Career conversations: You don’t own your team.

Career conversations: You don’t own your team.
April 14, 2021 Linda Murray

Organisations are slowly realising that employees don’t “belong” to them; or ultimately, even the organisation. They recognise the approach doesn’t create the most productive use of an employee’s skill set or experience or bring out their best.

The truth is that team members are only on loan to you. Your role as leader is to springboard your team into their future roles, not to expect them to stay in your team until the end of time.

Most people change careers and career trajectory many times in their working life. It’s unreasonable to expect that you will have the same people in the same roles for years to come. In fact, statistics show the average person will change careers 5 to 7 times during their working years and 70% of the workforce is actively looking for a change in career. It will be no different for your team, no matter how well you work together.

Career conversations

You can’t keep your people, but you can make sure they achieve their full potential while they are with you. I have asked this question before but let me ask you again. Are you helping your people to develop their skills so that they become more valuable to your workplace? Are you a partner in your team member’s career development?

I’ve heard some leaders comment that investing in the development of their people is a waste of money because “they’re only going to leave anyway.” I think that’s a backward way of looking at it.

If you work with your people to build their skills and give them the career they want, the organisation will always win. They’ll win with happier, more engaged and more skilled employees while they stay. They’ll win through the improved brand image spread by happy former employees, and soon become an employer of choice.

None of this will happen without having open career conversations. As I’ve said previously, developing talent, and retaining it, is critical. If you want to retain the best members of your team, you need to give them opportunities to learn new skills, develop their talents and advance their careers.

“A career conversation helps you map out the actions you can take to help your people work better with a future focus and experience more enjoyment while doing it.”

How do career conversations benefit the organisation?

  1. You can plan for strategic changes in employees thereby reducing staff changeover time and the costs associated with this process.
  2. It is a simple equation – job satisfaction=higher productivity. Higher productivity increases profit and reduces expenditure.
  3. Allows for greater growth within teams as careers can move in all directions not necessarily forward. Sideways career growth is also vital for upskilling and team expansion and allows for more job fulfilment through new responsibilities. Job fulfilment equals greater productivity.

Why career conversations are vital for employees. 

  1. Job satisfaction. Employees who are heard and supported, work more efficiently and with purpose.
  2. Increased skillsets and greater opportunity for career advancement.
  3. Professional development that takes place as part of the everyday working environment, so the employee always feels valued.

Through career conversations, you will discover what your team members hope for in their careers. Only then can you help them plan a career pathway towards their goals. The pathway might lie with your company or it might lead elsewhere. Trying to stop a person from leaving only creates resentment and poor performance. Helping them get where they want to be creates a team member willing to work on professional and personal development and to give you the best performance possible. It also creates a fan who will spread positive messages to others about the exceptional career prospects your company offers.

Embracing the need to support employees in their growth is not only an essential part of doing business but an essential part of growing a strong and reliable workforce within the organisation and the industry.

Let them grow and let them go. It will be a win-win for your both.

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