How to Have Conversations That Promote Professional Growth

by Sabrina Son on Nov 4, 2016 8:00:00 AM

professional developmentAccording to Harvard Business Review, one of the most important parts of a manager’s job responsibilities is to help workers develop new skills and grow their careers. If you’re just managing your bottom line — and not your employees’ professional development — you’re not really doing your job.

So how exactly can you help your employees develop the skills they need to enjoy a successful career? Here are five tactics you can employ that should help your workers reach their full potential:

 

01. Ask employees what their dream job is and help them gain skills to get there

As insightful as you may be, you simply cannot read your employees’ minds. The easiest way to know what they’re thinking and what kind of work they’d be doing in a perfect world is by asking them directly.

Let’s say one of your strongest entry-level employees would like to manage a team in the future. Once you find out that information directly from that individual, you can begin advising them on the skills they need to be successful in a managerial role. You might recommend the employee read How to Win Friends and Influence People as soon as they can, for example.

 

02. Determine which job responsibilities get workers most excited

Not all employees know where they expect to see themselves five years from now. They might not even know what their dream job would be. That’s OK too. Different workers will excel in different aspects of the same job. For example, one team member might be great at writing articulate emails to clients and coworkers, while another employee is great at brainstorming new ideas.

Once you’ve figured out which employees like certain job responsibilities the most, you can support them in becoming even stronger in those areas — which should help their careers down the line.

 

03. Find out which conferences, trade shows, or symposiums your team is interested in

You won’t become a stronger professional if you’re never learning. Figure out which conferences, symposiums, and trade shows your employees are interested in attending. If your budget allows for it, give them the opportunity to go to a nearby event where they’ll meet new people and develop new skills. In addition to helping your employees grow, you’ll also convince them to stick with your company for at least a little longer.

According to our Engagement Report, only 25% of employees say there are enough opportunities for professional development at their organizations. By making development a top priority, you differentiate your company from the rest of the pack.

professional development

 

04. Regularly see which employees are interested in additional responsibilities

It’s impossible to take your career to the next level if you’re just going through the motions. While there are certainly workers who enjoy doing the bare minimum, there are also those who love taking on additional responsibilities and wish they had the opportunity to show their bosses they are capable of doing more.

Do your best to devise additional responsibilities for your team, and ask workers to see who’s interested in taking them on. For example, you can launch a new customer-focused initiative and have an employee manage it on their own, giving them a taste of what it’s like to own something at the office.

 

05. Provide as much support and as many resources as you can

All of your employees have their own unique strengths and interests. Ultimately, they are all on their own completely different career paths. Members of your team will succeed in different ways over the next several years. It is part of your responsibility as their manager to help them succeed in whatever way you can. To that end, you need to support your team however you can. Keep your door open and let your staff members know that you are always there to answer questions and offer advice. Give your employees access to the resources and tools they need to do their jobs well.

 

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This post was written by Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the managing editor for the TINYpulse blog. A Seattle native, she loves her morning (or anytime) coffee, spending her weekends on the mountains, and of course, the famous rain.

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