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Career discussion is similarly implicated in many of the top drivers of engage- ment itself. Among the nearly 100 statements correlating with engagement, our study identified the following as the top 10 individual drivers:

  • 1.

    I am committed to my organization’s core values

  • 2.

    Our customers think highly of our products and services

  • 3.

    My opinions count

  • 4.

    I have a clear understanding of what is expected of me at work

  • 5.

    I understand how I can contribute to meeting the needs of our customers

  • 6.

    I have been fairly rewarded

  • 7.

    Senior leaders value employees

  • 8.

    Everyone is treated with respect at work, regardless of who they are

  • 9.

    I can concentrate on my job when I am at my work area

  • 10.

    My personal work objectives are linked to my work area’s business plan

While career discussion itself does not make this list, it presents clear opportunities to activate most of the drivers that do. Career discussion can be used to explore and foster commitment to the organization’s core values (#1); demonstrate that the opinions of the employee count (#3); clarify what is expected of the employee at work (#4); explain how the employee can meet customer needs (#5); show that senior leaders value employees (#7); demon- strate that the organization treats employees with respect (#8); and link work objectives to the business plan of the employee’s work area (#10). No fewer than seven of the top 10 drivers of engagement can be addressed through career discussion.

best prActice Advice

How can organizations make the most of the opportunities career discussion offers? How should managers approach it to maximize its contribution to career development and its impact on employee engagement? As a starting point, we offer the following practical advice:

initiate discussions regularly and often. In a recent poll, Right Manage- ment asked 659 U.S. respondents how often their managers engaged them in career discussion. Thirty-seven percent, the largest segment by far, responded, “never,” while a further 30% said that they engage in such discussions only once a year. A mere 15% reported participating in career discussions quarterly. Given their substantial benefits, career discussions should be part of a formal process and held regularly. Creating and sponsoring a formal, planned program of career discussion presents the organization and its senior leaders with a signifi- cant opportunity to demonstrate that they value and respect employees.

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“No fewer than seven of the top 10 drivers of engagement can be addressed through career discussion.”

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