Employee Tips to Improve Career Development Discussions

a business woman on how to Improve Career Development Discussions

Employee Tips to Improve Career Development Discussions
Especially if you conduct career development conversations only once a year, you as a manager need to be sure you’re able to get as much information as you can about what dreams your employees have for their career.  After all, we know that employees who feel valued and supported in their continued job growth are more fully engaged in their work.

Implications for Employee Engagement
While many areas and actions matter in terms of engaging and retaining employees, there are two in particular that a manager can leverage when talking about an employee’s future track: (1) Feeling Valued and (2) Job Satisfaction.  And you should care – our employee engagement research based upon surveying over half a million employees across more than 5,000 organizations every year shows that engaged workers are over 40% more productive and effective than their unengaged counterparts.

Feeling Valued
As you might expect, whether an employee feels valued is highly correlated with their engagement in their work. Managers help shape an employee’s perceptions about the organization’s commitment to its people – from investing in employee development through fairly compensating employees to commitment toward making the company a great place to work.

Job Satisfaction
An employee’s job satisfaction focuses on the intrinsic value an employee finds in their role. Does the role challenge them, utilize their unique strengths, and fit into their long-term career aspirations? All things being equal, happy employees are more likely to be engaged employees.

Maximize the Effectiveness of Career Conversations
Here are four tips to improve career development discussions:

1. Be Specific
Questions that are too broad elicit general answers. You want to tap into the kinds of work that truly motivates your employees.  What, specifically, in their current job excites or challenges them?  Would they like more opportunities to do this kind of work?  And where in the organization do these opportunities exist?

2. Talk About Opportunities for Growth
Discuss ways that they can grow meaningfully in their job. Would they benefit from a mentor or coach?  Are their development programs that will advance them along their career path?  Would different projects or a job rotation make sense?

3. Set Clear and Meaningful Goals
Work together to set short-term, achievable goals that aim toward longer term aspirations. If, for example, an employee wants to improve their presentation skills with a view toward more confidently addressing executives, talk about what can be accomplished in three months, six months, and a year.  The plan might include a presentation skills program that focuses on content and delivery with lots of practice for the first step; presenting to the team on two different topics for the second; and a 15-minute presentation to senior managers on a topic of interest for the third.

4. Check in on Progress Regularly
Don’t consider the discussion “one and done.” Your job as manager is to stay connected, track progress, and support achievement of the agreed-upon goals.  Be there to advise, guide and celebrate each milestone.

The Bottom Line
Do you know what each member of your team wants to accomplish in their work life and why?  The better you understand and help them reach their goals, the more productive they will be, and the more effective you will be as a manager.

To learn more about how to improve employee engagement, download 6 Manager Strategies to Move the Engagement Needle

Comments are closed.

LSA custom designed a Management Development program that is absolutely “on target” for our technical managers. Their facilitator has done a superb job delivering the material in a way that is fast paced, highly interactive, and fun. She presents practical solutions to the people situations that our managers face every day. I regard LSA as an excellent partner that understands our business needs and a virtual member of our HR department.

Judith Onton
Vice President Human Resources

Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable resource. The recent compliance program that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management team was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.

Gina Fulton
Vice President of Human Resources

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.

Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide 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

For our go to training outsourcing partner, LSA provides exactly what we want. As always, they deliver outstanding work!

Elizabeth Siebert
Director, Organizational Excellence & Development


We engaged LSA to design and deliver a 6-month custom executive coaching program for a group of our key leaders. The focus of the program was to help a core group of senior leaders to leverage previous investments in management training, to ensure the engagement and retention of key employees, and to push critical strategic initiatives forward. Even with the high expectations of our senior people, LSA has completely exceeded our expectations. I would recommend them to anyone looking to create and implement a custom coaching methodology using proven tools to drive true change.

Ivan Fukumoto
Senior HR Manager - Staffing, Training, & Development

I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager


We have worked with LSA Global for our learning and development needs and have always had great success. They helped us recently with customized Management Workshops that we held for the second time. It was fantastic, and I would highly recommend LSA to anyone that is attempting to get immediate and impactful improvements.

Mary Johnston
HR Manager, BU Radiology Informatics

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


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

LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”

Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources


I highly recommend LSA Global to anyone who is looking to improve individual or organizational effectiveness through their top quality programs and broad range of expertise.

Greg Pappas
VP of Human Resources

LSA’s customized Effective Presentation Skills program has helped me elevate my presentation skills to the next level. I now have a much greater self-awareness of my presentation skills and can leverage off of my strengths while working to improve upon other areas. I would definitely recommend this solution to anyone for whom business presentations are an integral part of their job.

Jim Elliott
Senior Marketing Manager


Our company engaged LSA to do a specialized “train the trainer” program, and the consultant’s performance outdid our exceptionally high standards for such a program. Very crucial to the success of this program was the work done upfront to discuss our needs and to interview key members of our organization so that the program specifically met our goals. Our facilitators continue to comment on the success of the program. Thanks also for the follow-up.

Frank Abbott
Chief Financial Officer

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

Evaluate your Performance



Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.


Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.




Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.




First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.



Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.


Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.