“After we have started talking about the career guide and talking openly about career paths for TAP staff, I have been contacted by CBS employees who have asked me what qualifications are required for a position in HR. And that’s just great.”
The statement above was made by Anders Lauesen, Head of HR at CBS. He is one of the driving forces in developing CBS’ new career guide for technical and administrative staff (TAP), which was discussed on April 7 at the latest meeting in the General Consultation Committee.
The new career guide being compiled was prompted by responses in the 2019 job satisfaction survey. Here both scientific staff (VIP) and TAP employees slated their career opportunities at CBS, and rated the statement ‘the career opportunities are transparent at CBS’ at 2.9/5 and the statement ‘there are good possibilities for making a career at CBS’ at 3.2 out of 5.
The career guide is designed to “clarify career opportunities at CBS and make it easier to develop your career across CBS” as well as “giving inspiration for how to develop your career, including what CBS has to offer”.
“I have actually been surprised to hear and experience a sort of nervousness connected with career discussions. I don’t know whether it’s because they can be viewed as disloyal or that you can feel like a dead man walking waiting to leave for another position. The point is that it’s perfectly okay to discuss career opportunities and dreams with your immediate manager,” says Anders Lauesen.
So far, the guide comprises four chapters, which include questions that encourage employee reflection, tips for career development, CBS’ definition of types of careers and what HR offers.
Tine Silfvander, Shop Steward for the Union of Commercial and Clerical Employees in Denmark (HK), calls the guide “nothing less than fantastic”.
“It is very welcome, and I believe we will have plenty of interesting talks about what careers are, and especially that careers do not necessarily have to progress upwards. No, careers can also go sideways. They can include a new field or new position, which does not necessarily mean becoming a manager or getting a pay raise,” she says.
Tine Løvig Simonsen, Shop Steward for academic personnel (AC), is also happy about the work on the career guide.
“The career guide is an expression of Senior Management’s interest in setting up development perspectives for the employees. We are fortunate to have many employees who have been at CBS for several years, and it is crucial that these employees are seen as a valuable resource with competences and organizational experiences that we can keep developing. So when we talk about life-long learning, that also includes employees,” she says.
An informed dialogue
Anders Lauesen explains that the guide is not only for employees, but is also a tool for managers that provides inspiration and encouragement on how to talk about careers. Specifically, some of the elements of the career guide will be included in the annual appraisal meetings (MUS-samtaler).
“Sometimes managers can even guide discussions about strengths and weaknesses in relation to a specific position. At least, I hope managers will do that, and also encourage career moves for their employees,” says Anders Lauesen.
If you, as an employee, have thoughts or dreams about your career, it is CBS’ responsibility to support and discuss thisAnders Lauesen
Tine Løvig Simonsen explains that in order to start a meaningful dialogue about careers, it is crucial that employees know what kind of opportunities they have and that positions are described in detail.
Therefore, she wants work on the guide to encompass detailed descriptions of the various positions, including what it takes to be a head clerk or a chief consultant with no employee responsibility.
“You cannot talk about careers if the career paths and positions are not described in detail, because then you simply don’t know what you are talking about, and that can stop the conversation even getting off the ground,” she says.
Anders Lauesen says that this is exactly what CBS needs to offer.
“We must clarify what qualifications are required for specific positions, as well as describing what different groups of employees work with,” he says.
Careers are a shared responsibility
One topic that has been debated in the working group is responsibility. Who is responsible for making sure that employees experience a flow in their careers? Does the responsibility lie with the individual employee or CBS?
Tine Silfvander, Anders Lauesen and Tine Løvig Simonsen agree that the responsibility is shared.
“It is also the manager’s responsibility to encourage and push for career development. Of course, people who are not interested in changing careers don’t have to, but we need to create a culture where talking about career development is legitimate,” says Tine Løvig Simonsen.
I hope that we will become much better at talking about careers, and that such discussions will not provoke anxietyTine Silfvander
Anders Lausen explains that the main responsibility lies with individual employees, as career aspirations must come first and foremost from the employees.
“If you, as an employee, have thoughts or dreams about your career, it is CBS’ responsibility to support and discuss this,” he says.
Anders Lauesen explains that one way of supporting employees in their dreams for developing their career or pursuing a career path within CBS is to show what other employees have done.
“We have several examples of employees who have been at CBS for many years and progressed through various positions. They have qualified and developed themselves for taking on new tasks and responsibilities, and thereby made a career path within CBS. And we need to show those kinds of cases,” he says.
One place to do that could be at job bazars and career workshops, which Anders Lauesen hopes CBS will be able to host as a means for implementing the guide at CBS.
“When the guide is ready, we will look into how we can spread the knowledge. Maybe we need to include some tests along with the guide for employees to take, and we can write testimonies from people who have made careers at CBS,” he says.
Successful career paths and better ratings
The guide is expected to be ready for implementation and use in the fall. That will be just around two years after the results from the latest job satisfaction survey ticked in. Why has it taken two years to make a career guide?
“We owed it to CBS to give this a shot and do something about the poor ratings, but coronavirus definitely put everything on hold,” says Anders Lauesen.
Since the guide will not be completed before the upcoming job satisfaction survey, the two shop stewards and Anders Lauesen know the effects of the career guide are likely to be missing. However, they are hopeful that a change in attitude will be reflected in the survey in a couple of years.
“I would very much hope that we will get a better rating on the questions concerning careers in a few years’ time and that we have clarified how we work with careers at CBS,” says Anders Lauesen.
Tine Silfvander also hopes the guide will be widely used by employees and managers.
“I hope to meet employees who tell me they have been inspired by the guide, or colleagues who have changed career path. And then I hope that we will become much better at talking about careers, and that such discussions will not provoke anxiety. The word ‘career’ does not have to be scary, but can instead be a term that promotes curiosity,” she says and adds:
“If we want to maintain the good employees we have here at CBS, it is important that we talk about career development. Otherwise, all the good people will take jobs outside of CBS.”