Productive and pro-active career path discussions – they’re important!
At the IPM we cannot stress the importance of career pathways enough. We are always championing our members to think about and take action in relation to their continued professional development and career growth. In fact, in order to be a professional member of IPM and to use our Professional Designations (letters that can be used after your name), you must commit to regular professional development activity. This is mandated by SAQA – the South African Qualifications Authority.
In this post we would like to ask how as HR Professionals you champion career pathways within your workplace. Because it can start in a very simple place, as outlined in this article ‘5 ways to manage employees along their career path’:
‘have a career pathway discussion with your employees’.
Supervisors and managers can provide feedback and guidance on career futures, and the benefits of productive pro-active career path discussions are numerous. If only we’d open up those conversations a little more. Talking to workers about their future can nurture growth and development, increase engagement and boost productivity. Career pathway discussions assist the employee to understand the bigger picture and longer term plans of the organisation, and where they might play a role. As we outlined in our blog, “Why your employees leave you and what to do about it”, it can also stop valued employees leaving.
Here are 5 tips for productive pro-active career path discussions:
1. Meet often. Don’t just talk about career path once a year, make it a regular conversation. That shows genuine interest and commitment. It might also surface development options in unexpected places as opportunities arise.
2. Clarify career objectives. Ask questions to help clarify, such as, what the longer-term career goals are, what they enjoy doing, where they feel their strengths lie. You can better assist someone if you both know the objectives you have set. You can then also ask ‘How can I support you?’
3. Recommend and provide learning opportunities. Get creative about making learning available that aligns to career path and business objectives. How can your employee and your team, unit or division benefit from additional earning provided?
4. Mentoring and connection. This is another area we keep talking about at IPM! Release knowledge in your networks – provide access. Who else in your organisation, industry or wider network could provide guidance or insight? Have you thought about taking a new recruit or aspirant practitioner to a networking event with you?
5. Don’t try to be a career counsellor. Opening up the conversation and providing access to development opportunities because of what you know can be invaluable for employees. Showing you care goes a long way. Ultimately the responsibility for taking the next steps lies with the individual – don’t discourage that sense of personal agency in your employees.
‘… have high hopes for your company’s future, … have hopes for your employees’ futures with your company.’
What are your ideas for making productive pro-active career path discussions a regular part of your company practice?