Human Resources

Career Conversations: Cornerstone of a Self-Managed Career

In yesterday’s Advisor, Ron Raque, vice president and principal consultant of Right Management, discussed the importance of career conversations and how they can even replace the annual review. Today, Raque elaborates on how these conversations are the cornerstone of a self-managed career along with three essentials for fostering a good environment for career conversations.

One of the top reasons employees leave an organization prematurely is because of lack of engagement. And, more often than not, employees are really leaving their manager, not their company.

Employee retention does not always have to mean more money, benefits, or promotions. Career conversations lay the foundation for engaged, happy employees that want to stay with their organization for a career, not just a job.

Career conversations help your employees to see their careers in bite-sized pieces. Help them to think, “What do I get from this opportunity that will help prepare me for my next project or challenge?” Employee engagement occurs when the employee feels connected to the work he or she does, connected to the manager, and connected to the organization.

By participating in regular conversations outside of just compensation and promotions, managers can help employees see their connection to the organization and understand the importance of their work in driving business outcomes.

Three Essentials for Fostering a Career Conversations Environment

For the career conversations to be successful, it must be supported at three essential levels: the employee, the manager, and the organization.

At an individual level, employees need to be able to answer who they are, where they’re going, and how they’d like to get there. By being engaged in a process that values ongoing, high-touch feedback, employees can gradually take ownership of their career development.

Managers must think about their role in guiding—not conducting or directing—the career conversation. Help create a transformational process, not a “one-shot” event, and allow the opportunity to share experiences and to support each other through peer-to-peer coaching.

Finally, career conversations will lack credibility if the organization does not encourage the process. Top management should ensure that the performance and career development initiatives are aligned with business goals and should provide executive sponsorship and resources to put weight behind the importance of the process.

The single most important step in building a culture of career is developing a robust career conversations process. Organizations benefit when their employees are equipped to take on new challenges and opportunities and are engaged in their work. At the end of the day, an organization succeeds when its employees succeed.

How can you foster a culture of career at your organization?