Everything you need to know about the process of career planning. Career Planning is the process of setting up career objectives and determining appropriate developmental programs to further ones progress in an organization.

Such a planning involves setting up of career objectives, and determining appropriate educational and developmental programs to improve the skills needed to achieve short and long-range career objectives. It is an on-going process to help an employee manage his or her work.

It is the process of setting up career objectives and determining appropriate developmental programs to further ones progress in an organization. Such a planning involves setting up of career objectives, and determining appropriate educational and developmental programs to improve the skills needed to achieve short and long-range career objectives. It is an on-going process to help an employee manage his or her work.

Career planning involves a series of steps. They are:- 1. Analysing Employee’s Needs and Aspirations 2. Analysing Career Opportunity 3. Matching Needs and Opportunities 4. Placement on Career Path 5. Action Plan and Periodic Review 6. Review of Career Plans.


Additionally, also learn about the process of career planning for women employees and graduate students.

Career Planning in HRM: Process, Steps and Stages

Process of Career Planning – 5 Main Stages of Career Planning

Employees join an organization to fulfill their career goals and aspirations and organizations provide opportunities to fulfill them. Where there is a mismatch between the two, employees experience dissatisfaction and withdraw from the organization to join another where such opportunity exists. It underlines the need for career planning. It helps the employees to achieve a better match between their career goals and the opportunities available in the organization.

It involves the following stages:

Stage # 1. Analysing Employee’s Needs and Aspirations:

Traditionally, career planning was considered to be the responsibility of the employee. However, employees may lack information required for determining career goals and skills to develop career plans. This leads to blocked ambition, frustration and lowered morale. Therefore, organizations themselves provide resource and support to help employees identify career path and plan accordingly.


Organizations should first analyse employee’s anchors i.e., urge to lose a particular career and aspirations. This assessment should be based on personnel inventory. Since most employees may not have a clear knowledge about career anchors and aspirations, the following method are used to spread career planning information.

Communication of Career Information:

i. Provides career related information and disseminates information about career opportunities and career path.

ii. Gives information about resources available to employees such as scholarship assistance, training, etc.


Career Counselling:

Some organizations arrange counselling for employees to help them assess their personal interest, aptitude and capabilities, and interpret their self-assessment.

Career planning workshop – Workshops are held to disseminate career planning information in order to enable the employees know what kind of work would suit them.

Reading materials – Employees are provided with reading materials and other media aimed at career planning.


Assessment programmes – A number of tests are conducted to help employees know what they should do to build their skills and what personal abilities fit in with their career path. All these methods helps employee set career goal, identify career paths and uncover specific career development activities.

Stage # 2. Analysing Career Opportunity:

Once career needs and aspirations are known, organizations have to provide career path for each position. It indicates various positions a job holder can hold over a period of time. Career path changes overtime in tune with employee’s needs and organizational requirements.

Stage # 3. Matching Needs and Opportunities:

This process consists of two steps. Organizations should identify the potential of the employee and undertake career development programmes. Performance management system is a good tool to assess strength and weakness of an employee. This tool would reveal who needs additional training and who can shoulder added burdens. Suitable development techniques like special assignments, supervisory coaching, job enrichment, under study, position rotation etc., can be applied after assessing the potential.

Stage # 4. Action Plan and Periodic Review:

The matching process would reveal skill gaps which need to be bridged through individual development efforts and organization supported efforts from time to time. Thus, this continuous appraisal reveals in which direction an employee is going and what skills are needed to face challenges. This assessment is needed for the organization to know the level of performance, goals and aspirations of employees and how far the career path is in tune with individual needs and serve the overall corporate objective

Process of Career Planning – Sequential Process: From Identifying Individual Needs and Goals to Formulating Action Plans and Performing Periodic Review

Career planning can also be termed as a process because it is carried out in a particular sequence.


The career planning process involves the following steps:

1. Identifying Individual Needs and Goals:

Refers to the reorganization of the career goals of individuals. Most individuals do not have a clear-cut idea about their career objectives, anchors, and goals. Thus, the human resource professionals of organizations must help the employees by providing as much information as possible. The career planning professionals should counsel the employees on matters such as the kind of work that suits the employees, after taking into consideration their skills, experience, and aptitude.

