Career management policies help define the opportunities for employees to develop the skills and knowledge required to take on more responsibilities, move into management or obtain a new role. By specifying what resources are provided, establishing accountability and keeping records, human resource professionals create a fair and equitable environment for all employees. In addition to using tips and techniques provided by their company, employees can use the tools published by the U.S. Office for Personnel Management provides for career planning, assessment and management.


By establishing a career management policy, human resources personnel define the roles and responsibilities of the employee, the manager and the company. Typically, employees take personal responsibility for managing their careers, seeking feedback, assessing their own strengths and weaknesses and taking advantage of training available to them. Managers usually commit to hiring the best personnel for the job and ensuring that employees have the right skills and materials to complete their jobs. Managers communicate the company’s strategic goals and performance measurement criteria at the beginning of each year, so employees know how their performance will be measured. Additionally, the company is responsible for providing a safe environment for employees to work in.


Human resources personnel document policies related to job opportunities to adhere to legal requirements, such as Equal Employment Opportunity laws, and promote employee job satisfaction and morale. By hiring, training and retaining a diverse workforce, companies typically maintain a competitive edge. Usually, employers commit to providing career advancement opportunities within the company and mandate the employees look within the company for their own growth and development. For example, employees who maintain an up-to-date resume on file with human resources can qualify for promotions or transfers, after at least two years in their current role. In the event that the company lacks possibilities or the employee is not eligible for the position according to the job description, most employers require at least two weeks’ notice as a professional courtesy if the employee plans to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

Types of Career Development

Career management policies describe the types of career moves available to employees. For example, a lateral move indicates a job opportunity at the same level but in a different department or location. A vertical move provides the employee with a promotion into a management or consultant role based on her performance. A realignment moves the employee down a level based on poor performance or restructuring within the company. Additionally, mentoring provides the chance for an employee to learn new skills and knowledge, for example from more-seasoned company executives, while continuing to perform the tasks and duties associated with her current job.


Human resources departments typically use complex software systems and comprehensive databases to manage personnel records. By stating that they make every effort to protect staff information, such as Social Security numbers, exam scores and other personal data, they help ensure privacy. Employees commit to maintaining security by regularly taking their own actions, such as changing passwords and signing off on shared computers.