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Saying no to the career ladder; specialist career pathways

Video transcript below:
Anna Temple, HC TV
Anna Temple:  More and more companies are asking, has the time come for the industry to rethink traditional career development pathways and increasingly they find the answer to be yes.  Suncorp’s Naomi White believes giving employees the opportunity to specialise instead of ascend to a  people management role is key.
Naomi White, Suncorp Commerical Insurance
Naomi White:  The time is right for the entire industry to rethink traditional career progression.  It’s a tight market for the best talent and every organisation is looking to attract the best talent to join them.  We need to give people choice.  We need people to understand that they have options, they don’t have to lead people, they can decide that they want to build expertise in a particular area.  The breadth of experience that’s required and the breadth of opportunities that’s necessary for specialist roles and people leadership roles can only be gained by people changing the way they think about career development.  There is no longer a career ladder.  Organisations are flatter, those career opportunities are harder to come by if people only see the opportunities as heading upwards. 
We like to consider it more of a career lattice.
Anna Temple:  Part of Suncorp’s employee value proposition according to White is for specialist career pathways initiative allowing employees to make the right choice for them and their career.  
Naomi White:  Suncorp Commercial Insurance considers that one of its main differentiators is the quality of people and the expertise that they hold.  So providing an attractive employee value proposition that allows the best specialists to develop their careers is really important to us.  The specialist career pathways initiative has been very successful for Suncorp.  We commenced it as a pilot in the Specialist Underwriting and Claims areas and it has been embedded so successfully, we are now rolling it out more broadly. 
Specialist career pathway is about allowing people to progress their careers if they do not wish to lead teams of people.  
Historically the only way to get ahead was to actually move into a people leadership role.  Specialist pathways is about giving people choice.  
Anna Temple:  When it comes to rewards and recognition, White explains that Suncorp tries to go above and beyond just pay for performance for their employees.  Especially those with specialisations, exploring different non-monetary rewards.
Noami White:  Suncorp Group has a pay for performance philosophy.  So that applies whether you are in a people leadership role, a specialist role or indeed any employee of the Suncorp Group.  It’s important that our specialist group consider that they have the same opportunities as other senior roles in the Suncorp Group to improve their remuneration and be rewarded and recognised.  We look at the pay for performance philosophy and it applies to them equally, but we also look at non-monetary rewards, access to specialist mentoring programs, access to external events, requiring them to build a profile externally, contribution to white papers, internal communities, access to the best specialists and the best development to learn from, because it’s important to us at Suncorp that anybody in the Suncorp Group learns from the best.  That can be internal or external and that’s applicable to everybody.
Anna Temple:  This is Anna Temple reporting for HC TV.

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