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How to discuss career growth to your employees


Many organizations struggle with succession planning.  New hires get trained, but discussions about future growth often fall by the wayside. This blog post explores how managers can initiate meaningful conversations about career development with their employees.

The Manager's Role in Succession Planning:

A key responsibility of managers is to develop their team members, including preparing them for potential promotions. This doesn't happen overnight, and some employees may not be interested in moving up.

Benefits of Early Career Discussions:

There are several advantages to having ongoing career conversations with your team:

  • By fostering talent within their existing team, managers themselves become viable candidates for promotions.

  • Identifying a strong replacement allows departing managers to focus on their new roles, avoiding burnout from juggling two jobs.

  • Open discussions about career goals help employees understand their strengths and the skills needed for advancement.

Initiating the Conversation:

  • One-on-One Meetings: This is an ideal setting to discuss performance and career aspirations.

  • Focus on Both Interests & Capabilities: Explore if the employee desires a promotion and what skills they possess (or need to develop) to succeed in a new role.

Technical vs Non-Technical Skills:

  • Technical Skills: These are job-specific skills like project management, decision-making, or communication.

  • Non-Technical Skills: These are often implicit cultural expectations, such as building relationships, working overtime, or volunteering for specific assignments.

Transparency and Support:

  • Promote Transparency: Clearly communicate the requirements for advancement, including both technical and non-technical aspects.

  • Empower Employee Choice: Employees should feel comfortable choosing their career path, whether it involves pursuing a promotion or not.

  • Invest in Talent Development: Organizations can support their talent pipeline by providing training and development opportunities for all employees.


Your current workforce is a valuable source of future talent.  By openly discussing career aspirations and investing in employee development, you can build a strong internal talent pipeline and ensure a smooth transition for future leadership needs.


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