Such assistance is extended through workshops or seminars, where the employees are subjected to psychological testing and simulation exercises. The basic purpose of such exercises is to guide the employees in determining what they should do to build and advance their careers within an organization. Workshops and seminars may increase employees’ interest in career planning by helping them to set career goals, identify career paths, and uncover specific career development activities.

2. Analysing Career Opportunities:


Refers to the careful examination of career paths available to employees after identifying their career aspirations. Career paths show the possibilities of career progression and indicate the various positions that employees can hold in the organization over a period of time, if they perform well. Career paths change over time in tune with employees’ needs and organizational requirements.

3. Aligning Needs and Opportunities:

Refers to highlighting and aligning the gaps between the employees’ needs and the opportunities provided by the organization. The alignment of needs and opportunities consists of two steps, namely identifying the potential of employees and aligning employee needs with organizational opportunities.

The potential of employees can be accessed through performance appraisal, which reveals the need for further training for some employees After identifying the potential of employees, certain development techniques, such as special assignments, planned position rotation, supervisory coaching, job enrichment, and understudy programs, can be undertaken to upgrade their knowledge and skills.

4. Formulating Action Plans and Performing Periodic Review:

Refers to designing the actions plans and reviewing periodic performance for the career development of an individual. After initiating the preceding steps, it is necessary to review the whole career plan and its implementation.


The formulation of action plans helps the employees in determining the direction of their career paths, the changes required in their careers and the skills needed to face new and emerging organizational challenges. It is also necessary from an organizational standpoint to find out how employees are doing, what are their goals and aspirations, and whether the career paths are in tune with individual needs and serve the overall corporate objectives.

Process of Career Planning – For Employees, Women Employees and Graduating Students: With Myths

It is the process of setting up career objectives and determining appropriate developmental programs to further ones progress in an organization. Such a planning involves setting up of career objectives, and determining appropriate educational and developmental programs to improve the skills needed to achieve short and long-range career objectives. It is an on-going process to help an employee manage his or her work. Career planning involves a series of steps.

These are:

i. Knowledge of oneself- Such knowledge includes skills, likes, and dislikes preferred activities and so on.

ii. Finding out- Explaining what is available for an individual in the organization.

iii. Making Decisions- Comparing choices, opinions, and alternatives available.


iv. Taking Action- Working towards goals.

Career planning is not a one shot approach. It is an on-going process to help employees manage and adapt to their work and work environment. It is a sub-set of career management.

Basically this management involves a series of steps such as:

i. Understanding where an individual is currently

ii. Deciding where he or she wants to be

iii. Making needed changes


Of course all career plans are not made permanently. They do change as circumstances and conditions change. When plans are made some degree of flexibility is built into them to accommodate the changes in conditions. How individuals manage their future within an organization from the company’s point of view, and how employee careers are structured to assure their stay and progress in the company come under the purview of career planning.

In recent years, many organizations in various industries are giving importance to what is known as, Succession Planning, a new name for Career Planning. A number of research studies have been carried out to identify the methods of retaining talented employees or people with high potential to meet business needs and changing environmental conditions. In 2007, Canadian Pacific Railway Company launched “Career Tracks”, an innovative career development method with a development of competency assessment to help employees develop their skills that will allow them to achieve their performance objectives.

Marshall Goldsmith suggests four types of efficient succession planning.

These are:

1. Change the name of the process from Succession Planning to Succession Development

2. Measure outcomes, not process


3. Keep it simple

4. Stay realistic

In setting up your career plans the best advice is to be flexible but don’t be influenced yourself by the crowd. In other words be flexible but not too rigid. As things, circumstances and environmental conditions change, one must be prepared to make necessary adjustments accordingly. Career involves a series of decisions, continually adding new inputs and information since conditions do change.

There are certain myths when it comes to making career plans and decisions. Some of these myths are:

1. Determining your career choice is the first choice

No, it is not really true


Start with your Education and thus create a base.

2. Your career plans once made cannot be changed

No, it is not true

The direction of your plans can be changed due to be changing conditions.

Career plans start with the self-assessment based on the information you have which are mostly educational accomplishments, activities, experiences, and other achievements in various areas.

