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1 Simple Way to Help Employees Drive Their Career Development

1 Simple Way to Help Employees Drive Their Career Development


My top tip for helping employees in your organization
feel like they can drive their career is making sure that in the ongoing conversations that
you have between managers and employees that you’ve woven in some sort of a section on
questions about the employee’s interests and development. I use a system I call “the 10-minute questions
conversation”, and there’s a section on the employee’s development. You can see here that there’s questions that
the employee gets to choose what they want to be asked by their manager, so the employee
gets to pick the question. For example, the manager might say, “Gee,
I see you picked ‘What project or task do you wish you could spend more time on?’ Or, ‘What skill would you like to master
or apply more often?’ Or, ‘As you think about your career and
your development, what on the job experience would be most helpful?’ Or, ‘What do you think the team hasn’t
accomplished that you’d like to help out with?’” It’s not a question of “Where do you want
to be in five years?”, because those questions are usually too broad in nature. It’s really helping the employee think about
at this point in time right now, “What’s something you’d like to focus on?” Sometimes managers are intimidated by having
a career conversation with the employee because they’re thinking, “What if the employee
is asking me something that I can’t give to them?” Or that whole conversation of “Where do
you want to be in two years?” Have smaller conversations about what does
the person want to focus on right now? What’s one thing that they feel like they
want to do or get experience with? One organization I was working with, the manager
had said when he asked the employee, “What’s one thing you want to get better at learn
about or be involved in?”, the employee’s answer was, and this is a biotech firm, the
employee said, “I’d like to get into the lab and see how small molecules are made”. Again, a smaller question about at this point
in time, “What’s one thing that you’d like to focus on or be involved in?” is a much
better question than waiting for an individual development plan or once a year talking about
a career or maybe not even having a conversation at all. So, weave those smaller questions into your
ongoing conversations that really help the employee articulate something about their
career, something about their development that they would like to make their manager
aware of.

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