Career Conversations

The world of work provides us with many choices. We can choose our employer and the duration that we want to work for that employer. We can choose to join the entrepreneurial trend and be our own boss. As flexible work arrangements become more common, we can choose where to do our work and possibly even when to work. We can choose what learning and development would be most useful. Increasingly as swarming becomes a reality, we can choose what projects to get involved in and what communities to join to develop our brand.

Tin_can_phone_squareCareer choice may start with “what to study after school?” and continues with questions like “should I do honours or get practical experience”, “which employer will provide the greatest learning opportunities?”, “which division should I move into after my graduate programme?”, “what further skill should I obtain?”, “what project team should I join?”, “what development should I do in the next year?” and “what opportunity will allow me to follow my passion or find my purpose?”  on and on the choices go.

Who we are and who we become in our careers is a sum of our choices. More broadly this implies that an organization is a sum of who their people have chosen to be and who they are striving to become. Sadly many of our career choices are made based on short term gain or short term comfort. There is a tendency to choose the job that will pay more now or will allow us to go home earlier or take on easier tasks. Many of your team may be making career choices for short term gain rather than their longer term growth and success. This impacts the team, the company and the community negatively. We all need to be stretching ourselves to increase our skills and knowledge to remain relevant. This will lead to growth in our teams and in our communities.

How can we make better career choices that are more likely to ensure that we achieve the career success that we desire? How can we ensure that our people and our teams are making career choices that allow them to grow, achieve success for themselves and the organisation?

Career Conversations present a good opportunity for managers, human resources and learning professionals to guide and inspire a person to make career choices that allow them to use their potential to the full. A person’s potential is unknowable and an effective career conversation can open up new possibilities including opportunities for growth, new ideas and alternative paths for achieving desired success.

However managers are poorly prepared and under-skilled for these conversations. They often miss the opportunity to stretch and grow their people and as a result their teams. They miss the opportunity to work with the employee to create meaning in their work. They miss the opportunity to tap into a huge internal energy source that becomes available to an employee when they find meaning in their work. They miss the opportunity to align the employee’s objectives with the corporate objectives. You miss the chance to engage the employee further and capture their head, heart and hands.

Managers, besides being very busy, are often conflicted between, in the short term meeting business deliverables AND supporting the person in their growth and developing capacity for the business in the longer term. Because of this conflict of interest and the increasing mobility of workers inside your business, we see the need for upskilling not only the managers but also human resources and learning professionals.

Career Conversations are too valuable to be left unstructured and relying on the natural abilities of the manager. These critical conversations need to be based on a tried-and-tested methodology that works and that enables growth in the person and enables the employee to create meaning in their work. We have found effective Career Conversations methodology supports the person to gain a good understanding of self. It encourages a person to look outward and understand the trends in the world of work, their industry and company. It supports in the creation of possibilities and broader thinking that leads to hope-filled action. It seeks to create a direct link between employee’s purpose (or what for the employee is presently is meaningful) and their daily tasks ensuring the employee is energized and present.

As you and your people have better career conversations, you will notice an increase in ENERGY AND COMMITMENT that comes as people take control of their careers and make choices that lead them closer to the success they desire. JK Rowling said “It is our choices….. that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities”. Effective Career Conversations can improve the choices we make and therefore the person we become.

Our contribution to this challenge;Potential At Work has created L&D interventions to educating managers, human resources, learning professionals on a methodology for Career Conversations. Contact us here to start the conversation.

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