A career guide for working professionals — Career Bloom

By Shyamal Dave|25th Oct 2012
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There is the lack of engagement in workforce worldwide ("Only just over 35 percent of global workforce is highly engaged.": Tower Watson Study) and its impact on organisations trying to retain talent ("Retention of talent is the second more troublesome area for employers in India, after talent sourcing": SHRM India). This means that about 65 percent of people have career problems, and they generally tend to solve it by changing jobs (which is not a solution for every engagement issue). In the IT industry, sometimes it is not easy to show the value you provide to an organisation that justifies the high salary you get. Salaries have become so high (esp. for senior people) and this puts lots of people in a vulnerable situation when companies fall back to cost-cutting. This points towards a need of advice and support to manage careers better so as to have a successful and happy career.

As a part of their complete strategy, companies offer coaching to their employees at some intervals. We have a plethora of individuals working in the field of professional coaching. Most of the coaches deal with enabling the individuals with a better understanding of work-life balance, in-house relationship management, business etiquettes, et al. This has been one lucrative field for people interested in developing a business in this segment. A new entrant in this segment is Career Bloom.

Career Bloom offers professional coaching to all working professionals in the experience range of 5-10 years to build a career that maximises their talent potential. Through their coaching, they help working professionals chart the course from ‘what they are’ to ‘what they can be’. They help individuals discover their self and their goals, create career plans and milestones, and stay effective at the workplace while they execute on their career plans. "We work with individuals directly, or in the context of their workplace or school (if they are pursuing professional courses to augment their career)" adds Mrityunjay Kumar, Founder, Career Bloom.

“I moved back to India in Feb 2012, after working in the US and China for five years in engineering leadership roles in SumTotal Systems and Microsoft Corp. I have been managing very diverse teams over the last seven to eight years in multiple geographies (India, US, China), and while I got a lot of happiness out of delivering world-class products, I derived more pleasure in helping engineers in my broader organisation align their personal and career goals with company’s goal. I have seen so many careers of otherwise smart people go haywire, and I have also seen equally smart people reaching great heights when they have managed their career proactively (sometimes with my help). I believed that I could make a difference in people’s careers by providing coaching and advice at the right time in their career journey. Career Bloom is an attempt to turn that belief into a business,” says Mrityunjay, sharing his entrepreneurial journey.

For the online service offerings, Career Bloom has tied up with industry professionals who offer their career advice as well as comments on resumes when there is a need to scale. For face-to-face coaching, Mrityunjay is the primary career coach.

Two services offered online are:

Ask a Career Question: A confidential service where one can ask a career question in detail and experts provide suggestions and advice. These are shared only with the concerned person and the answers are not made available to others’ reference as career issues tend to be context-sensitive and private.

Resume Review: Where you can submit your resume for review from experts. Only comments are offered (multiple rounds if needed) regarding the structure, tone, formatting, etc., and samples are shared if required, but resumes are NOT written for the candidates.

When asked about his plans to generate a decent amount of revenue via Career Bloom, Mrityunjay said, “Some early feedback we received from our audience survey was that while everyone felt a need for such a service, almost everyone feels it is hard to show enough value that someone will pay for it! So my initial goal is to get enough people to try the service (while keeping our operational cost low) so that they can see value and remember us when they feel the need for career coaching. We are also actively targeting organisations and offer them customised team coaching services that tie to their retention and engagement goals. This, we believe, will be a more significant source of revenue for us than reaching individuals directly.”

When asked about the challenges that he currently faces, Mrityunjay emphasises more on the value addition that should happen to the customers and to strategise and present this as a business model, by saying, “I think the biggest challenge we have is that people don’t see value in paying for career coaching services. Also, their need for career coaching is satisfied (so they think) by talking to their friends or colleagues. So we need to convert this need into a revenue-generation event, and our strategy is to get enough people to try our service so they can see the difference, and the value; this takes time. Another challenge is to scale a services business like ours which requires human intervention to deliver value. Our thinking there is to learn from consulting companies like McKinsey about scale by converting knowledge into teachable models and hiring smart people who learn quickly and deliver with quality. This will be our target for 2013.”

Over the next three months, they plan to go about testing their service with a small set of clients whom they can reach directly. They are also planning to develop their coaching services for organisations and test out with a client or two. “Next year will be all about applying the lessons learned over the next three months and scale the business, and that is the point when we will look for funding to help us scale and also hire for some key roles,” adds Mrityunjay.

On a concluding note, he shares insights from the experience he has gathered over a long period working in corporate environment at various levels, “I have now worked in the three biggest economies of the world (India, US, China), and I can confidently say that professionals and organisations have similar problems all over the world —how to maximise the talent at their disposal and achieve results that they aspire for. In India, we have a lot of talent that is not utilised fully because individual career goals are not aligned to organisational goals, which results in disengaged employees, leading to loss of productivity and attrition issues. If individuals can be more proactive in their career management and be the CEO of their own career, they can have a significantly more successful and happy career.”

Noble thoughts indeed, give a look at Career Bloom’s offerings!

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