Keep Talking: The Importance of Career Discussions 

The ways of the workforce have changed dramatically in the last ten years. Whereas before a person would often begin and end their career in the same organisation, today’s workforce is much more fluid, with employees actively seeking opportunities for progression.

Today, research from the Bureau of Labour Statistics has found that employees change jobs an average of 12 times during their careers. So, if you’re a line manager, in order to keep your workforce motivated and your retention rates high, you need to start initiating career development conversations. After all, the success of your organisation depends of the engagement and productivity of your employees.

Career discussions provide your workforce with a clearer sense of lateral or promotion opportunities and offer constructive feedback on their abilities and potential. However, despite HR’s best efforts to upskill managers so they can effectively communicate with their staff, unlocking greater engagement, retention, skill development, internal mobility and productivity continue to dominate the boardroom agenda. Maybe too much focus has been placed on performance management and its negative connotations – or maybe it’s the British stiff upper lip that prohibits us from initiating honest and open discussions. Whatever it may be, there is a solution.

One of the starting points for successful career development conversations is to take a step back and understand the values of your organisation. Why are these values important and relevant? What is it about you and others that has enabled you to thrive and not just survive in an organisation?

In addition to this, it is crucial that you understand the ambitions of your employee. Far too often managers are unaware of what motivates their workforce, which could lead to disengagement and low productivity levels. Adapt your leadership style and take a coaching approach by asking questions about their personal goals and aspirations. Once you understand their ambitions, you can coach and guide them on what needs to be done for them to reach their potential.  

Remember: an individual may not join a company solely because of their line manager, but they will definitely leave a company because of one!

Still not sure how to approach career development discussions? That’s where we come in. Following on from our Talent Motivation and Situational Leadership event, we will be hosting workshops on the 30th April and 22nd May on how to hold a career development conversation.

Book your place today by emailing the team at or give us a call on +44 (0) 203 861 9360.