This case deals with an overarching problem – a broken career development system – and two concrete manifestations (symptoms) of the problem at CH2M HILL, an employee-owned engineering services company. The first manifestation of the problem was unusually high voluntary turnover, at least by CH2M HILL standards under newer employees. The second was a lack of qualified internal candidates for top jobs. The voluntary turnover problem was the immediate problem. Exit survey data and engageme … Read more »

This case deals with an overarching problem – a broken career development system – and two concrete manifestations (symptoms) of the problem at CH2M HILL, an employee-owned engineering services company. The first manifestation of the problem was unusually high voluntary turnover, at least by CH2M HILL standards under newer employees. The second was a lack of qualified internal candidates for top jobs. The voluntary turnover problem was the immediate problem. Exit survey data and engagement survey data pointed to a lack of promotion opportunities as the main reason for high voluntary turnover among new employees. The second problem was less acute, but still serious. Although CH2M HILL thought of himself as a career employer, less than 25 percent of top managers had been promoted from inside the spring of 2012. Internal candidates were not fill positions near the top and some top positions were free for months, because the right person could not be found for the position, within or outside the company. Both problems suggest the bigger problem needs to be addressed require cross-organizational careers to be reinvented in the company. January Walstrom, chief learning officer had been charged with the reconstruction of CH2M HILL’s career development systems and processes. It occurred to me to determine what steps they could take to solve the overarching challenge of professional development and at the same time the two concrete manifestations in the short term.
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Karen Newman
Source: North American Case Research Association (NACRA)
23 pages.
Release Date: 1 October 2013. Prod #: NA0219-PDF-ENG
CH2M HILL: Reinventing Organizational Careers HBR case solution

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