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use career discussion to empower employees. While any career discus- sion is better than none, career discussion is most effective when it helps empower employees. Career discussion can play a central role in helping employees take control of their own development. It’s a means by which managers can help employees map a career path by exploring their talents, desires and aspirations.

use career discussion to align talent with strategy. Employees are mobilized by purpose: they want to find interest, challenge and meaning in their work and they want to be able to help the organization meet its strategic goals. Career discussion can help employees understand how they can progress in the organization. And at the same time, managers can communicate the needs of the organization and ensure that employees’ development goals are aligned with these needs.

career discussions should encompass not only skills and capabilities, but career interests. To make sound decisions about where you want to go in your career, you need an objective perspective of where you currently are. Career discussion should include an element of performance to ensure career goals are grounded in the reality of the employee’s skills and capabilities. While employees and managers need to talk about these, it is also very important to include a discussion about the employee’s interests. The key is to emphasize actions and behaviors, not traits. Employees who have a clear sense of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their interests and what the organization expects of them will have a better idea of the direction their development should take.

take a broad approach to career discussion. Don’t focus too narrowly on the nuts and bolts of development itself. Career discussion is an occasion to help guide employees to a better understanding of themselves and the organization’s changing needs. For example, employees who better understand their own values, as well as the values, mission and strategy of the organization, are more likely to be engaged by their organization and job.

Meeting tHe developMent cHAllenge

According to Talent Management magazine, 60% of organizations report that developing talent is their greatest talent management challenge. A program of regular, structured career discussion can make an important contribution to meeting this challenge and driving engagement. Career discussion not only helps employees acquire performance-enhancing capabilities, but also helps motivate them to put their skills to optimal use–with clear benefits for the organization. Career discussion is truly talk that performs.


About the Author Melvin J. Scales is Senior Vice President for Right Management’s Global Solutions team with responsibility for overseeing the firm’s Workforce Transition and Outplacement solutions portfolio. He can be reached at melvin.scales@right.com.

About Right Management Right Management (www.right.com) is the talent and career management expert within Manpower, the global leader in employment services. Right Management helps clients win in the changing world of work by designing and executing work- force solutions that align talent strategy with business strategy. Our expertise spans Talent Assessment, Leader Devel- opment, Organizational Effectiveness, Employee Engagement, and Workforce Transition and Outplacement. With offices in over 50 countries, Right Management partners with companies of all sizes. More than 80 percent of Fortune 500 com- panies are currently working with us to help them grow talent, reduce costs and accelerate performance.

© Right Management 2010. All Rights Reserved. www.right.com 1.800.237.4448

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