeting these challenges required us to have not only subject matter expertise but also empathy, and the ability to react quickly and adapt to changing situations. Overcoming these difficulties allowed us to learn lessons for future projects and, above all, to create a more comprehensive and valuable training program that benefited all participants.
Did we successfully conclude the program? Here are the statistics:
The training provided was the first step in creating a work environment favorable to employee development. The program provided future Career Advisors not only with knowledge and skills but also the confidence needed to support employees in achieving their career goals.
By helping the participants reach their objectives, the program has had a positive impact on both individuals and the organization as a whole, fostering an atmosphere of mutual success. We are keeping our fingers crossed for the continued success of the Career Center and for all the participants!
Do you want to develop the competencies necessary to effectively support others in achieving their professional goals? Do you know how valuable the knowledge of career advisory is? If so, we strongly encourage you to acquaint yourself with the program of our new postgraduate studies “Career Advisory in Practice” (PL), which was created in cooperation with Warsaw University of Technology Business School: click here!
Don’t delay it! If you feel that this unique opportunity is for you, book a slot in your calendar for the informational meeting and learn more about the details of the program and the registration process. Give yourself a chance for development that can transform your career path.
- Are you having doubts about whether this knowledge could be useful to you? Contact Anna.Mady@CareerAngels.eu who will provide you with all the information you need about development opportunities in this area.