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Managers often not equipped to discuss career development with staff

By Laurie Blake

Thirty-seven per cent of workers never engage in career discussions with their managers, according to a survey of nearly 700 employees by Right Management. Moreover, a further 30 per cent have such a discussion just once a year.

Right Management surveyed individuals across North America and asked: “How often do you engage in career discussions with your manager?” They responded:

  • Never 37.34%
  • Once a year 30.01%
  • Twice a year 17.42%
  • Every three months 15.23%

Conversations on careers and development are frequently a low priority, observes Liz Grant, vice president and national practice leader career management for Right Management. “With so many competing pressures and responsibilities, as well as constant change due to market realities, career management can end up on the back burner for both managers and individuals.”

“While managers might express the importance of employees managing their own careers, the research shows that this concept is unsupported by real action,” says Grant. “Individuals need to take responsibility for managing their own career. Unfortunately, many are not equipped with the information or opportunity to have meaningful career discussions with their managers.”

According to Grant, managers have a key role to play in reaching out to employees. “Career planning can be a great first step in getting employees more broadly engaged. But managers need to be equipped with the tools to discuss career opportunities and create an environment where employees feel valued and want to grow in their roles. If successful, the outcome will be greater job satisfaction, commitment, and even advocacy – all essential for a healthy bottom line.”

Grant suggests that to make these discussions more comfortable for employees, career planning needs to be embedded into the organization’s culture. Career planning needs to be a highly visible, formal process but, unfortunately, many managers are not equipped with the right knowledge and tools, or fully supported by their organizations to conduct these discussions.

“There may be untapped resources among an organization’s employees that are never realized because these discussions don’t take place,” Grant notes.

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Right Management[/a] is the talent and career management expert within Manpower, a global leader in employment services. Right Management helps clients win in the changing world of work by designing and executing workforce solutions that align talent strategy with business strategy. Our expertise spans Talent Assessment, Leader Development, 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% of Fortune 500 companies are currently working with us to help them grow talent, reduce costs and accelerate performance.

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