Give Your People Something to Talk About

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By Chad Brantner
August 09, 2022
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Something to Talk About: Career Conversations and Development

In the early 90s, Bonnie Raitt released the hit song, ‘Something to Talk About’ which starts out with the lyrics “People are talkin’, talkin’ ’bout people.”

Even 30 years later, the opening line serves as a reminder that people talk. And usually, they are talking about people.

The “Great Resignation” and the shift to a jobseeker’s market over the past few years, has brought the importance of talking to your people to the front and center of many HR professionals’ minds. We are currently faced with a highly competitive job market, where employees are not only seeking positions where they feel their work has meaning in a flexible environment but are considering these factors nearly as important as compensation. As such, it is critical that employers either place greater importance on having effective career conversations with employees, or risk losing them to organizations who will.

Communication is (Still) Key

The number one reason employees leave their job is lack of opportunity for growth and achievement. Furthermore, nearly half of the employees who do leave for greener pastures note that communication with their previous manager was lacking. What’s even more astonishing, is that almost eight out of ten employees who quit claim that a lack of appreciation for what the work they did was a major reason for why they chose to leave.

Identifying Career Pathways

So, what can organizations do to avoid this from happening to them? And, how can HR and people managers start to talk about their people and what’s important to them?

As an organization, the identification of career pathways is crucial. Not all employees strive to climb the corporate ladder. Some do, but for others, these various pathways could be good conversations to have that might be the difference in retaining an employee or losing them to the competition.

Career Pathways

  • Advancement: for those always looking to “climb the ladder” or for the next promotion
  • Lateral Move: for those who like change, but are not necessarily looking for more responsibility
  • Exploration: for those constantly “exploring” their options
  • Current Job Mastery: for the employees looking to be the “subject matter expert”
  • Job Enrichment: for those who enjoy more stimulating and interesting work

Preparing for Your Conversations

Once your organization has identified a few pathways for employees to consider, you’re done, right? Not quite… 

At this point, HR should be prepared to support both sides of the manager-employee partnership. As the saying goes, “employees don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses,” and it’s even easier to quit your boss in today’s market.

HR should ensure their managers are equipped with talking strategies that revolve around, or speak directly to, the following topics:

  • Holding Effective Career Conversations: While the employee ultimately owns their career development, it is facilitated by HR and their Manager and supported by the organization
  • Re-recruiting to Engage Key Talent
  • Maximizing the Value of Year-End Reviews: Only 14% of employees strongly agree their performance reviews inspire them to improve. It’s critical to make these conversations higher impact and more valuable by preparing managers appropriately.  

On the other side of the table, there are topics that the employee should consider as well, which could include:

  • Managing Your Career: Building Mobility
  • Managing Your Internal Brand
  • Internal Interviewing
  • Holding Your Best Year-End Review
  • Empowered Career Conversations

Talk to your people.  Give them something to talk about. Most importantly, provide the resources for successful conversations and find out what’s important to your employees.

Keystone Partners has extensive experience helping our clients retain their best employees and has been doing so for the last 40 years. Interested in learning how we can help you prepare for and conduct effective and successful career conversations? Contact us today to learn more.

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