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Piloting career development: Resources for HR and people leaders

We often discuss career development, but how often do we delve into the differences between "top-level" and "lower-level" career goals.

Man sits at a table in an open co-working space using his laptop.Man sits at a table in an open co-working space using his laptop.

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Insights from Ellen Raim, Founder of People MatterWe focus more on solving than preventing People problems.

Career development discussions are crucial in today's rapidly changing business world. However, many HR and people leaders struggle to find the time and resources to guide these conversations effectively. With the right resources and strategy, you can turn challenging conversations into opportunities and encourage a culture of growth and continuous learning within your organization.

The actionable resources and discussion guides that follow will help you steer your team members through the complexities of career development to create a supportive and empowering environment for growth.

Understanding goal hierarchies

We often discuss career goals, but how often do we delve into the differences between "top-level" and "lower-level" career goals? Understanding these differences can be powerful in guiding individual contributors on their career paths. Watch this enlightening video on goal hierarchies and consider the following questions:

  1. Can you identify examples of “top-level” and “lower-level” career goals in your team?
  2. What role can you play as a manager in helping team members identify their top-level career goals?
  3. What challenges have you seen your team members face in career development?
  4. How can you better support team members in their career growth?

The difference between managing and coaching

People leaders have a crucial responsibility to foster career development. But is managing enough, or do we need to become coaches too? Discover more in this insightful Harvard Business Review article, You Can’t Be a Great Manager if You’re Not a Good Coach, and then answer these questions:

  1. What differences between "managing" and "coaching" stand out to you, and how can these impact career development conversations?
  2. How can you sustain a developmental alliance with your team members?
  3. Which of the five tips in the article do you find most challenging and why?
  4. What strategies have you used to create a culture of ongoing learning and growth on your team?

Avoiding the advice trap

Do you find yourself rushing to give advice in career development conversations? Learn about the pitfalls of the "advice monster" in this intriguing podcast. Then, use these questions to dive deeper into the conversation:

  1. What makes managers fall prey to the "advice monster" in career development conversations?
  2. Can you identify signs that you might be giving advice too quickly?
  3. What language have you found effective in helping your team members identify their challenges' root causes?
  4. How do you facilitate reflection opportunities for your team?

The power of serious happiness

Career development is as much about personal satisfaction as it is about professional advancement. Explore the relationship between happiness and career decisions in this inspiring TED Talk, and then reflect on these questions:

  1. What external pressures can influence career decisions?
  2. How does reframing career development from "what you want to be" to "what you want to do" impact career choices?
  3. How can you help team members regain control over their career paths?
  4. What actions could you take to create opportunities for team members to explore different career paths?

Shifting focus from goals to systems

Goal-oriented thinking can sometimes hinder progress and happiness. This thought-provoking article discusses why you may want to focus on systems rather than goals alone. After reading the article, answer these questions:

  1. How can an intense focus on goals hinder progress and happiness?
  2. What resonates with you in this article, and what doesn’t? Why?
  3. Can you identify systems that your team currently uses to achieve goals?
  4. How could you guide your team to focus on systems and goals?

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