Developing Employees: Good Career Development Questions to Ask

good career development questions

Career development discussions are just that – developmental.  They are a way to build on progress so far and continue a person’s career growth.  Even though they are positive conversations by nature, they are not without their challenges.  So what are some good career development questions to ask?

Good Career Development Questions for Challenging Situations

Two career development discussions are particularly challenging:

1. How do I develop employees who are happy in their role and don’t want to progress?

The important thing here is to avoid generating dissatisfaction in an employee who is happy!  The main topic to explore is whether they could be any happier at work and to discuss what would be needed to make that happen.

The Career Platform questions help you do that so let me share what they are and what they’re designed to do.

The Career Platform is a good starting point for a career discussion.  The purpose of the questions is to build trust.  The employee must feel listened to and that their situation is understood and acknowledged.

Suggested questions are:

What is going well in your current role?

What would you not want to change?

What would you like to be different?

If they identify something that would like to improve, you can then move on to discuss how possible that is and much influence they have over the situation.  Two more questions explore how much they want to improve the situation and how willing they are to do something about it.  They are:

What would be the benefit of the change?

Who else would be affected?

These questions can add to their motivation and enthusiasm to continue.

If there really isn’t anything they want to be different or they’re not willing or able to take action, then it’s best to accept that.  Instead of development and progress, it might be worth discussing how to sustain and maintain the current level of satisfaction in the face of possible changes.

2. How do I manage ambitious employees who are impatient for promotion?

This is a question I was asked at a recent webinar.  Again, the last thing you want to do is dampen ambition.  Its great that you have employees who wish to grow and progress.  But you also need to manage their expectations so you can keep them engaged and motivated.

My first recommendation is to revisit the last email which talks about Future Success and encourages a focus on the desired work experience rather than limiting ambition to a grade or job title.

My second recommendation is to focus on progression rather than perfection.  Ask questions that emphasise how much they have grown (even if their job title or grade hasn’t changed).  Questions like:

Where are you on a scale of 1 to 10?

What progress have you made?

What helped you make progress?

What have you learned?

What is the next step you can take to continue progress?

Review regularly so you can highlight progress and the achievement of different milestones and markers on the way the success they are looking for.

Check out the Career Conversation Toolkit to find out how you can get your own set of good career development questions to ask.

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