Career planning is the process by which one fixes career goals and lays down the path to these goals.

The major focus of career planning is on assisting the employees achieve a better match between personal goals and the opportunities that realistically available in the organisation.

Career planning means helping the employees to plan their careers in terms of their capacities within the context if organisation’s needs. A person who is not able to translate his career plan into action within the organisation’s may probably quit the job, if he has a choice.

Organizations, therefore, should help employees in career planning so that both can satisfy each other’s needs. Career planning is, thus, a managerial technique for mapping out the entire career of young employees.


The steps involved in the process of career planning are:-

1. Preparing a Manpower Inventory 2. Identifying Individual Needs and Aspirations 3. Analysing Career Opportunities 4. Aligning Needs and Opportunities

5. Matching of Employees’ Career Needs with Career Opportunities 6. Formulation and Implementation of the Training and Development Programme 7. Development of Contingency Plans 8. Periodic Review of the Career Plans.

Additionally, learn about the stages of career planning:- 1. Exploration 2. Establishment 3. Mid-Career 4. Late Career 5. Decline.

Process of Career Planning  in HRM– Steps and Stages

Process of Career Planning – Identifying Individual Needs and Aspirations, Analysing Career Opportunities, Aligning Needs and Opportunities, Action Plans and Periodic Review

An organisation’s success depends on the availability of competent human resources. Without an effective promotion and succession system, the organisation will not be able to achieve its strategic objectives. In a competitive environment, it is necessary to develop the talent of the personnel because cost of promoting the wrong person is very high. Career Planning involves matching an individual’s career aspirations with the opportunities available in the organisation.


It offers a set of tools and techniques for productive resolution of this conflict between the individual and the organisation. Thus, career planning is a good management technique for promoting organisational growth and development and the effective utilisation of human resources, thus leading to industrial and labour productivity. Planning the careers for a lifetime may not be feasible due to rapid changes in business environment but for a period of five to ten years, it is possible.

Career planning essentially means helping the employees plan their career in terms of their capabilities within the context of organisational needs. It also implies planning of specific career paths of the employees in the organisation. It may be useful to work out career path charts for incumbents of different job clusters. It does not mean predicting or envisaging what higher jobs will be available for each employee.

Career planning also need not imply any specific commitment on the part of the management to promote an employee. It only implies that an individual becomes aware of some of his capabilities, career and developmental opportunities, and chooses to develop himself in a direction that improves his chances of being able to handle new responsibilities.


“Career Management involves planning the paths along which employees travel, including coaching, counselling the promotability of the employee, elections of the position the individual passes through, the off the job training he receives and the geographical transfers that he experiences.” — Henemen and Schwab

The career planning process involves the following steps:

Process # 1. Identifying Individual Needs and Aspirations:

Most individuals do not have a clear cut idea about their career aspirations, anchors and goals. The human resource professionals must, therefore, help an employee by providing as much information as possible showing what kind of work would suit the employee most, taking his skills, experience, and aptitude into account.

Such assistance is extended through workshops/seminars while the employees are subjected to psychological testing, simulation exercises, etc. The basic purpose of such an exercise is to help an employee form a clear view about what he should do to build his career within the company. Workshops and seminars increase employee interest by showing the value of career planning.

Process # 2. Analysing Career Opportunities:


Once career needs and aspirations of employees are known, the organisation has to provide career paths for each position. Career paths show career progression possibilities clearly. They indicate the various positions that one could hold over a period of time, if one is able to perform well.

Career paths change over time, of course, in tune with employee’s needs and organisational requirements. While outlining career paths, the claims of experienced persons lacking professional degrees and that of young recruits with excellent degrees but without experience need to be balanced properly.

Process # 3. Aligning Needs and Opportunities:

After employees have identified their needs and have realised the existence of career opportunities the remain­ing problem is one of alignment. This process consists of two steps: first, identify the potential of employees and then undertake career development programmes with a view to align employee needs and organisational opportunities.

Process # 4. Action Plans and Periodic Review:

The matching process would uncover gaps. These need to be bridged through individual career development efforts and organisation supported efforts from time to time. After initiating these steps, it is necessary to review the whole thing every now and then.


This will help the employee know in which direction he is moving, what changes are likely to take place, what kind of skills are needed to face new and emerging organisational challenges.

From an organisational standpoint also, it is necessary to find out how employees are doing, what are their goals and aspirations, whether the career paths are in tune with individual needs and serve the overall corporate objectives, etc.

Process of Career Planning – Top 6 Steps: Preparing a Manpower Inventory, Identifying Employees’ Career Needs, Identifying Employees’ Career Opportunities & a Few Others

The steps involved in career planning are:

1. Preparing a manpower inventory.


2. Identifying employees’ career needs.

3. Identifying employees’ career opportunities.

4. Matching of employees’ career needs with career opportunities.

5. Formulation and implementation of the training and development programme, and

6. Periodic review of the career plans.

Step # 1. Preparing a Manpower Inventory:

The first step of career planning is to prepare an inventory of employees working in the organization. This would help the organization to know whether there is a surplus or a shortage of manpower. In the case of shortage, the organization can come to know the number of persons required for different posi­tions. Manpower inventory also identifies the age, qualification, and aptitude of the existing employees and their ability to take up higher responsibilities.

