How to Have the Career Development Conversation with Employees

Posted by Noel • June 28, 2023 • 7 min read

Having a career development conversation with your employees is essential to investing in them and making them feel seen. After all, most people want to do better and be better in their jobs – it’s why performance management and career counseling are so important!
This discussion can keep employees motivated, engaged, and invested in their careers, even when things aren’t going well. Burnout, disengagement, and “quiet quitting” still happen, even if we don’t hear about them as much on the news.

But what can Human Resources leaders do?

One of the most effective strategies is having career development conversations with them. These discussions create a sense of direction and help identify opportunities for growth and advancement within the company. In this blog post, we’ll dive into these conversations, why they matter, how to have them effectively, and where to find resources to support your efforts.

What is the Career Development Conversation?

A career development conversation is a dialogue between an employee and their manager or supervisor about the employee’s professional goals, skills, opportunities, performance, and development plans. It involves identifying areas for improvement, assessing current skills and knowledge gaps, and discussing potential opportunities for growth within the company. In many cases, it involves discussing someone’s career path and developing a career development process to get them there.

This type of conversation is open to more than just one meeting! It should be a part of your routine meetings and employee check-ins. The goal is to create a collaborative environment where employees feel empowered to take ownership of their careers while receiving guidance from their managers.

By regularly having these conversations, employers can gain insights into what motivates each team member beyond salary increases or promotions. It might surprise you! Sometimes, an employee you thought would have one pathway may be interested in career exploration or working with a career coach internally to move in a different direction. Employees appreciate feeling valued by being asked about their aspirations and ideas.

Career development conversations are essential in helping employees understand how they fit into the organization’s bigger picture and become more invested in its success. Through this process, companies can retain top talent while fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

It’s important to remember that talking to someone about their career journey doesn’t necessarily mean they will start a new job search and find another role. It will often expand their career options within your organization, encourage them to get continuing education credits, or explore their opportunities.

having the career development conversation

Why Having the Career Development Conversation is Important

The career development conversation is a crucial aspect of employee management that should always be addressed. It allows managers and employees to discuss their goals, ambitions, and areas of improvement. Career opportunities are constantly presented to your employees, so you want to know when one pops up within your organization. Here are some other reasons why having this conversation is vital.

It helps in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of employees. When you engage your employees in a career development discussion, you learn what they are good at and where they need help. This information can be used to identify opportunities for growth and advancement within the organization. Even more importantly, you understand what they think they are good at and where they need help. This can help you create experiential learning opportunities, identify mentorship opportunities, enroll them in training, and offer general career counseling to them.

Career Development Conversations Show You Value Your Employees

It demonstrates that you value your employees’ future. Taking time out to have these conversations with them shows that you care about their careers beyond just their current job role. Retention is one of the most critical ways leadership and Human Resources can prove to employees that they care about their career planning and future within the organization. Even providing one resource to make their dreams a reality may be enough!

Having career counseling or helping them to learn more about their opportunities within the organization boosts employee engagement levels by providing transparency around how each individual fits into the larger picture of a company’s strategy over time.

Retain Your Top Talent

Fourthly, it helps retain top talent within an organization because when people feel valued – both personally and professionally- they’re less likely to look elsewhere for opportunities. Knowing that the company they’ve worked for is willing to help them and give them career development opportunities means a lot – they won’t go somewhere else for career growth or have an information interview that could lead to employment elsewhere.

Last but not least, having these conversations encourages open communication between manager and employee, which fosters trust-building among teams leading to better performance results further down the line.

The career growth conversation concerns more than expanding into a specific career field or job title. It’s about knowing the people you lead and becoming their most prominent advocate.

How to Have the Career Development Conversation with Employees

Having a career development conversation with employees can be daunting, but it is essential to help them grow professionally and improve their job satisfaction. Here are some tips on how to approach this vital conversation:

  1. Set up a meeting in advance and ensure you and the employee have ample time to discuss their career goals. Give them your full attention during the discussion and listen actively without interrupting or judging.
  2. Ask open-ended questions such as “What do you want to achieve in your current role?” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?”. Encourage them to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns about their job performance.
  3. Provide constructive feedback based on your observations of their strengths and areas for improvement. Identify potential opportunities for growth within the company that aligns with their interests and skills.
  4. Create an action plan together outlining clear steps towards achieving these goals. Follow up regularly with progress updates and offer support along the way.

Remember that having an open dialogue about career development benefits both employer and employee by improving engagement levels and ensuring mutual growth within the organization.

career development

What to Do After the Conversation

After the career development conversation with your employees, follow up on the discussion. This shows that you value their goals and are committed to helping them achieve them.

One of the first things you should do is review any notes or action items from the conversation. Ensure you understand what your employee wants to achieve and how they plan to do so.

Next, consider what resources or support you can provide to help your employee reach their goals. This could include training opportunities, mentorship programs, or networking events.

It’s also essential to set clear expectations for the next steps. Determine a timeline for when progress will be reviewed and make sure both parties are aware of any deadlines or milestones.

Regularly check in with your employee about their progress toward their career goals. Offer feedback and guidance as needed and celebrate successes along the way.

By taking these steps after a career development conversation, you can show your employees that you’re invested in their growth and success within the company.

Arm Yourself with the Resources Need for Career Development

As an employer, having a career development conversation with your employees is crucial to their growth and satisfaction in their job. By providing them with opportunities for learning and advancement, you are fostering a positive work environment that values employee success. Remember to approach these conversations with empathy, active listening skills, and clear goals for both parties.

After the conversation, following up on any action items or next steps discussed is essential. This can include scheduling additional training sessions or meetings to discuss progress toward career goals.

Many resources are available for employers and employees looking to enhance their career development programs. From online courses to coaching services, investing in these resources can lead to long-term benefits for your organization and individual employees.

By prioritizing career development conversations and utilizing available resources, you can create a workplace culture that values personal growth and professional success.

Interested in helping your employees grow and learn more as they progress? Schedule a demo of Trakstar today to see how performance management and learning opportunities create happier, healthier workforces.

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