Formalizing Career Management Conversations is Good Business

Guest Contributorby Neil Shah | Posted | Career Management

Formalizing Career Management Conversations is Good Business

Today’s post comes from Neil Shah, Implementation Consultant and Product Sales Specialist at Halogen Software. In this article Neil explores the importance of supporting employee career progression and shares some tips for doing this with the Halogen TalentSpace™ suite.

Many of the organizations I deal with express a desire to increase employee retention.

One great way to increase employee retention is to give employees a structured opportunity to discuss their career aspirations. Formalizing and documenting discussions about career progression can have rewarding benefits for employees. And it also helps the organization build an inspired and aligned workforce.

Despite growing opportunities in the job market, many employees are looking to find career advancement opportunities within their existing organization. Some may be at the top of their game in their current role and are looking for a new challenge. Others want to move up in the organization. And engaging in a discussion with employees about potential career paths in the organization, then helping them achieve their goals can help ensure they stay with the organization.

Start the conversation about career plans

Career discussions are often revealing. The employee's manager, and the organization overall, may not be aware of the employee’s career aspirations or goals. You can use the discussion to align the employee's career plans with the organization's vision and goals, review the opportunities that are available, and discuss the development and actions the employee needs to undertake to achieve their goals.

The revealing doesn’t stop there… think about how these discussions could potentially help with filling vacancies in the organization. The benefits are clear: you have an on boarded, engaged employee ready to take on a new role in your organization and fill a recruitment gap.

Career paths don't just go up

Traditional career planning has been about upward mobility through an organization's hierarchy. Career paths were often designed based on the vertical movement of an employee up a career ladder.

Well, times have changed!

Organizations have flatter hierarchies than they did 10 years ago. This flattening means that there are fewer opportunities to move up the organization.

And an employee may not want to become a manager or leader, preferring to be ‘in the team’ or to use their core skills in another part of the organization. So it's important to demonstrate that opportunities also exist horizontally.

How can the Halogen TalentSpace suite support career management discussions?

Career management discussions often take place ad hoc, with no formalized process for encouraging them. When the conversations do happen, managers may not have the necessary tools at hand. So it's important to provide a framework so that every employee has a fair opportunity to discuss their career aspirations.

With Halogen Performance™, you can easily create a separate process to formalize career management discussions and associated development planning. Alternatively, you can add a career management section to your performance review form so the discussion and development planning take place as part of your regular performance management process.

Either way, providing a comment field to capture notes from the discussion, and a space to document development plans and activities whose focus is to prepare the employee for career progression is important. You could also include questions to help prompt the discussion. For example: "In five years, what role would you like to be playing in the organization?" And you might want to include a list of your organization's talent pools, and allow the manager and employee to indicate which ones the employee is interested in being a part of.

With Halogen 1:1 Exchange™ you can include a conversation starter question that asks about career aspirations to prompt a regular discussion about career plans. If an employee is assigned career development plans and activities, these will automatically get added to their regular one-on-one meeting agenda, so the manager and employee can review progress.

Building a career plan

With Halogen Job Description Builder™, you can make your library of job descriptions accessible for managers and employees to browse. That way, they can explore the competencies, skills, experience and qualifications required for other roles in your organization. This will help them to plan their career development activities and also allow them to vet whether a role is a suitable career step.

As part of your career planning process, you can ask the employees to update their talent profiles with key information that the organization may not be aware of, such as skills that aren’t related to their current role and even any courses they are doing outside of the organization. And you can invite them to search for people already working in a desired role so they can network with them, or engage in a discovery discussion about the role.

The Halogen® Myers-Briggs® module allows employees to explore jobs and roles that might be particularly well suited to their personality type using their MBTI as a guide.

Finally, when a new position opens up, HR and the hiring manager can support internal mobility by using your talent profiles, and Halogen Succession™, to search for qualified candidates from within the organization.

Internal career progression benefits everyone

Supporting employee career development and progression can help your organization to:

  • Improve employee engagement
  • Fill difficult to fill or key strategic positions with internal candidates
  • Increase employee retention

And the Halogen TalentSpace™ suite has lots of tools and features to help managers and employees discuss and prepare for career progression.

Your turn: How do you support employee career development and progression in your organization?

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