Why Employers Should Have Career Development Conversations With Their Employees (and What To Do About It)

Originally posted on Modern Boss Lady on April 29, 2017

What is the one thing employees consistently say they would like more of from their employers, besides money? Typically, it is help with their career. Sometimes this means they want to explore other job options, they want guidance on deciding what steps to take next, or they want help deciding on what to learn about. Imagine if you, their boss, could help them make successful decisions.

Imagine if you, their boss, could help them make successful decisions. Your employees would love working for you even more. They would be more loyal, more productive, and you would be more in the know on what direction the structure of your team is taking.

Therefore, you should assist your employees as much as possible, but where is it best to begin with helping your employees?

  1. Set up time with each team member individually. Let them know beforehand what you want to talk about. This gives them time to think about what they want to get out of the conversation before it even starts. It would also be a good idea to give them a list of questions you want to go over. Remember to ask open ended questions. You want them to drive this conversation.
  2. Have an open, and honest conversation with each employee. The most important part of this conversation is that you are listening to what your employee is saying. However, if you feel as though they are getting totally off track from where they need to go, this is the time to tell them. They are going to appreciate it much more if you let them know before they put too much time into learning something new, rather than finding out half way through taking a class that they should have gone in a different direction.
  3. Take actionable notes during the conversation. If you ask a question like, “How do you think we could all work better as a team,” and they tell you that better communication from management would help, then write that down. You may find that 3 out of 10 employees give you very similar answers to the same question, and they all are something that you can fix for them. This is something that you should try to start working on right away. Don’t wait until your next conversation with them either. They will soon get annoyed if all they hear is that you’re trying to get started on an action, but there never seems to be any progress. They will feel that the conversations you are having with them are a waste of time, and you’ll quickly be back at square one.
  4. Schedule follow-up conversations. You will need to decide how often you can meet with everyone based on your own schedule, or you may want to put out feelers and see what your team would prefer. Whatever you decide on how regularly you want to meet, make sure you make this a part of your routine.

I know the hardest part is going to be making time for your team members, and it’s going to be even harder to find the time to work on what they need you to do to help them, but if you start this process you will be able to make the desired impact. Your employees will be more grateful, and they will show you by working even harder in the end.


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