Increasing employee engagement is something that every organization should strive to achieve. Better engagement means better results, productivity, retention rates, and has all sorts of other benefits. But there are paths to improved employee achievement that very few organizations think to take. Have your leaders considered the power that career conversations can have with your employees? Usually, career conversations have been a somewhat forgotten or rushed aspect of annual performance reviews. A topic that is all too often overlooked as a powerful tool for improving employee engagement. Career conversations occur far too infrequently and usually aren’t conducted as well as they potentially could be.

Growth and development are becoming more of a priority for organizations, which is good because career growth has always been a top concern for most employees. Due to this, organizations are starting to change the way that they handle performance reviews and, thus, career conversations. In fact, many organizations are starting to conduct career conversations with greater frequency.

This makes perfect sense because a conversation about career growth and direction once per year really isn’t frequent enough. In order to keep employees as engaged as possible, career conversations should occur with far greater frequency than once per year in a performance review.

Career Conversations

How Career Conversations Can Boost Employee Engagement

The fact of the matter is, engagement is far greater among employees whose leaders frequently take the time to show interest and talk about their career path and opportunities to advance, learn, and grow. This is very important for organizations to consider when the job market is tight. When employees can more easily move from one job to another, employers need to find the best ways possible to retain their employees and prevent them from moving to other companies. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure your employee experience is as good as possible. The more motivated and engaged your employees are, the more likely they are to stay with your company.

Employees who feel under-appreciated or feel as though they lack opportunities within the company, they work for will be far more likely to quit. Career conversations can be powerful when it comes to increasing employee engagement and showing that your organization cares about their career growth and development.

What to Talk About During a Career Discussion

When planning career conversations with your employees, there are certain topics that you should try to cover. Here, we will go over some top topics to include in your employee career conversations to make sure both leaders and employees get the most out of them.

Try to avoid waiting for the employees to be the ones to bring up a conversation about their careers. Instead, you should broach the topic with them. Be transparent and make it known that you care about them and their future career development.

Your employees should have both a long-term and short-term career vision. This is something that you can help to develop within the career conversation. Try to outline steps they can take every day to ensure they reach both their short- and long-term goals. Remember that reaching those short-term goals is important. It gives a critical boost in motivation on the path to the longer goals.

Work with them to outline the things that they think are their best personal strengths. Then, align those strengths with the job that they do every day.
Offer as much support as possible and make sure that you are clear and forthcoming about the ways in which you, as a leader, will work with them to help them achieve their short and long-term career goals.

Try to help and encourage your employees to find meaning in the work that they do. Having a meaningful connection with their career is a critical component of engagement, growth, and productivity. You can help employees find meaning by helping them see the similarities between their own personal values and the values of your company.

If possible, discuss growth by opening your employees up to different career paths they might be able to take. Remember to consider that not all employees may be interested in moving up into management or leadership roles. Some employees might want to expand their skill set and abilities and more laterally into different types of roles.

Encourage your employees to learn continuously. There is always something new that employees can learn in their current role. Go over with your employees what types of learning and development opportunities they might be able to take in order to help them continue to learn, grow, and excel.

Remember that your employee is a person with a life, goals, and interests that exist outside of work. These days, work-life balance is of utmost importance to employees. It will bode well to remember the ways in which an employee’s home life influences their career and vice versa. Take this into consideration whenever you are conducting career conversations. Are there any ways that you can bring their interests into their work environment and the job they do?

Career conversations that are conducted well and regularly have the power to greatly boost the overall engagement of your employees. It shows that you care about their learning, growth, development, and future. It can even help you to retain employees in competitive environments, which can be critical for decreasing turnover. Career conversations shouldn’t be benched for annual performance reviews. Instead, encourage your leaders to engage in these conversations with regularity. Implement the above tips and try to integrate them into your career conversations. The more you show employees that you value them and their own career path, the greater you’ll find that their engagement will be overall. And better engagement within your workforce only means good things for your company in the long run.