The Hidden Secret to Successful Employee Development

Is there someone at work who encourages your development?  That’s one of twelve questions asked by Gallup in their State of the American Workplace report.  Corporations spend millions of dollars trying to increase employee engagement but little, if anything, changes.

Money can’t match the intrinsic value that a thoughtful conversation provides with those you supervise.  Taking time to show genuine interest about the career aspirations of employees is, without a doubt, one of the most economical and meaningful actions any leader can take.  When employees know their supervisors care about them, they give discretionary effort and go beyond what would normally be exerted.  Thus, both the employees and the organization grow together, and together they can grow more effectively. 

The Hidden Secret to Successful Employee DevelopmentA client of mine who not long ago landed a coveted six-figure communications position called to share how elated, but shocked, she was.  To her amazement, her supervisor of six months invited her to lunch and asked what her career ambitions were, including if she would be interested in the superior’s position sometime in the future. 

My client went on to say no one had ever had this type of conversation with her and how truly appreciative she was that the topic had been presented.  Not only did she feel valued, but her engagement and focus on her professional development accelerated as a result of the conversation. 

Many employees are not as fortunate and find themselves “going through the motions” in their jobs.  While they may be performing their work adequately, too often they have become bored and stagnant in their role.  In all probability, they have aptitudes and interests that have not been explored and thus, are not benefiting the organization.

As a leader in your organization you have the opportunity to directly impact the engagement of your employees. Start with a simple, but genuine, conversation about their career aspirations.  You can ask – “How would you like to see your career evolve?  In what other roles are you interested?  What do you need to grow professionally?  What strengths and skills do you have that you would like to use more often?”  

Questions like these opens the doors to possibilities and growth for both the organizations and your employees.  Taking action to further an employee’s development reaps invaluable rewards for everyone.

Shirley Triller is Vice President of Talent Management. She is an executive coach and leads the firm's career transition and leadership development practices. After receiving a B.S. in Marketing from the Kelley School of Business, she developed her expertise with leading HR consulting firms, manufacturers and service companies.


Career Partners International provides top quality talent management services to organizations of all sizes. Their offices around the world help assessengagedevelop, and transition talent in any industry. To find out more about Career Partners International and how you can maximize your organizational performance, reach out to an office near you or contact us today!

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  1. Melinda Brown's avatar
    Melinda Brown
    | Permalink
    What a great environment to work in - where there is a culture of genuine interest from leaders and managers about the development of their employees, and not just when they need to carry out performance reviews!

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