How to have career conversations that make everyone feel included

How often do you have career conversations with your team? Not the standard performance review questions like, “What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months?,” but a conversation devoted exclusively to what your team member wants out of their career and life, and helping them to map it?

For leaders, having the conversations that matter is a key trend that’s shaping the art of people leadership this year. With the changing nature of careers in today’s society — from gig work and remote work to people working longer as they age — employees are increasingly looking at their longer-term career aspirations and including bigger dreams that potentially extend outside their current workplace and into new career areas.

Leaders can either engage in these conversations or be surprised when someone hands in their resignation.

What are the benefits of career conversations?

It’s clear from the data that people want to advance in their careers, rather than feel stagnant.

According to McKinsey’s 2022 Great Attrition study, the top reason for people quitting their company is a lack of opportunities for career advancement. Uncaring or uninspiring leaders also get an honorary mention as a demotivator that drives people away. This suggests that employees don’t just want a boss — they want a coach to guide their personal and professional development.

When done well, career conversations give employees a detailed understanding of where they are now, the dream in the distance, and the opportunities between so they can plan a path forward. The last thing you want is for good people to leave because they don’t know if a dream role might be available in the company or whether they can apply for it. By mentoring your team in this differentiated way, you create the mindset, “I’m developing and my manager has my back. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”

More fundamentally, your people need help to plan their growth trajectory! Certain groups come to work with lots of self-defeating tendencies, whether that’s imposter syndrome, flawed thinking, trying to live up to the expectations of others, or stereotypes of what “someone like them” can achieve in their careers. Well-structured career conversations help employees find the direction they’re craving but they also serve a bigger purpose, and that’s to consciously level the playing field for those who need more guidance towards the options available to them and support to amplify their voice.

Four tips for having inclusive career conversations

This all sounds great on paper. But how can you, as a manager, make sure the people under you are developing to their greatest potential? How can you become an inclusive leader who listens, coaches, presents opportunities and opens doors? The following tips may help.

Read the full article on Medium.