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Building career capital is a joint effort, requiring both personal and organisational engagement. Firms can escalate career capital development within their employee base by creating a culture of learning, support, and opportunity. Employees can advance their own career capital by showing initiative and taking advantage of all forms of support their organisations offer and being on the lookout for the latest thinking and research in areas relevant to their role or organisation. An individual thirst for constantly learning and growing is key to gaining career capital in today’s world.
As firms and their HR teams strive to serve an expanding number of women in leadership roles and drive gender parity, it is especially important that they pay attention to women’s behaviors and preferences when it comes to building career capital. Insights from Accenture’s 2014 Career Capital survey can help guide this effort, inspiring companies to do a better job at delivering what women need to grow their careers.
For example, we know from the survey that women welcome opportunities to move up in the organisation and recognize that education and training are paths for advancement. We also know that all employees prefer on the job experience over formal education as a learning method. Employers can escalate the learning process by creating mentorships and job rotation programmes that allow employees to increase their knowledge and expertise hands on.
We also know from the study that networking, both within and outside the organisation, is a valued tool for building career capital, but men are more engaged in the networking process than are women. Encouraging women to participate in networking opportunities can help eliminate this disparity while opening the door to additional learning and advancement. Lastly, because women see the value of self-marketing but sometimes have difficulty doing it—given that this is not a behavior that has traditionally been nurtured or encouraged among female workers, networking should also be strongly positioned as a way to self-promote without requiring women to compromise their integrity.
A holistic, insightful, and needs-based approach to building career capital that leverages employee preferences will have the greatest chance for success. As you set out to improve career capital development among your employees, think about what those needs and preferences are, then build processes that naturally support them.
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