Who Is Accountable for Your Career? The Answer May Surprise You

Many organizations today say "the employee alone, is responsible for their career". It is no surprise that employees have decreased loyalty.

The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential? Are they learning? Serving? Do they achieve the required results? Do they change with grace? Manage conflict? – Max De Pree

Who is Accountable for the Employee's CareerToo many organizations today say “the employee alone, is responsible for their career”. With statements like these, it is no surprise that employees have decreased loyalty. A Salary.com survey highlighted this problem. The survey of 8,000 people found that employees want greater support of their career by the employer. The top reasons provided for leaving their employers included:

#2: Inadequate Opportunities for Career Advancement (37%)
#3: Insufficient Recognition or Appreciation (34%)
#4: Boredom (20%)
#6: Inadequate Opportunities for Professional Development (15%)
#7: Insufficient Job Security (12%)
#9: Poor Relations with Management (10%)

Reducing employee turnover should be reason enough for organizations to step up and take some responsibility for employee careers. However, there are many more hidden problems with leaving accountability for career development solely to the employee.

Hidden Problems With Insufficient Employee Career Support

1. Emphasizes Individual Over Team
Individuals focusing on their own career growth often communicate their own achievements over those of the team. Individuals promoting themselves and their results over what is right for the organization will likely be promoted faster. Therefore, this pattern will repeat itself and grow over time, ultimate reducing teamwork.

2. Reduces Risk Taking
Individuals are less likely to stick their neck out if they feel there is no support from above. Individuals have accountability at home for family income and will not risk job security, especially in this economy, if there is not someone above looking out for them from a bigger picture perspective.

3. Drives Short Term Solutions vs. Long Term Results
Employees focused on building their own career will sacrifice sustainability for short-term wins to gain their next promotion. After all, if they drive quick results, what they leave behind is another persons mess to cleanup.

4. Reduces Loyalty and Increases Turnover
As the salary.com survey highlights, if nobody in the company is helping the employee, what difference does it make if the employee takes their next role with the same employer or goes to the competition?

Employers Must Share Accountability for Employee Careers

Employees must still play a major role in developing their own careers. However, companies that dodge any accountability are hurting themselves and their employees. If we are more proactive in supporting the careers of our employees, perhaps we’ll also see a bit of that good old-fashioned loyalty return as well.

Question: Does your organization support the careers of its employees? How does this benefit or hurt the organization and the employee?


Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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