Why Managers Need to Have Regular Career Conversation

When managers and workers open up to each other about their aspirations and future goals, a culture of learning develops and everyone benefits.

There’s a huge amount of automation and digital advancement that’s coming into the workforce today. The only way that organizations can be well prepared for this future of work is by upskilling and expanding, acquiring skills to stay relevant and preparing to think about what the jobs of the future will look like. 
 
To do that, managers need to start talking.Research by Right Management found that two-thirds of managers are failing to support their employees’ career development. But as we think about developing the workforce of tomorrow, career conversations today are crucial. 
 
One of the ways to enable a learning culture in organization is involving managers. We know from research that in an organization, managers set the tone and model the behavior that learning is a priority. 
 
Organizations need to invest in employee development for their workforce to be better prepared for this future. It’s not just for today, it’s preparing for tomorrow. 
 
Embedding career conversations into a company’s organizational culture 
 
There are two main benefits to having regular career conversations: They help enable a learning culture, and there is a direct correlation with higher employee engagement and productivity. In a Right Management survey, 82 percent of respondents said they would be more engaged in their work if their managers would have regular Career Conversations with them. 
 
If managers are not having their career conversations, employees are not going to see growth and they won’t know what opportunities to explore. Organizations will lose those employees because they are not in sync with their aspirations. Managers play an important role to really take ownership of their career. 
 
There is a positive relationship to employee engagement and career conversations on a regular basis. You have higher productivity and engaged employees, because workers are thinking about becoming a better version of themselves. When employees actively think about career aspirations, then productivity, engagement and higher retention is the outcome. 
 
Stages of the career journey 
 
One way to visualize a career is through the idea of learning journeys. A new employee has a learning journey, and so does someone who has been at the organization for 10 or 20 years. They just have different training needs at different times. 
 
The softer skills are important, but at certain stages learning is also around functional and technical abilities that need to be absorbed on the job. What thinking about careers as a learning journey can accomplish is mapping and integrating softer skills and technical skills over time, and visualizing how that will come together.  
 
What a manager can do is help employees understand where they are in the learning journey for their career. In the short term and the long run, that benefits everyone. 
Author: Priya Khosla, Senior Learning & Development Consultant at LinkedIn, APAC