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How Managers Can Support Career Development


5 tips to strengthen your team—and the organization

One of a manager’s most important roles may not appear on the job description—but goes hand in hand with getting results.

“Managers have a key role in helping employees build successful careers,” says Maria Aldana, a career counselor with the SEIU UHW-West & Joint Employer Education Fund, one of two education trusts supported by the Labor Management Partnership between Kaiser Permanente and the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions. “A great leader creates other leaders.”

Fortunately, Kaiser Permanente managers have many ways to support their employees’ development and ensure their department’s success. Here are five.

1. Have career conversations with employees.

Talks can be brief and happen anytime and anywhere during the work day, not just during annual performance evaluations. Get tips at Kaiser Permanente’s leadership and management portal (sign-in required) and at Skillsoft @ KP (sign-in required), an on-demand, mobile-ready catalog of learning resources.

“We need to keep and grow our people so they are ready for the changes in health care,” says Beth Levin, a career counselor and outreach coordinator with the Ben Hudnall Memorial Trust, which serves all members of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions outside of SEIU UHW.

2. Know what resources are available.

My HR and KP Learn have resources available for all KP employees, and the LMP website offers tips, tools and practices for individual and team development. Employees can learn about the four critical skills, explore career paths and access tuition reimbursement at kpcareerplanning.org.

The two education trusts offer courses at every level of development, many at no cost to employees, as well as career counseling, tuition assistance programs and more.

3. Work with career counselors.

Education trust career counselors can tailor training, provide one-on-one career planning and coaching, and help with skill assessments.

For example, an indexing clerk manager in Colorado told Aldana how his employees needed more computer skills to keep doing their jobs effectively. She met with employees, discussed changes in their field, informed them of available resources and developed a plan that included onsite training.

4. Schedule time for employees to take classes.

“Labor and management can come up with a schedule that works and we can offer the training,” Aldana says. “We usually can find vendors that come on site.”

5. Look for development opportunities for employees.

Managers can suggest that an employee lead a huddle, serve on a committee, or become an active unit-based team participant or health and safety champion to “gain experience, build skills and network,” Levin says.

Building such engagement can get employees excited about change and encourage them to build their skills.

“When one person is successful, it inspires and motivates other people,” says Levin.

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