Emerging Career Development Practices that are Business Driven, Intelligent, and Offer Elite-level Development.

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Wowledge Expert Team
Principal level
127 Wows earned

This guide is part of a progression set comprised of Core, Advanced, and Emerging Career Development practices.

What it is

Emerging career development is a business strategy-driven function that creates linkages between a company's strategic staffing needs and individuals' career aspirations. It involves long-term planning, with employees continually meeting evolving business requirements focused on advancement and skill development opportunities that feed future critical staffing requirements. It defines talent requirements based on specific business strategies and initiatives to create direct links between business directions and future talent needs with updated skills and competency requirements for existing roles, as well as new jobs created that match those needs. Employees compete for new jobs with transparent requirements and new opportunities using smart technologies that can automatically match and make both job and development recommendations. Those technologies are selected based on the organization’s desires for specific capabilities and integrations with existing talent systems that enable a robust ecosystem powered by advanced artificial intelligence capabilities.

These technologies are further used to identify career development opportunities that foster a sense of community and shared growth. They expand beyond available formal learning programs by matching employees with internal and external projects, assignments, and other collaborative programs. This collaborative approach enables them to broaden their skills and capabilities in unique and powerful ways, fostering a sense of shared growth and community among the employees. 

At this level, practices focus on a broader array of skill and career development opportunities, most notably those that engage groups of employees with common interests and development needs. By offering scalable offerings in more hands-on, interactive, and social settings, employees can learn from and with each other, building relationships with peers, mentors, and advisors who become a tailored network of resources. Such resources act as long-term development partners inside and outside the organization. 

Emerging career development involves measuring both the process and outcomes, providing a clear set of insights into the execution and success (or lack thereof) of the process. The resulting measurement and reporting not only create valuable insights into the efficiency and effectiveness of various program elements but also offer an opportunity to evaluate the relative return on investment (ROI) and ultimate talent and business value. Analytics further reinforce managerial support of mobility and employee career development planning and action, shedding light on the actual occurrence of mobility among those in targeted talent groups such as leadership successors, high potentials, critical skills incumbents, and diversity employees.

Why use it

Emerging Career Development helps build talent pools more robustly and effectively by increasing the development and retention of the top and most valued employees who seek continuous growth as a measure of their professional progression. Further, mobility that is transparently aligned with long-term business objectives makes it easier to see how an individual's value increases as it develops parallel to the company's strategic direction. It builds an environment of vocational equality, with bias-free matching recommendations for career and development opportunities automatically presented to employees of all backgrounds.

It offers employees of all learning styles the opportunity to engage in development activities that best work for them, mainly through the addition of group-focused offerings. Particularly where those are led or facilitated by experts in career development and skill development in specific career fields, the outcomes can provide uniquely powerful learning experiences for all participants. 

It becomes a more objective exercise that relies on process and outcome measurement, with analytics tracking mobility by job role, function, manager, and employee demographic. Advanced technology illuminating previously unseen linkages between different positions across functional lines further removes prejudice. Development planning becomes much more vigorous and pointed, with more nuanced skill set development identified through artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics.


Adopting these practices leads to a robust and vibrant career development ecosystem laser-focused on meeting current and emerging business needs, more objectively based and bias-free development and career recommendations, and measurable outcomes. It creates an environment of relative freedom to select best-fit career paths and development opportunities, providing more democratic access to meeting individual aspirations for growth and advancement. It supports a culture of mobility and continuous learning and offers opportunities to create bonds with like-minded peers from across the organization and all its functions. It promotes self-actualization and a sense of empowerment that relies more on universal access to resources rather than connections to the “right” people.

Practice guides at this level

Aligning career development strategies to support key business objectives.

Evolving a career development program by directly linking corporate strategic goals and initiatives to the development program and processes.

Auto-generating career opportunities by an AI technology-driven talent marketplace.

Leveraging technology that matches employee data to job requirements and recommends both learning and career paths to achieve career goals.

Expanding career development options to include hands-on and group learning opportunities.

Providing employees with a broader range of learning and development prospects centered on experiential and group options that address different learning styles and preferences.

Measuring process and success outcomes for both career and business impacts.

Assessing trends and potential organizational issues and the return-on-investment (ROI) of career pathing, skills and competency measurement and tracking, and software systems.

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