Are your managers having the right conversations? That’s the title of an interesting article I just read about the impact managers can have on employees by engaging in meaningful discussion about employees’ strengths. The article links to studies that show developing their strengths helps employees to be more engaged, happier and healthier. Engaged employees are less likely to leave an organization, and even more significant, they drive business results.
A discussion about employees strengths – that’s a good part of what a career conversation should look like, and that’s what we encourage when we work with managers to help equip them to have meaningful career conversations with their direct reports.
I’ve been delivering this message of career ownership to groups and individuals for some time now and most acknowledge “if it is to be, it’s up to me”. Where there’s a disconnect though is in the actions many people take (or should I say don’t take) to demonstrate they’re in charge.
This article takes a look at the topic of career ownership from a bit of a different direction. I like the ideas that the writer shares about taking responsible ownership.
What happens in organizations when they find a way to unleash the potential of employees? I’m sure you have some examples you could share. I’m fortunate in my experience to have seen some terrific outcomes as a result of internal career development initiatives.
Just last week I was working with a group of employees ranging in position from quite junior to supervisory, in age from 20 something to 50 something, and in tenure with the company from 1 year to more than 15. From the outside looking in, you might wonder how a group this diverse could find value in the same delivery material when they’re all at such different career stages.
This week, General Motors finds itself in the unenviable position of needing to explain itself to the US Congress. Problems with an ignition switch have led to a massive 4.8 million vehicles being recalled in the last month. More alarmingly, this faulty part has been linked to 13 motor vehicle crash deaths. The reason Congress has questions is because the issue first cropped up in 2001, but senior management seems to have been kept in the dark until January 31 of this year. It’s hard to understand that it would take more than 12 years for someone to realize there was a problem.
Most leaders at one time or another have experienced the loss of one of their top performers to another company. News of their departure can be tough news to take, especially when as a leader you may have had big plans for the employee’s future within your department or organization.
Many employees, me included, have made the decision to leave an organization, believing there’s more opportunity elsewhere, only to have their leader tell them they’re highly thought of at the time of resignation. In my personal example, I remember my leader asking me what it would take for me to stay. I thought about that for a while, and gave him some ideas, but even when he committed to deliver on the things that were important to me, I decided to go. It was too late for the conversation when I’d already made the decision to leave.
There’s no escaping it. We’re in a time of fast paced change and high demand workplaces. Like it or not, to remain competitive, companies need to constantly reinvent and refine what they’re doing and how they do it. To meet the changing needs of business today, companies need employees who are agile, continually developing, and contributing at the top of their game.