8 Proven Career Conversations Tips for Employee Career Growth

career conversations tips

Who do you talk to about your career?

Think about some of the big decisions you’ve made over the years.  I’m guessing that during those periods you will have benefitted from talking things through with someone.  My own experience is that career conversations happen very naturally.  They happen everywhere – over drinks, in restaurants, in coffee shops.

But what if it’s part of a development discussion?  Leaders are often wary of having career conversations with employees for fear of getting it wrong or making a mistake.

So here are eight proven career conversations tips.

Career Conversations Tips

There are many things that contribute to a great career conversation

1 Focus on who the employee is, what they want and why.

A good career conversation cuts through the noise to help employees focus on where they’re at and reduce unnecessary stress. Discussing how they feel about their current job and career clarifies matters.  It can help them unload negative emotions.

2 Help them reflect on their experience.

What skills do they like to use? What activities do they enjoy most? What are their values in relation to work? What work environment do they prefer? What people do they enjoy working with?

3 Enable them to gain clarity of direction.

In an effective career conversation, people will reflect on what their ambitions really are. What does success look like for them? Helping them connect their personal values and career wishes ignites their passion.  That can trigger the desire to develop.

4 Develop self-awareness by holding up a mirror.

Good career conversations build confidence. Hold up a mirror so individuals can reflect on their skills and performance. Remind them about the feedback they’ve received from others in the organisation. They then identify what their strengths and weaknesses are.

5 Enable a change of perspective.

An effective career conversation challenges individuals to think differently. It helps them move out of their comfort zone and consider what opportunities are available to them. Those opportunities might be in their current role or elsewhere in the organisation.

6 Aid their decision-making.

Quality career conversations help individuals evaluate different alternatives.  Help them look at the pros and cons and make a decision. Or at least gain greater clarity about where they want to go and the development they need to get there.

7 Build networks and organisational understanding.

People often need support in navigating the processes and politics of the organisation. Career conversations can help them develop an understanding of how things are done ‘around here’.  They can think about how to raise their profile and be more visible to key people. And they can help them work out how to crack the system for moving to a different role if that’s what they want to do.

8 End with action.

Good conversations usually lead to action.  What career development strategies can employees use to make progress? What actions can they take? And they’ll also agree on how they’re going to check in and review progress.

If you’d like more career conversations tips, download your free eBook, “It’s Good to Talk! A Practical Guide to Career Conversations in the Workplace.”

You may also be interested in our manager’s guide to career conversations and our Career Conversation Toolkit. together, they will help you Engage, retain and develop your employees through effective career conversations in 20 minutes or less.

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