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Agile Career Development

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Agile Career Development

Lessons and Approaches from IBM

IBM Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Companies thrive when their employees grow. Thus, business development depends on effective career development.

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  • Applicable


IBM’s long-standing president, the legendary Thomas J. Watson Sr., and his son and successor, Thomas J. Watson Jr., always made sure IBM workers could advance in their careers by offering them superior employee development programs. Indeed, in his McKinsey Foundation Lectures, Watson Jr. contended that such visionary programs, plus other IBM traditions, contribute heavily to the corporation’s success – even more than its remarkable technological achievements or much-copied organizational structure. IBM career development experts Mary Ann Bopp, Sheila Forte-Trammell and Diana A. Bing (now retired) explain the company’s ongoing programming. They discuss what it does, why and how, even if that necessitates making some areas of their manual a little heavy on lists. getAbstract recommends this detailed picture of IBM’s superior career development activities to any human resources professional.


Career Development the IBM Way

Companies that want to compete must invest in developing their employees’ career capabilities and expertise. This is particularly true in today’s business climate, where management is complex and demanding, and economic conditions are increasingly challenging. To stay ahead, companies must be “agile” in all areas, including employee learning and career development.

IBM has long been a leader in employee career advancement. As it has grown and evolved over time, so has its employee-training package. Delivering a top-quality, flexible – or agile – career-development experience is vital to keeping employees engaged so that your company can retain good people. Superior career advancement programming gives employees the knowledge, skills and expertise the organization needs them to have. Career development is a subset of talent management, which has six main elements:

  1. “Develop strategy” – To be useful, career development must cooperate with and support company strategy.
  2. “Attract and retain talent” – To hire and keep good people, offer them appealing opportunities. Once they are onboard...

About the Authors

Mary Ann Bopp is in charge of career development at the IBM Center for Learning and Development, where Sheila Forte-Trammell is a learning consultant. Now retired, Diana A. Bing was IBM’s director of enterprise learning.

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