Why Career Development Conversations Are a Must for New Managers

2 businessmen are overlooking the city presumably in a conversation about new manager training

Career development conversations are a must for new managers looking to create a high performing and engaged team.  New manager training focuses primarily on helping new managers navigate their own careers successfully. But we maintain that it is critical that new managers also pay close and regular attention to the careers of their individual team members. Here is why…

We know that in most high growth organizations the annual performance review is quickly on its way out, shifting toward consistent and more frequent performance conversations. We wondered if employee career development conversations should follow suit. Would discussing employee career opportunities and paths more frequently have the same positive effects as more regular performance conversations — increased engagement, motivation, and performance? We did the research to find out.

Let’s start by setting some context regarding employee engagement.

Why Employee Engagement Matters to New Managers
We define employee engagement as the combination of employee advocacy, discretionary effort and intent to stay.  High levels of employee advocacy mean that employees think and speak highly of the organization, its people, its offerings and their manager.  High levels of discretionary effort mean that employees are constantly thinking of ways to go the extra mile.  High levels of intent to stay mean that employees want to keep working for you and feel loyal and connected to their manager and the organization.

Why Employee Engagement Matters to the Organization
Companies with higher levels of employee engagement report 18% greater productivity, 12% higher customer satisfaction and 51% less voluntary turnover.  Companies with lower levels of employee engagement report 12% lower profits, 19% lower operating income and 28% lower earnings per share.

The Research
In a research study earlier this year, we found that employee engagement surveys should be conducted annually to foster the highest levels of employee engagement. Our more recent study on the effectiveness of career conversations was similar. We put our philosophy to the test…do career conversations (where employees and managers discuss employee career paths, opportunities for advancement, and ways to learn and grow in their careers) that occur on a more frequent basis positively impact employee engagement?

Why yes, yes they do! Results are shown below.

career graph

The research has greatly informed our new manager training programs.  Managers who held career development conversations at least once per year had 28.3% higher levels of employee engagement compared to managers who held them less than once per year.  And those managers who held career development conversations on a monthly basis had 43.7% higher levels of employee engagement.

Surprisingly, there’s not a distinct difference between having quarterly or annual career conversations, which suggests that — from a resource and time management perspective — it’s better to have annual conversations. However, engagement spikes up sharply when moving from quarterly to monthly career conversations. And because the difference is negligible between “more than once a month” and “once a month,” these results paint the following picture: monthly career conversations are optimal for the best engagement results.

The Bottom Line
We believe that any meaningful conversations between managers and their followers increase employee engagement by strengthening the connections between employees and their job. Frequent check-ins by managers show employees that you care about their wellbeing and want to do all you can to help them be successful. You can call these one-on-one discussions whatever you like—weekly meetings, phone chats, career conversations, performance check-ins. The point is that you keep tabs on how things are going for the individuals who work under your guidance and provide relevant growth opportunities that enhance their path forward.

New managers, you know how important it is to have a fully engaged team. Now that you know the best frequency for career conversations, it’s time to get talking. Use career conversations and manager-employee coaching sessions to spark employee motivation and fuel employee growth.

To learn more, download The Top 10 Most Powerful Ways to Boost Employee Engagement.

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Workforce Planning Bureau

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We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.

Terri Wright-Scheer
Vice President Human Resources

I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.

Kristin Westland-Kaune
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LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

Chris Wells
Vice President, HR and IT

Each program is preceded by an assessment of the participants. The course is then designed to fit the specific parameters and needs of the group. The highly interactive delivery is provided by recognized experts in their fields. On the spot coaching is provided during the program and each participant receives individual follow-up after the course. Courses can be delivered in-person or virtually. Given the nature of Cisco’s business and the way we operate, these remote workshops are a must for anyone who joins our company. Their work is eye opening. Great content and fantastic delivery.

Frank J. Kuypers
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On behalf of Roche and my staff I would like to sincerely thank you for your help with this. The English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment and coaching that you provided for our team was a great success.

Cam Greig
Associate Director

Roche

I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

Duane Schroeder
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We recently contacted LSA Global to assist us with a unique training request. We gave LSA a very short deadline and LSA custom designed a training program to meet our exact requirements within the limited time allotted to them. We found their facilitator to be well versed in the subject matter and very credible; the design provided practical and valuable information to our team of managers. I highly recommend LSA Global, particularly in the area of management training.

Julaine K. Souza
Senior Vice President

The LSA Global team was very receptive and flexible to our needs every step of the way. Their staff and facilitator demonstrated attention to detail, responsiveness, and professional courtesy. The participants were thrilled with the outcome and rated the communication skills workshop and the facilitator as ‘Excellent’. I’d highly recommend working with the LSA Global team to meet your professional development needs.

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FRDP Leader

Intuit

I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

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What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

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VNUS Medical has been very pleased with the effective management development programs that LSA Global has delivered for us over the last four years. The programs have been universally facilitated by experienced and best in class instructors. The knowledge gained by our management team has been put into practice very quickly. VNUS is very happy to be working in partnership with LSA because they consistently deliver excellent programs that receive exceptional feedback from our management team.

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Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources

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