Career development must definitely be a priority

We all have stories to share on how we entered the PR industry, some as ‘fresh out of the box’ university leavers and others by trialing a new career. One thing we can all relate to is a first day – the day you entered the agency doors for the very first time, being seen as a newbie or the intern with fresh talent and tons of expectations to fulfill.

Tyler Perry once said, “What I’ve found is that there are some folks you can talk to until you’re blue in the face–they’re never going to get it and they’re never going to change. But every once in a while, you’ll run into someone who is eager to listen, eager to learn, and willing to try new things. Those are the people we need to reach. We have a responsibility to recognise that.”

Mentorship is a key part of development in our line of work. A junior executive steps into the work place for the very first time, shaking with fear, tons of potential and their confidence in their work ability the size of a peanut.

As a result, every single manager has a responsibility – which should not even be up for discussion – to nourish the potential of their colleagues. Managers are expected to orientate new employees on the basics of what their jobs entail, what’s expected from them as well as the agency’s culture.

Therefore, managers should work jointly with the employee to build their confidence within their role and in their ability to perform their work against set expectations and standards.

Within the first six months, monitoring work progress is essential in ensuring ongoing development to work delivery as well as the employee’s self-reliance. This is reflected through the day to day efforts in consulting to clients as a qualified professional, confidently writing press releases, or even submitting monthly reports. I distinctively remember how I had an agreement with my manager while completing my internship that she provide constant feedback on a weekly basis in relation to my performance – looking at what I needed to improve on and most importantly what I did well for that week. This allows you to know where you currently stand and what you’re working towards. This then enables you to set short term objectives that you would like to accomplish in relation to your career growth.

Fleishman Hilliard has introduced a mentorship programme that will allow all employees at all levels the opportunity to be mentored by those in levels above theirs. This permits employees to work towards certain goals and in clarifying what’s needed to get to the next level, to share their difficulties and find new ways to resolve them.

Bottom line is that all employees are responsible for their own career growth; however it’s always better to walk the road with one who’s been down it before as opposed to purely running through it by yourself.