Step # 2. Identifying Employees’ Career Needs:

It is essential to identify the career goals and career anchors of employees because many employees do not have a clear picture of these. The HR manager can help the employee in identifying his/her career needs by analysing with him/her information regarding his/her strengths and weaknesses, aptitude, type of work for which he/she is more suitable, and the way he/she is performing his/her work. In large organizations, employees find assessment centres where they can undergo psychological tests and depth interviews to analyse their career needs. The purpose of such analysis is to help employees to plan their careers.

Step # 3. Identifying Employees’ Career Opportunities:

Once the career needs of the employees are identified, the next step is to identify career opportuni­ties or career paths in the organization for each position. Career paths should be designed keeping in consideration the skill, knowledge, aptitude, and experience of the employees. Career movement of each employee within the organization should be planned and the resulting impact on other career paths should be analysed. Career path, thus, indicates the progress of an employee during his/her career.

Step # 4. Matching of Employees’ Career Needs with Career Opportunities:

There should be sufficient career opportunities to meet the career needs of employees. Therefore, the career needs should be in congruence with career opportunities offered by the organization.

Step # 5. Formulation and Implementation of the Training and Development Programme:

The method by which training has to be imparted is different for the different categories of employees, e.g., the emphasis is on improving skills in the case of skilled workers, and on improving leadership qualities and human relation skills in the case of executives and managers.

Step # 6. Periodic Review of the Career Plans:

Periodic review helps the employee to know the direction in which the organization is moving and the type of skills that shall be required to adapt to the changing needs of the organization.

Answers to the following questions are found through such periodic reviews:

i. Is there a mismatch of a job for any employee?

ii. Is there a need for redesigning jobs?

iii. Is there a change in the needs and aspirations of the employee?

iv. Is the training and development programme designed such that both individual as well as organi­zational needs are met?

Process of Career Planning

It is a process of setting individual career objectives and developing course of action which is necessary to achieve them.

The following four steps are involved in the process of career planning:

1. Identifying Individual Needs:

In general, every individual conscious about their career goals or even not in a position to find out what kind of work would suit to him. Therefore, in the organisation, it is responsibility of HR manager to help such employee in the process of identifying needs, career paths and career goals.

2. Career Opportunities:

Now the next step is to find out career opportunities available in the organisation. This relates to the distance between needs and opportunities how far individual wants to go in an organisation and how fast that person expects to get there. The career paths change over time, in tune with employee’s needs and organisational requirements.

3. Transition Stage:

This stage refers to the aligns between needs and opportunities. It relates to the change expected in knowledge, skill and attitude as per career paths and career goals. Therefore, the compatibility between needs and opportunities are essential for satisfying needs and using in a best way available opportunities. This stage also consists two steps – (a) identify the potential of employees, and (b) career development programmes.

4. Action Plans:

The hundred percent compatibility between needs and opportunities are not possible. It means always some gap lies between needs and opportunities of an individual. It is necessary to cover these gaps through individual career development efforts and organisation support efforts from time to time. Both the organisation and the individual are important and career planning can be seen from the perspective of both parties.

The popular career planning instruments used by organizations and HR departments are as follows:

1. Strong Interest Inventory (Sll):

The SII is based on the idea that individuals are more satisfied and productive when they work in jobs or at tasks that they find interesting, and when they work with people whose interests are similar to their own. The SII measures an employee’s interest in a wide range of occupations, occupational activities, hobbies, leisure activities, and types of people. These interests are compared to thousands of individuals who report being happy and successful in their jobs.

2. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI):

The MBTI is the most widely used personality assessment in the .world. It offers a foundation for understanding the ways people think, communicate and interact. The MBTI will assist employees in identifying occupations that will be challenging and more interesting, work environments that are satisfying, effective work relationships, and leadership and interpersonal communication styles.

Process of Career Planning 

Individual’s Career Planning assumed greater significance with the growth and speed of knowledge, phenomenal increase in educational and training facilities and widespread increase in job opportunities.

Similarly, organisational career planning also gained importance with the change in technology, human needs, values and aspirations, increase in organisational size, complexity and number of openings at different levels.

A career is all the jobs that are held progressively during one’s working life. Edwin B. Flippo defined a career as a sequence of separate but related work activities that provides continuity, order and meaning in a person’s life. Douglas T. Hall defined a career as “an individually perceived sequence of attitudes and behaviours associated with work related experiences and activities over the span of the person’s life.”

Career goals are the future positions one strives as part of a career. Career Planning is the deliberate process by which one selects career goals and the path to these goals. Career development is those personal improvements one undertakes to achieve a personal career plan.

Career management is the process of designing and implementing goals, plans and strategies to enable the organisation to satisfy employee needs while allowing individuals to achieve their career goals through growth process.

