University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Stages of Employee Development

Everyone goes through several stages of development as they move from being a career "beginner" to a full expert in their field. Each stage has specific needs and tasks to consider. As you work with employees on development, it can be helpful to look at their stage in order to find the best kind of activities for them. Keep in mind that the stages do not relate to age. If an employee has recently completed a career change, he or she is probably in the "exploration and trial" stage. If, on the other hand, he or she has burned out on his or her career, he or she might be in "disengagement" even though chronologically he or she might be in his or her early thirties in age.

Stages in a Job or Career

Stage Characteristics Needs Tasks
Exploration and Trial Work with regular guidance

Work is routine, detailed
Learn to ask for help

Learn to take initiative
Develop self-image in the job

Becomes a " "
Establishment and Advancement Has own area of responsibility

Work independently

Independence and specialization
Build a reputation

Learn to work independently

Produce significant results
Accept organizational realities

Learn how to cope

Deal with change or lack of it

Learn how to get ahead
Mid Career: Growth, Maintenance, Decline Responsible for guiding others

Use great breadth of technical skill to support organization
Feel disappointment if goals are not achieved

Learn to help others
Develop others through knowledge

Serve as mentor
Disengagement Use experience to provide direction for the organization

Influence decisions
Prepare psychologically for retirement

Learn to accept a different role
Learn to let go

Achieve balance in life

Adapted from the work of Donald Super