Get Comfortable with Having Career Development Conversations

By Natanya Rutstein

image1Ongoing Career- and Development Planning vital to the successful implementation of continuous performance management. The problem, however, is that very often managers avoid these conversations for the exact same reasons that they dislike appraisals – lack of training and a fear of talking about career progression in case it raises expectations they cannot fulfil!

A Necessity

Talented and highly skilled employees have numerous options available to them and organisations want to provide them with an experience that will retain them for longer in the organisation. Conversations about employee potential, individual aspirations and the scope for individual development opportunities are an absolute necessity in creating a meaningful experience for employees and boosting their performance in the process.

Developing Multiple Skills

Employees are constantly seeking to develop new skills and build their experience to take advantage of creative and new ways of working. To facilitate career progression your talented employees need meaningful feedback and encouragement together with relevant development. By having these regular and meaningful career conversations your employee’s will be motivated to seek career growth and longevity within the organisation.

How Often Should You Have Them?

At Google managers are encouraged to have regular and dedicated career conversations on a quarterly basis. They recommend that managers prepare for a career development conversation by thinking about some of the following:[1]

  • What is the team member’s performance and trajectory?
  • What kind of work do they enjoy doing?
  • What kind of work do they do well?
  • What are they currently doing?
  • What does the organization need them to do?
  • What is one area for development?
  • What type of career development support do they want?
  • What would help this person feel valued?

[1] Hold effective career development conversations,

The GROW Model

To help managers structure career conversations with their teams, Google uses the GROW model as one tool to guide the process. You can download the Career Conversation Worksheet on Google’s re:Work site to assist you in preparing for and conducting effective career development conversations.




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