Managers have a responsibility to guide their direct reports in career growth. Use this free career development agenda template to facilitate conversations with team members that encourage long-term growth.
Discuss the current experience to understand people’s motivation and how they think about themselves.
What parts of the job do you find interesting/boring currently?
Self-assessment of the strengths and weaknesses
Discuss the short-term and long-term goals.
What are your short-term goals in career development? (1 year)
What are your long-term career goals? (3-5 years)
Evaluate which skills are needed, whether there are any obstacles, and what help they need.
What are the skills or competencies to be acquired to accomplish those goals?
Do you encounter any obstacles or difficulties?
How can I help?
Outline the action steps and resources for this year to reach the objectives.
List the actions to reach the objective
Did you know that 94% of employees would stay longer in an organization if it invests in their careers? Career development conversations are not only instrumental in decreasing turnover rates but are a great way to build trust with an employee.
A career development meeting is a one-on-one where the manager evaluates the employee’s skills and helps guide them to achieve their short-term and long-term career goals.
Successful organizations have these conversations with employees on a regular basis. When handled right, these conversations provide clarity to the employee regarding their career goals. Besides, they feel more committed to the organization and are willing to put their best foot forward.
Here are a few critical aspects of a career development meeting:
Attendees: This meeting is attended by the manager and their direct report.
Frequency: Research indicates that monthly career development conversations are a great way to boost employee engagement. Some organizations have bi-weekly career discussions too.
Meeting duration: You should block the meeting calendar for 30 to 45 minutes for such conversations.
The content of a career discussion meeting will depend on the employee as well as their performance and potential. However, you need to prepare for each of these discussions in a similar manner and also ask the employee to be prepared.
These meetings focus on growth opportunities for the employee, their goals, the gaps in performance, and how these can be filled.
Now let’s take a look at the agenda template and how it helps you prepare for this important discussion.
This section helps the manager understand their direct report personally and get to know their coaching needs. It also gives an insight into the employee’s strengths, weaknesses, interests, and values.
Knowing all these aspects can help you decide if the employee can handle additional responsibilities. However, you should also keep in mind that many top performers may be happy with their current roles and responsibilities. So, it is good to know what the employee wants. Here are some questions that will help better your understanding of your direct report:
What would be your ideal job?
What, according to you, are the essential values in life?
Are there any aspects of your job that you dislike?
What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?
It is important to discuss ways in which the employee wants to grow in the organization. For instance, not everyone wants to progress to a managerial level, so knowing their short-term and long-term goals help identify growth opportunities.
The employees should know that it is fine if their future goals are not aligned with the current field. It will enable them to discuss their goals openly and without any fear or judgment. Having a conversation about goals will help you know development opportunities for employees to build new skills and acquire knowledge.
Here are some questions to get an insight into the employee's goals.
How would you describe your progress in your career so far?
Can you describe two short-term career goals?
Does this position align with your short-term goals?
Do you plan to go higher concerning the power structure at this company?
What do you hope to achieve in this organization within three to five years?
Both reskilling and upskilling play a crucial role in the company's future and benefit the employees. Career development is not only about filling these gaps but also improving employee engagement.
Are you currently pursuing any learning opportunities?
What are the problems that you are facing in your role?
What skills or training will help you in your job?
How can I assist you in improving your performance?
To lead a productive career discussion, you should focus on how you can enhance opportunities for the employee. Here are a few pointers that will ensure that you get the best out of the meeting:
Start the conversation by explaining your role as a manager in helping the employee with career development. You should assure them that it is a candid discussion and will not affect their performance evaluation. It will put the employee at ease as not everyone is comfortable discussing career aspirations with their supervisors.
Be an active listener and ask questions and summarize the employee’s response to prepare them for the next question.
Share your experiences about your career path and what you have learned along the way. Also, be open to any questions about your experience that the employee may have.
Collaborate with the employee to find solutions and share all the possible resources, so they have all the help.
Don’t forget to document the key points from the conversation for future reference. Conduct regular meetings and periodically re-evaluate the career action plan.
Career development conversations are a great way to demonstrate your genuine interest in the employee’s growth. When conducted routinely, these conversations boost employee engagement and align the employee’s ambitions with the organizational goals.
Share information that involves both teams to keep everyone on the same page.
What are your team’s upcoming plans/projects I should know about?
Any changes in your team members and their responsibilities?
Understand the difficulties teams face and see how we can help each other.
Show your welcome to the new employee and break down the barriers a little.
Tell me more about yourself
What do you like to do outside of work?
Briefly introduce the main job duties, and learn the employee’s expectations.