The IT System That’s Key to Career Advancement but Often Overlooked

If you consider how technology is driving career advancement, there are two ways to look at it.

“One way is the opportunities technology creates to build new capabilities,” said Steven T. Hunt, Chief Expert for Work and Technology at SAP Innovation Office. “We can use learning technology to develop skills to do things that other people want to do but don’t have the time or ability to do.”

The other way tech is driving career advancement is by enabling people to connect through online communities and platforms. SAP is focused on both of these aspects and ultimately reinventing the employee experience through a unified talent management system.

Although many agencies have some form of a talent management system, it’s often underutilized. These systems are designed to help people be more effective in their jobs. But like other benefits, there are myriad reasons why employees don’t tap into all that’s available.

As a former government employee who now works closely with senior HR leaders, Hunt understands the challenges and benefits of fully embracing talent management systems, both as an individual contributor and manager. He offered some advice for those looking to grow in their careers and those also supporting career growth.

Make yourself visible

“As an individual contributor, there are likely opportunities for you, but people need a way to discover you at work,” Hunt said. With the rise and popularity of social media and online networking communities, it’s easy to think about building virtual connections externally rather than within your organization. But that mindset should also be applied internally.

“There are people within your organization who might have unique and interesting opportunities that you would be a great fit for,” Hunt said. “You have to create a way to get yourself on the radar screen, beyond your own immediate social network.”

That’s where employee profiles come in, providing an online hub for people to share their interests and skill sets across geographic locations. SAP’s talent management solution, for example, helps make large organizations feel smaller by enabling employees to find and connect with colleagues on a desired career track or interests.

Foster a learning mindset and culture

Employees steer the ship of their career development, but managers have a big impact. When managers have a learning mindset, coupled with the right technology to facilitate learning, employee growth flourishes.

Managers can use talent management systems to facilitate coaching and ongoing career and wellness check-ins with employees, and to take a more people-centric approach to managing teams.

“There are things managers should be doing such as checking in with employees regularly and revisiting goals. But even good managers can forget to do these on a consistent basis,” Hunt said. “The technology helps managers and employees have regular check-ins to discuss their roles and ongoing development.”

Investing in technology as an enabler for career connections and learning opportunities ensures that growth isn’t an annual discussion but an ongoing dialogue that’s top of mind for employees and their managers.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s guide, “Tackling Professional Development Taboos in Government.” Download the full guide here.

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