A Manager’s Guide to Career Conversations

Staff are expected to manage their careers, but they still need help from managers. As conducting a career conversations may be new territory for a manager, I have written a short guide to take managers through the key steps.

A Manager’s Guide to Career Conversations covers these topics:

  • Why career development is important
  • Career management impacts staff engagement
  • What is an effective career conversation
  • Qualities and skills needed for career conversations
  • Three-stage career conversation process
  • Content of a career conversation
  • Tools to aid career conversations
  • Issues that can arise during career conversations
  • Thinking about your career conversations

The Guide encourages a strengths-based approach and links career management to retaining and engaging staff.

Career conversations help staff with gaining:

  • a clearer sense of career direction and what to do next
  • increased self-insight, a more realistic view of abilities, strengths and weaknesses
  • better information about career options and job moves
  • increased confidence and motivation
  • clarity about what is really important
  • advice to help explore career options and plan action
  • views on how far a person can go in an organisation
  • insight into politics – how things are done, how to raise one’s profile, how to be more visible to key people, how to increase one’s influence
  • opinions about the pros and cons of choices
  • help with applying learnings after career development opportunities, sharing knowledge, using new skills and knowledge on the job
  • useful contacts.

The Guide provides a three-stage process so you know how to prepare, what to talk about, and who does what afterwards. Unless you volunteer to take action, most of the doing is done by the staff member, so there is no need to worry that having these conversations will generate a lot of work for you.

The section on issues explores some of the matters that can arise and create tensions or discomfort. For example issues concerning expectations, boundaries, trust and honesty can be tricky if not considered in advance.

While a career conversation can seem straightforward on the surface, you could find yourself sliding out of your depth. The Guide therefore provides eight tools to help with exploring a staff member’s career.

Another advantage of the Guide is that it gives you a fast way to boost your knowledge and skills without investing hours and hundreds of dollars in a training program. To obtain your copy visit the Product Store.

Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.