The Eight Dimensions Of The Multi Dimensional Career Framework That Shows What Employees Really Want

The Eight Dimensions Of The Multi Dimensional Career Framework That Shows What Employees Really Want

As the workplace and the workforce continue to morph, understanding what people are looking for in and from their work has taken on greater significance. When we understand interests and motivations, we’re able to offer an employee experience that generates engagement, taps discretionary effort, promotes productivity, and ensures the retention of top talent.

Our third annual report, Career Development Today: What People Really Want, sheds much-needed light upon what employees prioritized last year and offers organizations and leaders important insights to drive talent-centric strategies and actions this year and beyond.

Data collected in 2023 from more than 3600 respondents worldwide offer a snapshot of the level of interest employees have in the eight dimensions that make up the Multidimensional Career Framework: Contribution, Competence, Connection, Confidence, Challenge, Contentment, Choice, and Climb.

A Bar Graph That Shows What Employees Really Want

What employees are looking for

Since our original pandemic-era study to support my most recent book Promotions Are SO Yesterday, one thing remains clear: When it comes to growth and development, people are looking for considerably more than a new role, title, or promotion. From the beginning, Climb (shorthand for Moving up the corporate ladder) has ranked eighth out of eight in aggregate in terms of survey respondent interest. However, last year, Climb actually appeared dead last in all demographic categories we evaluated – across ages, genders, levels, and industries. This remains helpful and hopeful news for organizations and leaders who want to leverage more intrinsically motivating resources since they have fewer and fewer extrinsically motivating options like promotions to pass around.

Another consistent finding is that in the aggregate, interest in Contribution continues to top the chart. We have a deep human need to add value, make a difference, be of service, and live on purpose – something that can be leveraged toward powerful individual and organizational results.

Competence is holding its second spot in the rankings. People understand that the pace of change is only accelerating. They believe that the half-life of skills is shrinking. And a commitment to ongoing, continuous learning – whether upskilling, reskilling, or pre-skilling – is the only way to future-proof a career.

Given current levels of stress and burnout and the mental health crisis in the workplace, it’s not surprising that Contentment (a desire for greater meaning, satisfaction, ease, and balance) continues to take on greater importance to employees. Whereas Contentment rose to rival the second most interesting dimension (Competence) last year, it actually overtook it for two demographic segments: females as well as manager level and above in the organization. (Supervisors and individual contributors continue to prioritize Competence over Contentment.)

And, perhaps due to shifting labor market dynamics or the uncertain but clearly growing role of AI, interest in Confidence (that sense of trust and assurance in our ability to perform predictably and with ease) is on the rise as well, approaching and perhaps getting ready to overtake Competence in the future (as it did last year for those in the 60+ age range last year).

Interest in Challenge has dropped considerably since our research began, last year to nearly the same lower levels as Connection and Choice. Consistent pressure to do more with less may be causing employees to pursue other goals and avenues for development beyond continuing to raise the bar.

For younger employees (20-29 years), Connection rose slightly in the ranking over Choice, whereas for males, Choice beat out Connection in 2023. Industry analysis offered only minor variations with one exception: the government sector. While these respondents continue to rank Climb last, their top three rankings of Contentment, Confidence, and Competence paint a very different picture of interests when it comes to their work and development.

What does this mean

This research offers an eye-opening view of the range of ways people want to engage with and develop within their work. It challenges the default assumption held by many leaders that everyone wants a promotion and opens the door to a new, deeper, and more opportunity-filled conversation with employees – conversations that can contribute to the experience of fulfillment and growth that people crave – and the organization’s need for sustainable success.

Want to help your employees better understand their interests? Want to understand your own? This complimentary self-assessment offers personalized feedback, insights, and possible development actions.

The post You May Be Surprised at What Employees Really Want appeared first on Julie Winkle Giulioni.

Julie Winkle Giulioni Author, Speaker and Consultant

Julie Winkle Giulioni is a champion for workplace growth and development and helps executives and leaders optimize talent and potential within their organizations. One of Inc. Magazine’s Top 100 speakers, she’s the author of Promotions Are So Yesterday: Redefine Career Development. Help Employees Thrive and the co-author of the international bestseller, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Organizations Need and Employees Want, translated into seven languages.

Julie is a regular columnist for Training Industry Magazine and SmartBrief and contributes articles on leadership, career development, and workplace trends to numerous publications including The Economist.

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