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Career development, as both a field of study and a practical form of training for workers, is primarily concerned with producing better employees and maximizing employee potential. Career development programs can help the unemployed find jobs or provide workers with the skills and tools they need to advance within a government agency, corporation or organization.
One of the major objectives of any career development program is a heightened sense of self-awareness for participants. Employees should be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses, in order to apply their skills more effectively. Understanding shortcomings is also useful in teaching employees where to focus efforts toward improvements.
Self-awareness is also related to understanding the difference between real and perceived career advancement limitations. By examining available opportunities and making an honest assessment of an employee's skills, career development seeks to give every employee a realistic outlook on the future.
Career development also sets enhanced flexibility as a goal. Employees work in a changing world and adaptation is an essential skill. This may mean abandoning practices that have worked in the past, or devoting time to education and new training. Employees who find themselves unable to adapt in a changing workplace may suffer from decreased productivity or be unable to compete with workers whose skills are more flexible and easier to apply across a range of tasks.
Education is among the more straightforward objectives of career development. Such programs attempt to give employees, or prospective employees, access to information about job opportunities and options for skills training. Following up with such employees is an important objective as well, since this gives those who work in career development a way of measuring the program's effectiveness.
Sensitivity to Diversity
Many career development programs make sensitivity to diversity in the workplace a top priority. With ever-increasing globalization, workers are frequently put into contact with members of different backgrounds and cultures. Understanding the value of diverse work habits and viewpoints can prevent this from becoming a point of confusion or misunderstanding. At the same time, educating workers about the customs and concerns of others can help prevent social problems or embarrassment in a diverse workplace.