Following steps are involved in the process of career planning:

1. Preparation of Personal Profile:

The first important step in the process of career planning is the preparation of personal profile. It comprises of various personality traits of the person. It is very difficult to be familiar with one’s own nature, but it is essential for preparing a personal profile. One should answer some questions to oneself like attitudes towards nature, work, initiative, confidence, future expectations, etc. This will help in determining the direction of one’s professional career.

2. Formulation of Personal and Professional Goals:

To plan one’s career, it is necessary to formulate both personal and professional goals. This is because the personal goals enable the person to enter into a profession and then professional goals direct the person to achieve higher heights in his career.

3. Analysing Environment Effect:

A systematic analysis of the environment for opportunities is required in planning the career. Career planning process is influenced by both inside and outside environment for opportunities. While deciding about a career strategy, it is necessary to consider the stage of growth of the organisation, future expansion plans, thinking about the management, etc.

Further, for formulation of career strategy, the outside environmental factors including economic, social, political, technological, etc., need to be discussed. Both future and present environments should be considered which requires forecasting. Since many factors need to be analysed, one should plan the career necessities. One should be selective and only concentrate on those factors which are critical to personal success.

4. Analysis of Strengths and Weaknesses:

Job requirements and environmental opportunities should be matched with the strengths and weaknesses of a person. Different types of job require different types of skill on the part of the performer. One person may be more suitable at the supervisory level only, while the other may go up to the middle level management, and so on. So it becomes necessary for the individual to analyse his/her own strengths and weaknesses and match them with the available jobs within and outside the organisation.

5. Development of Alternatives:

Several alternatives are required to be developed under a good career planning process. The assessment of alternatives is done keeping in view the environment and available opportunities. One alternative may be suitable under a particular situation while the other may benefit under different condition. Sometimes, efforts are made to overcome weaknesses to take advantage of the available opportunities.

6. Development of Contingency Plans:

The individual develops his career plans in the environment of uncertainty. Even though some future assumptions are made but these may not prove correct. So, contingency plans may be formulated for facing uncertain future conditions.

7. Monitoring Career Plan:

The individual should monitor his/her career plan for finding out whether the plans are moving according to the pre-determined assumptions. The monitoring can also be done at the time of performance appraisal or when some project or assignment is completed. Some adjustments may be needed as required by a particular situation.

Process of Career Planning – 5 Stages: Exploration, Establishment, Mid-Career, Late Career and Decline

Career planning is the process by which one fixes career goals and lays down the path to these goals. The major focus of career planning is on assisting the employees achieve a better match between personal goals and the opportunities that realistically available in the organisation.

Career planning means helping the employees to plan their careers in terms of their capacities within the context if organisation’s needs. A person who is not able to translate his career plan into action within the organisation’s may probably quit the job, if he has a choice. Organizations, therefore, should help employees in career planning so that both can satisfy each other’s needs. Career planning is, thus, a managerial technique for mapping out the entire career of young employees.

Career planning provides an answer to an employee’s questions to where he will be in the organisation after five years or what are the prospects of advancing or growing in the organisation.

The main characteristics of career planning are as follows:

(i) Career planning is a process of developing human resources.

(ii) It is not in end in itself but a means of managing people to obtain optimum results.

(iii) It is a continuous process and not an event.

(iv) The basic aim of career planning is integration of individual and organisational needs.

A career is a sequence of positions held by a person during the course of a life time. It comprises of a series of work related activities that provide continuity, order and meaning to a person’s life. A career of an individual includes many positions, stages and transitions just as a person’s life does.

Stage # 1. Exploration:

This is the career stage that usually ends in one’s mid-twenties as one makes the transition from college to work. An individual with different experiences, some his own and some of his parents and teachers, takes to explore various options. Organisations can make use of this stage by offering young people, internships, summer training, short term projects etc., to understand practically the working of the whole system.

Stage # 2. Establishment:

This is the career stage where one begins the search for work and picks up the first job. This stage is pull of pressure, anxiety, tensions and careless attitude. The person starts using his skills, abilities and knowledge to make his mark and take on responsibilities. A lot of hard work is required at this stage. This period is characterised by committing mistakes, learning from those mistakes and assuming increased responsibilities.

Stage # 3. Mid-Career:

Mid-career is a stage that is typically reached between the age of 35 and 50, he is no longer view as learner. This stage is very crucial for one’s career. If one, continues to perform he can reach the top and if one does not he can lose both interest and productivity at work. An organisation can play a major role, So that a person’s career does not plateau out. It can use his experience and skill and place him at a responsible position and requires maturity.

Stage # 4. Late Career:

This is the stage where one relaxes a bit and plays the part of an elder states person. For those who continue to grow through the mid-career stage, this is the time to command respect from younger employees. Your varied experiences and judgment are greatly valued and your word will carry weight.

The employees those who have stagnated, can redirect the energies to family, friends, hobbies and social work.

Stage # 5. Decline:

This stage is of retirement. All the people at this stage want to have a time of his own and get out of race.