Based on your strengths, the individual explores career choices, and then comes placement, if you are a fresh candidate and upward movement for an existing employee. Since women are new entrants to career planning, let us see how career progression makes a difference in their work life. Of course, they don’t get extra help but fairness is extended to them.

a. Career Planning for Women Employees:


For a very long time, in industry and business, women were employed only for lower level jobs in the organizations. In banks, women were usually being seen at the counters and in retail establishments, looking after the sales floors and merchandising areas of the store. In hospitals, at the most one can get to be a nursing supervisor or training manager. Their roles are mostly confined to window-dressing and being secretaries among other jobs in the lower hierarchy of the organization.

After passing legislation favourable to women in many countries, a number of managerial and other professional jobs were opened up for them. Some progressive companies such as. Hewlett-Packard, Pepsi, and ICICI Bank, elevated women to the Chief Executive positions in their organizations. In fact, they met up to the expectations of the Boards, Employees, and the customers of their respective companies.

Some theorists believe that women may have an enormous advantage over men in future management situations. Since a good framework has been established among women at all levels of management, there is a scope as well as hope that career path will be opened up for more women to move up in the hierarchy? Thanks for the new and emerging legislative measures undertaken in many countries across the Globe, including India.

The challenge is not just to recruit them for various levels of organizational hierarchy but to design a career path and engage actively in career planning activities with a positive approach. The prospect of women being in higher levels of management has changed in a decade but not to an appreciable extent.

The following are some steps companies can take to provide more opportunities for women to move into higher levels of managerial hierarchy:

1. Make sure that women employees know the strategic goals of the company.

2. Women professionals have a clear understanding of career plans.

3. Teach, train, and develop them how to manage their time.

4. Provide them with good and open-minded mentors.

5. Arrange career seminars and discussions for potential women.

6. Enhance their community involvement and

7. Encourage them to be proactive in building their skills.

As more and more women come into the work force, not all solutions are solved; rather the situation has created new problems for the employees, companies and the society at large, especially where it involves dual-career couples. Many companies are trying to cope with these emerging situations with some innovative and productive approaches by providing various kinds of activities to the younger children. Time will tell whether such activities provide permanent solutions or postpone the existing problems.

b. Career Planning for Graduating Students:

One may wonder whether there are any such models for those who are about to graduate from colleges and universities and other educational institutions, and planning to enter work organizations. A few models and ideas have been developed by educational institutions, academics, and consulting agencies.

Let us look at the career planning model developed by Internship Career Center at the University of California in Davis, California. The six step model is designed to help an individual to make career decisions not only as one begins his or her career search but also throughout ones lifelong career path.

Let us look at these steps:

Step—I – Self-Exploration- Examine who you are where you are and what you like to do; identify your values, interests, and skills. Describe your personality.

Step—II – World of work Research- Examine the world you want to work in and to find a career that meets your needs. Job tide, job market trends, employers, work environments, informational interviews, asking people who are currently employed may help.

Step—III – Experiential Education-Try to work as an intern or volunteer. Part-time jobs or serving and learning where you can apply academic work.

Step—IV – Decision making-Prioritize your career needs, Determine goals, Set objectives, Create an action, and plan Do reality testing (apply).

Step—V – Job Search-Once narrow the focus and set goals, prepare resume and cover better Attend on-campus interviews apply through job-links.

Step—VI – Career Management-Ready to start your new job actively planning and managing your career will help to be on track and lead you in the right direction you want to go.

Try to be realistic about your expectations. Over-expectations may lead you to disappointments and discouragements. You have to earn the promotions and not to engage in politicking. Qualities such as, being conscientious, punctuality, professionalism and sense of responsibility are preferred. Be a team player. Participate in professional associations, clubs and meetings. Maintain high ethical standards.

What kinds of career opportunities are available for an MBA degree? Of course it can open up the door for a number of job opportunities ranging from a senior manager in some banks to opening own enterprise.

