Career Well Being


The articles on emotional health during the Covid pandemic have been overwhelming. Funny that the articles about being overwhelmed are overwhelming (or maybe only funny to me). I appreciate them and believe this is one of those areas managers should have been focused on before and this is simply opening our eyes to the issue.

I was fortunate to be on a presentation by Kevin Martin of I4CP (sponsored by ELE) where he presented some fascinating data on well being. I can't do his data justice, but I got 2 main takeaways from it:

  1. When considering the well being of an employee, companies must think holistically. It isn't just mental well being, it is financial, career, etc.

  2. Career well-being is an area that L&D and HR departments should focus more heavily.

What is career well being? I still have more research to do on this, but I am starting to define it as ensuring that employees have the knowledge and skills to succeed in their job now and be prepared for success in the future.

The example that immediately came to mind was my dad. My dad worked over 40 years for the company in a blue collar role. His role changed a bit over time, but was always on the production line. Like many American factories, his was shrinking and trying to keep up with overseas competitors. Finally, he was offered early retirement and took it.

Yet, he wasn't ready to retire. He wanted to still work, it just wasn't his choice. He was fortunate enough to have enough years and at an age where he could retire, but what about those younger who may have been laid off or let go. They would have been thrust into a world they weren't ready for with few options.

Career well being is focused on ensuring this doesn't happen. Imagine if the company had focused on this and started to reskill and upskill employees? Could they have prepared them for new jobs in the company or new jobs somewhere else? This isn't something that happens near the end of the cycle, you have to be doing it all the time.

Which is why companies need to focus on career well being. Managers should be having the development and coaching conversations with employees. Part of it should be "what happens if you job doesn't exist in 5 years". As we've seen, that is totally possible. It isn't meant to scare them, it is meant to prepare them.

What things do you do, or does your company do, to focus on career well being?