In the process of an individual’s career development, the early stage is usually discussed as one of the most challenging periods because individuals need to succeed in choosing and entering an organization, socialize, and then move to establishment and achievement phases. Today, when starting their career path, people are not so much limited by the level of their education and skills, but by the vast competition in the employment area that affects individuals’ desires to improve their critical competencies. Globalization also affects career choices and approaches to establishment and achievement because of human resource (HR) managers’ focus on developing the principles of diversity and international cooperation in multinational organizations (Oplatka & Lapidot, 2018). The early stage in a person’s career development becomes important because of the necessity to establish oneself in a certain field and demonstrate additional achievements, and it is also necessary to discuss the importance of this topic for HR professionals with reference to current trends and examine associated organizational implications.
The Early Career Stage
Individuals’ career development is a topic for discussion among HR professionals because the knowledge regarding this theme allows for applying strategies of working effectively with novice employees. Therefore, it is important to understand the characteristics of the early career stage and possible challenges faced by both newcomers in companies and HR specialists. Current trends in employees’ attitude to their early career stage should also be described in detail.
Specifics of the Topic
In career development, the early career stage is of critical importance because an individual is expected to successfully overcome the following phases and steps: organizational entry, organizational socialization, establishment, and achievement. Young people’s desires to succeed in their careers and lives determine the choice of their profession, the speed of capacity building, the quality of integration, and the reaction to competition (Greenhaus, Callanan, & Godshalk, 2018). At the entry stage, when individuals join a new team, they can experience positive and negative shocks, which in turn determine the level of their adaptation. At the phase of organizational socialization, young employees learn not only how to complete their job tasks but also how to cooperate with their colleagues (Tan & Shen, 2016). The process of establishing oneself in a career is associated with developing skills and competencies required for succeeding in a certain position (Greenhaus et al., 2018). Thus, changes in competencies affect an individual’s career development as people learn how to become productive and communicative.
It is also important to note that, when an individual becomes motivated, committed to an organization, demonstrates the high quality of work, and succeeds in networking and collaborating, he or she has enough confidence to move to the phase of achievement. Understanding the necessity of increasing the level of achievement, an individual faces challenges of selecting the further path for career development: to be promoted, to change the department, or to try a leadership role (Kraimer, Greco, Seibert, & Sargent, 2019). Focusing on achievements, employees need to become more independent in their activities because they do not need to concentrate on performing their tasks accurately, but they want to receive more challenging tasks. Therefore, at the phase of achievement, a person seeks self-fulfillment, and there are high risks of leaving an organization as his or her expectations are not addressed.
Importance for HR Professionals
Supporting young employees at the early career stage is important for HR professionals in order to help these individuals to successfully pass all the stages, from the organizational entry to the higher level of achievement. At the phases of individuals’ socialization and adaptation, HR professionals need to be aware of challenges, shocks, and barriers young professionals may face (Chang & Kim, 2018). Therefore, HR managers should provide appropriate conditions for quality adaptation in a team and active communication with experienced colleagues. People who have just started their careers should understand their role as a beginner and take into account a long period of training and building necessary skills, feeling HR managers’ support (Oplatka & Lapidot, 2018). If HR professionals do not realize negative shocks and a variety of tasks and unusual situations experienced by novice employees or do not organize training, it is almost impossible to ensure that a young employee effectively passes an establishment phase.
In addition, HR specialists should take into account employees’ desires to have a certain level of autonomy, and this desire can be related to the intention to adopt new higher roles. Besides, employees need to know the perspective and opportunities for their career growth and success to focus on their achievements (Oplatka & Lapidot, 2018). Therefore, HR professionals should continually provide feedback to employees about the quality of tasks performed and motivate them to enhance specific skills (Crew, 2016). Employees who feel supported are not afraid of work challenges and understand that they always have support and professional advice. At the phase of achievement, HR professionals need to guarantee a worker is motivated, feels that his or her contribution is unique, and committed to developing the further career in this organization.
Current Trends in Career Development at the Early Stage
The labor market changes due to the economic development, the predominance of specific areas in markets and industries and tendencies in the choice of professions; thus, new trends in employability appear. At the early career stage, many young individuals can experience difficulties when adapting to new roles, and they often leave companies at the phase of socialization, without developing commitment and motivation (Greenhaus et al., 2018; Kraimer et al., 2019). Flexibility and self-management of a particular employee play a crucial role because those individuals who lack these skills cannot succeed in adapting to their first working environments.