The following list suggests a few areas generally MBA students go into:

i. Manager or Senior Manager in some business organization

ii. Investment banker

iii. Consultant – Business, Investment,

iv. Analyst – Banking, marketing, finance

v. Entrepreneur -Start or join business operated by parents

Process of Career Planning – 3 Main Steps in Creating a Career Goal: With Guidelines

From an individual’s point of view there is a number of different things that can happen in career planning. You will be able to get an understanding of what the career you are considering has to offer. Or, if you are unsure of what you would like to learn and do, you can take a wide variety of testing solutions that will help you to determine what you are interested in as well as careers that you are talented for.

You will also find that in some college level classes of career planning you will be able to learn about many different careers and test your hand at what they have to offer you. This is an excellent way to see what’s out there. If you are a college student and planning to have a great career, you will need to develop tangible career goals, which will enable you to reach your coveted career position.

But if someone asks you about your career goals, do you have a concrete answer for that tricky question? Most of us have a tough time answering this dicey question. When you have a right career goal and a clear cut action plan to achieve those goals, you are probably on your way to a career success.

How easy is to develop a career goal? With right attitude and mind, anyone can create a career goal for future success in life. Choosing your preferred career is a dynamic decision, which is a continuously ongoing process, demanding your dedication and attention.

You may also need to apply your knowledge of self, academic interest, professional acumen, financial obligations and physical requirements. It also demands your power to apply some tricky logistical techniques and work ethics to reach some sort of career goals.

The three steps in creating a career goal are:

1. Test, examine and identify all those personal values before arriving at a career goal. Check out for any loopholes and deficiencies in your understanding of the real situation. Be specific to define any problems or potential obstacles to reach the goal. Never deceive yourself by deducing wrong or improper conclusions.

2. Assign, identify, pool and use correct information; wrong information may create havoc at a later date. Thus you may need to accumulate only relevant and rational data and information while choosing your career goals.

3. Develop, understand and use an effective action strategy for transforming all those information in to action. This step is almost like the heart of your career goal setting, as you will consider all practical aspects of career goal setting.

Once you have prepared these guidelines, you will plunge into creating a concrete action plan to achieve your goals.

The following guidelines will help you to create a fool-proof action plan:

1. State the problem and its objectives in clear terms.

2. Define your goal in your own words.

3. Prepare a temporary action plan containing every essential step.

4. Get ready with several alternatives and choices.

5. Now develop a solid final action plan to achieve your career goals. Be prepared to change the plan midway to suit to any changing conditions.

6. Set up midterm appraisal studies to check any deviations

7. Replace old decisions with new, more practical decisions.

When you are through the college, create excellent resume and credential reports to provide them to your future employers. If you are not interested in a job and if you want to set up your own business, get ready for the action as a final plunge to chase that elusive career goal.

Career planning is important because it allows you to be able to get a good idea of what you would like to do with your life. Counsellors and teachers can help you to find the answers that you need to your questions and give you options to consider. Career planning can help anyone, at anytime in their lives to find solutions to their needs. Beyond being able to help you plan for the classes you will take, career planning can help you to begin your future.

Process of Career Planning – For an Individual: Step by Step Process – Self-Assessment, Goal Setting, Career Options, Plan of Action and Catch Hold of Opportunities

The systematic process by which one selects career goals and the path to these goals is called as career planning. From the organisation’s viewpoint, career planning means helping the employees to plan their career in terms of their capabilities within the context of organisation’s needs.

It requires discovery, development, planned employment and re-employment of talents. It comprises designing an organisational system of career movement and growth opportunities for employees from the employment stage to the retirement stage.

The individuals who can fill planned future positions are identified and prepared to take up these positions. It is a managerial technique for mapping out the entire career of young employees.

A career planning process involves the following steps:

Process # 1. Self-Assessment:

The first and foremost step in career planning is to know and assess yourself. You need to collect information about yourself while deciding about a particular career option. You must analyze your interests, abilities, aptitudes, desired lifestyle, and personal traits and then study the relationship between the career opted for and self.

Process # 2. Goal Setting:

Set your goals according to your academic qualification, work experience, priorities and expectations in life. Once your goal is identified, then you determine the feasible ways and objectives how to realize it.

Process # 3. Academic/Career Options:

Narrow your general occupational direction to a particular one by an informatory decision making process. Analyze the career option by keeping in mind your present educational qualifications and what more academic degrees you need to acquire for it.

