Developing Your Career

Career Conversations Build Trust, Foster Engagement

By Kristen Leverone on April 16, 2012

Research indicates that the average cost of replacing an employee is approximately 2½ times the annual salary for the “new hire.”  Considering this statistic, it definitely makes good business sense to help managers address the top two reasons for turnover and unengaged talent in an organization: lack of a trusting relationship with manager and lack of career opportunities.

Fortunately, career development conversations can help foster a trusting relationship between an employee and manager. They also provide the manager with insight into employees’ goals and values – as well as the frustration that might send them packing. Here are a few tips for getting these essential conversations off the ground: 

  • Set formal meetings to conduct career discussions. Share an agenda prior to a meeting so that your direct report(s) have time to consider responses. For example: identify two or three topics as “conversation starters” to get the ball rolling, such as, “What would be your ideal work?”  “What are your long-term aspirations?
  • During the course of the conversation, ask more specific questions that guide the dialogue and observe verbal and non-verbal cues that reveal underlying issues. 
  • Give the employee time to respond.  Avoid the temptation to “fill the silence.”
  • If opportunities are limited in the organization, discuss enrichment activities or special projects that help the employee to move out of his or her comfort zone.

Once managers develop confidence in conducting career management conversations, they’re often surprised by how much satisfaction they derive from the opportunity to coach team members and help them realize their true potential.

One Response to “Career Conversations Build Trust, Foster Engagement”

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