Modern employees do not tend to concentrate on learning and adopting the values and norms of organizations they work for, and they require more autonomy. It is more appropriate for them to leave a company if working conditions or tasks seem to be complex or difficult. On the other hand, there is a high need for mentoring and supervising in companies because individuals who are at the early career stage now build positive relationships with co-workers, socialize, and develop their skills and potential when working with mentors (Crew, 2016; Oplatka & Lapidot, 2018). The quality of social interactions plays a critical role for employees today to influence the level of their motivation, job satisfaction, and commitment to an organization.
The organizational implications of the problem of career development at the early stage include strategies, techniques, and methods that need to be applied by HR professionals in order to help novice employees overcome all the determined phases. Several decades ago, employees effectively passed socialization, establishment, and achievement phases because they were oriented toward working in the same organization for a long period of time. From this perspective, it is important to discuss organizational interventions related to the topic of the early career stage and explain implications for HR specialists.
Related Organizational Interventions
In order to address the need for creating a positive and supportive environment for individuals who are at the early stage of their career development, it is necessary to apply certain interventions. The key intervention is the development of an effective integration or entry program for novice employees, in the course of which, individuals will receive important information about the values, ethical code, organizational culture, operations, and processes in a company (Greenhaus et al., 2018; Tan & Shen, 2016). Another group of interventions should be associated with the development of effective socialization programs. The socialization of newcomers allows for developing their strong relationships with colleagues to guarantee that new employees become effective members of organizational teams. It is also important to ensure that new employees share the ethical principles and values of their organization.
Other interventions include mentoring or supervision and training and development programs. At the phase of establishing their role in a company and developing specific capacities and skills, young employees need to receive psychological support, guidance, and assistance from mentors (Crew, 2016; Oplatka & Lapidot, 2018). If mentoring programs do not work effectively, employees feel discomfort working in unfamiliar environments and without any support (Oplatka & Lapidot, 2018). As a result, it is almost impossible to effectively pass the establishment phase and achieve high results in performance and productivity.
Implications for HR Professionals
The implications of emphasizing the importance of the early career stage are obvious for HR specialists because their task is to ensure young employees successfully overcome all the phases. The periods of entry into an organization and socialization associated with adaptation and working on new tasks are most challenging for newcomers, and HR managers need to help employees assimilate and feel comfortable in the workplace. Furthermore, the phase of establishment is also of great importance for HR professionals who should contribute to employees’ development of competencies and their learning (Tan & Shen, 2016). At this stage, it is critical to provide individuals with feedback because they seek approval and guidance, and they want to learn from their experienced colleagues and supervisors (Chang & Kim, 2018). Thus, much attention should be paid to conducting the performance appraisal and discussion of results with those employees who are at the early stage of their career in order to help them succeed and realize their professional potential.
The research on the topic of the early stage in career development has helped identify specific areas of concern for employees and HR professionals. It has been found out that HR specialists need to make much effort in order to support young employees and lead them through such phases as the organizational entry, socialization, establishment, and the orientation toward achievements. The problem is that young employees today require more support and mentoring than it was previously because of their unwillingness to adapt to challenging environments and their higher levels of turnover intents. Therefore, HR specialists need to focus on developing effective integration and socialization programs, implement specific mentorship and supervision programs, as well as promote the training and development of young individuals. In this case, it will be possible to achieve success in enhancing the careers of these people.
- Chang, J., & Kim, T. (2018). Looking at organizational socialization from the developmental network perspective. The Journal of Asian Finance, Economics and Business, 5(3), 195-206.
- Crew, L. R. L. (2016). Personality and mentoring: Stepping off on the right foot. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 47(5), 201-203.
- Greenhaus, J. H., Callanan, G. A., & Godshalk, V. M. (2018). Career management for life. New York, NY: Routledge.
- Kraimer, M. L., Greco, L., Seibert, S. E., & Sargent, L. D. (2019). An investigation of academic career success: The new tempo of academic life. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 18(2), 128-152.
- Oplatka, I., & Lapidot, A. (2018). Novice principals’ perceptions of their mentoring process in early career stage: The key role of mentor-protégé relations. Journal of Educational Administration and History, 50(3), 204-222.
- Tan, Y., & Shen, X. (2016). Socialization content and adjustment outcome: A longitudinal study of Chinese employees beginning their career. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 44(1), 161-176.