Process # 4. Plan of Action:

Recognize those industries and particular companies where you want to get into. Make the plan a detailed one so that you can determine for how many years you are going to work in a company in order to achieve maximum success, and then switch to another. Decide where you would like to see yourself after five years and in which position.

Process # 5. Catch Hold of Opportunities:

Opportunity comes but once. So, whenever you get any opportunity to prove yourself and get into your desired career, try to convert it in every way for suiting your purpose. Remember, a successful professional is also quite opportunistic in his moves, examining every opening to turn to his favour.

Process of Career Planning – 5 Main Stages: Exploration, Establishment, Mid Career, Late Career and Decline Stage

Career planning is the life-long process a person goes through to learn about himself (his purpose, personality, interests, skills and talents) develop a self-concept, learn about careers, and work situations and then make a career choice based on information gathered while developing coping and social skills.

It involves designing an organizational system of career movement and growth opportunities for employees from the employment stage to the retirement stage. It is in fact a managerial technique for mapping out the entire career of young employees.

The major focus of career planning is on assisting the employees achieve a better match between personal goals and the opportunities that are available in the organization. It also includes the skills a person employs in finding and keeping the job that is right for him or her.

The major focus of career planning should be on matching personal goals and opportunities that are realistically available. A term worth defining is “Career Path”. A Career path is a flexible line of movement through which an employee may move during employment with an organization.

A career includes many positions, stages and transitions just as a person’s life does.

The various stages are as follows:

i. Exploration Stage:

This stage starts after completion of formal or professional education from a college or university and involves the transition period from academics to work life. Generally this stage covers the mid-twenties of an individual’s life. The candidate explores relevant opportunities for a job either with the help of his/her institutions help or those from a job consultant.

ii. Establishment Stage:

This stage begins when one individual gets his/her first job. The establishment stage is more of a preparation or learning stage, where an individual accumulates experiences and learnings from his/her employer, colleagues, customers etc. Although this stage might be characterized by committing mistakes; yet it forms an integral part of the learning process of the candidate.

iii. Mid Career:

This is the stage which spans from the early or mid-30s to the 50s of an individual’s age. This stage may be characterized either by steady and improved performance or may exhibit declining performance. In case the organization or the peer or support groups provide counsel, help or additional training and development-the performance may also increase leading the candidate back on his/her career track.

iv. Late Career:

Late career can be described as a maturity stage of one’s career, where an individual is characterized for attaining a relatively good position and status in the organization where he/she is being employed. The individual at this stage takes up the role of an elder statesperson.

v. Decline Stage:

In this the individual prepares himself/herself for retirement.

Process of Career Planning – Steps Involved

The steps in career planning are as follows:

1. Preparation of Personnel Inventory – status, duties, qualifications, age, aptitude, ability and acceptability (surplus or shortage). HR planning forms the strong foundation of this stage.

2. Identifying Career Needs – (HR Manager may assist) – This stage involves identifying individual career needs and assessing the potential of the candidates so as to utilize the same for identifying areas of development and growth.

3. Identifying career opportunities in terms of responsibilities and positions within the organization based on individual talents and capabilities.

4. Matching of Employee’s Aspirations with Career Opportunities

5. Formulating and Implementing Career Planning Strategies-

i. Changes in the career systems by creating new career paths

ii. Changing employee needs and aspirations – to help scale down unrealistic goals and/or creating new aspirations

iii. Seeking new basis of integration through problem solving, negotiations and compromise

iv. Training and development to meet individual and organizational needs

6. Reviewing Career Plans

Process of Career Planning and Development  Steps Involved in Establishing a Career Development System: With Policies

The various steps included in career planning and development are as follows:

1. Analysing the skills, aptitudes, knowledge, competence and so on of the employee.

2. Identifying and analysing the career opportunities available in the organisation as well as out­side the organisation.

3. Analysing career demands such as skill, knowledge and competence.

4. Relating specific jobs to different careers.

5. Working out both short-term and long-term goals.

6. Working out career strategies in the area of change or adjustment.

7. Preparing action plan and acquiring resources.

8. Executing the action plan.

Steps and Policies in Establishing a Career Development System:

A brief description of the steps and tasks involved in establishing a career development system and for which companies formulate policies is as follows:

1. Needs:

To start with, an attempt is made to define the existing system and establish roles and responsibilities of all the employees including managerial personnel as also of the organisa­tion. Then needs are worked out and target groups are identified. It is also found out that whether the company’s policies to support career development programme are assessed. The philosophy of the career development programme is established. Thereafter, criteria of success are established.

