"Up isn't the only way to go if you're seeking to advance your career. Lateral, or even downward, moves can be just as beneficial to achieving your career goals."
—Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni

As workplace learning and performance professionals, it is your job to help employees successfully progress into the next phase of their careers. But what is the next phase? In this volatile business climate, career development requires a new way of thinking. Career advancement doesn't always mean moving up the career ladder.

"Advancement today means moving forward and toward one's very personal definition of career success," Kaye and Giulioni explain in the feature article on page 44. "Onward and upward has been replaced by forward and toward."

It is critical that managers know how their employees define career success, what kind of work they enjoy doing, what they want to achieve, and the talents or skills they wish to leverage or elevate. With the importance of employee engagement and performance at an all-time high, teaching managers to view career development in this new way should be part of any manager or supervisor training.

As a learning professional, you have a critical role in helping managers and employees find career success. You can help employees consider other career options and routes. You can create a culture where employees own their own career development, and words of encouragement can give employees the push they need to explore new career options.

The first step to supporting employee growth is to help them define what personal success means to them. That definition is different for everyone, and it is the responsibility of learning professionals to help guide the employee toward personal success and help managers support employees in their career development—whatever that may be.

Paula Ketter
Editor, T+D
pketter@astd.org