Blueprinting Career Development

A practical toolbox helps guide the technical community on a strategic career path

 

Promoting Technical Excellence: Career Tracking for Baxter Technicians (A Toolbox) 

THE OBJECTIVE

To offer employees within Baxter’s technical community a blueprint for career development that takes into account the specialized nature of their work – thus supporting Baxter’s larger “Talent Management Initiative.”

IMPLEMENTING THE PROGRAM

Baxter’s technical community is on the leading edge when it comes to the development of health care products and processes. Yet employees and managers felt they didn’t have the tools they needed to define job descriptions and promotion criteria, or to appropriately “coach” career development. The introduction of a market-based pay program in 1998-99 added another layer of complexity ­ especially since the nature of the work done by these engineers, lab technicians and others didn’t fit the models provided.

Instead of asking the HR group to establish specialized performance criteria, four technicians (employee volunteers) decided to write the book themselves ­ literally. With strategic counsel, writing and design/desktop publishing support from The Rodgers Group, these employees created a toolbox for their co-workers. The key element ­ a manual of more than 100 pages ­ includes job descriptions, tracking tools, charts and checklists designed to help Baxter’s technicians better understand career paths available in their part of the company, as well as how to develop the skills required for advancement.

RESULTS

The toolbox piloted in February 2001 and, after a few adjustments to the managers’ piece, was re-introduced in May. Since then, about 80 of Baxter’s 200 Northern Illinois employees have participated in two-day workshops, which offer practical tools and coaching to help employees with their own career and development planning, as well as a look at Baxter’s overall career development philosophy. A separate training session is offered to managers. The Baxter Institute for Learning and Development also brought the materials into its program and supported the development of additional training.

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