2. Vision:

The company then establishes the vision and objectives of the career development programme and designs interventions for itself as well as for employees and managers. The company then organises and makes the career information available, which is needed to sup­port the programme.

3. Action Plan:

An action plan is formulated so as to achieve the vision. Resources and compe­tencies available are assessed. An advisory group is also constituted and involved in various activities such as designing the programme, implementation, evaluation and monitoring. The company which believes in career development programme is supposed to have a policy of supporting the programme.

4. Results:

The next step is to integrate the career development programme with the ongoing employee training and development programmes of the organisation. The programme is evaluated and redesigned, if necessary. Future trends and directions for the programme are examined.

Process of Career Planning – 5 Step Process: With their Functions

Career planning is a process of human resource development. It is not an end in itself. Being a process, career planning involves certain steps.

The functions involved in each of these steps are as under:

Process # 1. Identification of Individual Needs and Aspirations:

Generally an individual joins an organisation as an employee with the aim to satisfy his own needs and fulfill his aspirations. From the individual side, generally, personalising process works with a much greater force. The personalising process is defined as the process through which an individual actualises himself by making the organisation as its agent.

In this context the term actualise means to fulfill the goals of life, that is, fulfilling needs and aspirations these may be expressed in many forms, such as earning more money, achieving status viewed highly by the society, challenging jobs, higher responsibility, career progression and so on.

Career planning is meant for an individual that should aim at providing such a satisfaction. Therefore, identification of these needs and aspirations may be taken as a starting point from the view of an individual.

Process # 2. Identification of Organisational Needs and Opportunities:

While going through career planning process, the organisation is concerned with own needs and the opportunities that it can provide to individual employees. In case an organisation makes preparation of its long term human resource plan, it will come to know what kind of opportunities it can provide to employees.

Therefore, the organisation may not be in a position to provide career desired and demanded by every individual in the organisation. This phenomenon maybe causing frustration to both the organisation and individuals.

However, much of its frustrating impact can be reduced at the stage of employee recruitment and selection where emphasis can be placed on matching between individual needs and aspirations and organisational needs and opportunities. The nature of organisational jobs are changing rapidly in which people have to match jobs with their multi-skilling rather than matching jobs with individuals.

Process # 3. Assessing Individual Strengths and Weaknesses:

It is necessary to assess his strengths and weaknesses before finalising the career plan for an individual and placing him on career path, strengths and weaknesses. Every individual has certain strengths and weaknesses. Specific feature of strength helps him in achieving his life’s goals (in the context of work-life, career goals).

On the contrary to it the feature of weakness produces hindrance in achieving life’s goals. While making assessment of strengths, it should be remembered that strengths are not fixed features. Instead they go on changing over the period of time because of continuous learning. Hence the assessment of strength should be made both in terms of present and potential.

Process # 4. Placement on Career Path:

A career path is the logical possible sequence of positions that an individual can hold on the basis of his performance in the organisation. Career path consists of two important elements line and ladder. Line is the field of specialty in which an individual placed like production, marketing, finance, human resource, etc.

Within each line, there are various positions arranged in hierarchical order. Placing an individual on a career path indicates how the individual will progress to those positions. This placing is essentially determined by the alignment of individual needs, his strengths and weaknesses and organisational opportunities.

Process # 5. Review of Career Plans:

Career plans that emerge out of career planning exercise, have long term orientation. A career plan is developed on the basis of assumptions about how the environment relevant to human resource management will behave in future. However, whatever the techniques for forecasting HRM environment are set to use such a forecast may not always match with the actual environmental happenings. Consequently, the career plans may be disturbed.

As such, Review enables the employees to know in which direction the organisation is moving, what changes are likely to take place and what sort of skills are needed to adapt to the organisational needs. So, there must be in-built system of reviewing the career plans periodically in the career planning itself.

A periodic review of career plans is essential for knowing whether the career plans are contributing to the effective utilization of human resources by matching employee needs and job needs.