Engaging Employees through Career Planning

Performance

November 21, 2022

Garrett Genest

X min

5 min

For managers, career planning can be one of the most challenging things to do well. Often, employees will look to their managers for guidance on how to learn and grow in their career – and in a world where it can feel impossible to find the time to stop and find the time to think about what’s next for someone else, it can be easy to let career planning slide... until it’s too late.

Garrett Genest, Director of Growth at Kudos, the leading employee recognition platform, gives his advice on career conversation.
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For managers, career planning can be one of the most challenging things to do well. Often, employees will look to their managers for guidance on how to learn and grow in their career – and in a world where it can feel impossible to find the time to stop and find the time to think about what’s next for someone else, it can be easy to let career planning slide... until it’s too late.

Prior to the pandemic, according to Indeed.com, three of the top six reasons that people left their jobs were related to career progression:

  • Needing more of a challenge (#1)
  • Looking for a higher salary (#2)
  • Searching for job growth or career advancement (#6)

While the pandemic has resulted in a tectonic shift that has brought workplace culture, recognition, and other factors to the forefront, it has not changed the fact that employees wanting (1) to be challenged, (2) higher pay, and (3) career progression remain a deficiency in many organizations.

Career planning can be looked at as an advanced method of employee recognition. It requires understanding, along with strong and open communication and trust.  

Of course, if your organization suffers from workplace culture issues, or lack of basic employee recognition, those issues should be addressed first and foremost. Creating an environment where employees feel safe and seen is a critical first step to helping them envision their longer-term future with your company. Once you’ve nailed down the basics, if you want to engage your employees, it’s important to think about how your managers are running career planning sessions.

Author of Radical Candor, Kim Scott and her Candor Inc. Co-Founder Jason Rosoff provide an excellent foundation for career planning which follows this approach:

  • Employee history – spend some time getting to know how each employee has arrived at this point in their career.  
  • Employee ambition – get to know your employee’s ambitions (both personal and professional)
  • Action plan – Develop a career action plan; Who does what and when?

Every step in this process is vital, but the most challenging part is the second step. It’s easy to ask an employee what they want to achieve in their career – they probably answered that question during their job interview. The thing is, ambitions change, and often there are deeper goals and objectives that your team members might be holding back.

To help you perform a discovery meeting with your team members, we’ve put together a simple list of questions that you can use to discover what your team’s ambitions are, what excites them and what scares them. Get your copy of the worksheet below.

[Download Your Free Worksheet]

Once you’ve fleshed out a clear understanding of each team member’s goals and ambitions, it becomes 1000x easier to come up with a career action plan that aligns with their goals. Does your team member want to become an executive one day? Maybe give them more opportunities to speak in front of audiences and to present department results. Do they want to start their own consulting business? Try encouraging them to study and take the certifications that they’ll need to someday go out on their own.

There’s no need to sugarcoat it. One day your team members will probably move on from your organization in search of new challenges and new adventures. Your job is to ensure that when they leave, they feel like they have had the greatest career growth while working with you. They might even decide to come back to your company in the future! Career planning is as much a necessary factor in employee engagement, as it is for your employer brand.  

Ultimately, by doing the work, discovering what your people aspire to, and accelerating them towards those goals, you’ll increase the value that they deliver while they work at your company, and they’ll be an advocate for you and your business well after they move on to the next step in their career journey.

About Kudos

Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform, that harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication to help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Kudos uses unique proprietary methodologies to deliver essential people analytics on culture, performance, equity, and inclusion, providing organizations with deep insights and a clear understanding of their workforce.

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