If you’ve ever wondered how meaningful your career is to your employer, or how important your contribution is in transforming your organization, you’re in luck, because Professor Tony Watts has some powerful things to say about it.

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Organizations create careers, but also, careers create organizations. It’s the way people develop their talents, through movement, that actually creates dynamic organizations,” said Tony Watts, Visiting Professor of Career Development at the University of Derby, England. “Some organizations do absolutely understand that, not all do. Encouraging organizations to take the careers of their staff seriously is very important.” Tony Watts has lectured in over 60 countries, and written books, articles and commissioned studies, recently focusing on the use of internet technology to support career development. Mostly though, Tony is an impassioned advocate for widespread career wellbeing through government policy, educational institutions, and organizations. He was a guest on our radio show, Career Buzz, on June 10, 2011.

Isn’t it refreshing to consider that your career helps to create your organization? And if that’s the case as Tony Watts suggests, doesn’t it make sense to establish a healthy share of the responsibility for developing our careers for the future? Of course it’s still true that, as Professor Watts says, “Security lies in employability not employment” so we all should be staying sharp and employable, and experts suggest that we take 70% of the responsibility for our careers. What about the other 30%? That’s where organizations could be supporting employees through career conversations, mentoring, job shadowing, skill development and annual career check-ups with a career professional.

But do people want help developing their careers for the future?

You bet they do. And to illustrate the demand for career services in the UK, Professor Watts told about a career program supported by a marketing program. TV commercials and social media were used to spread the word on a career helpline and web-based services. “The results when we set up these call centres was that we received a million calls a year. So the demand is absolutely there.”

The whole episode of Career Buzz is worthwhile listening, including insights from Heather Turnbull, international president of the Association of Career Professionals International. Or tune in to the five minutes from 32:11 to hear Tony Watts talk about the themes in this post.

What’s your perspective on this? If you’re an employee, what support have you received from your employer to help you develop your career? If you’re a manager or organizational leader, what are your hopes and fears about providing career help to employees? Post a comment, get involved in the conversation!

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