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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We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

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LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.

Sandeep Kumar
Director, Software Engineering, EPG

We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

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Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources

LSA Global’s consultant brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for two key executive positions we needed to fill, and their consultant helped us develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. I am confident that the two new executives joining our organization have the right skills to add significant value. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.

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Kim Silva, CFO

“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”

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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.

Cindee Van Vleck
Director Human Resources

We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.

Rae Phillips
HR Project Manager - Training & Development, PHR

PalmSource has found our relationship with LSA extremely beneficial. We worked closely with LSA to customize the right Management Training Program solution to meet our unique business needs. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner.

Ken Boehm
Vice President of Human Resources

I am very impressed with the quality of work and talent. LSA did a great job of listening to my needs and providing the exact management training program expertise I needed to get the job done.

Don Pryor
Director, Business Planning & Analysis

Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

Susan Anderson
Workforce Planning Bureau

Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.

Farhat Ali
President and Chief Executive Office

Fujitsu

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.

John Mastrorilli
FRDP Leader

Intuit

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

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

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