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9 Key Steps to Create Impactful Career Conversations

It’s very often you have heard people share their experiences about having asked a single question by their managers. This particular question which looks not as tough as it is to answer, goes like this, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”. Many employees get startled when they are asked this question & do not have anything constructive to say. The reason behind managers asking this question frequently is that they are trying to tap into employees’ goals & ambitions to get them motivated, leaning them towards maximizing their performance & retaining their potential. 

 Having an Impactful Career Conversation has become an absolute necessity to unlock the hidden potential of individuals. This guide provides you a deep sight into how you can create an effective model for career conversations, that will help your employees in making their dreams a reality. 


 1.     Know the Importance of Your Role

 One thing you must understand is that your employees are your asset. They must set their goals, but you should be there to give them an extra push and support. Identify the ambitions of your employees and help them progress. Make frequent meetings to get the awareness of existing roadblocks that are obstructing your employee’s growth. 

2.     Get Insights into Each Individual’s Potential 

A minority of employees have a constructive answer to the question we mentioned above, while most of them who are engaged with their day-to-day responsibilities may fail to have one. You have to get into the insights of what tasks your employees are engaged more with & the tasks your employees are passionate about. 

Identifying the tasks that stimulate your employers to outperform others will give you insight on how to leverage each individual to the best of their abilities. 

3.     Use a Competency Model

Competency models have proven to be a valuable tool for human resources to define the skill and requirements of specific jobs. These models assist in assessing competencies & performances and aids in developing a successful business strategy. The growth in technology is also contributing to the familiarity of the competency model. Organizations can employ frameworks that assess employees on various aspects such as personal effectiveness, technical, academic, industry, occupational, workplace, management competencies.

Incorporating a competency model in your career conversations will improve your employees’ performance. Job description and competencies are almost alike. Incorporating a competency model in your career conversations will improve your employees’ performance. Job description and competencies are almost alike. While the job description provides a brief overview of the job, competencies talk more about the specific job role and the evaluation of the tasks on which the employees are going to be judged. This method of defining job tasks in an elaborative way will improve the overall efficiency of the organization, while simultaneously working as a supportive pillar for your employees’ development.


4.     Set Short-Term Performance Goals to initiate their growth for the Long-Term

Consistent progress is the best progress. Help your employees understand the significance of consistent progress & assist them in setting their short-term goals. Their short-term goals must align with each other, ultimately leading towards their long-term goal. Congratulate them on their successes to boost morale & identify how their growth aids company goals.

5.     Identify Developmental Goals

Setting developmental goals for your employees will give your employees something to strive for throughout the year. You can encourage your employees to set developmental goals for themselves that align with the team and organizational goals. 

Ensure that the developmental goals are specific and they offer long-term growth. For example, you can encourage your employees to learn new skills, improve public speaking, develop strong personality traits, or make a good connection with other team members.

6.     Devise the right set of Career Development Questions

In your career conversations, be sure to construct the right set of questions to ask your employees. Get their perspective of the role they have been put in & the skillset they possess and further check if they both align together. Examples of some questions are given below.

  • Are you able to utilize your strengths with the role you have been assigned with?
  • How else can the team benefit from your strengths?
  • What new skills are you looking to pursue in the future?


7.     Don’t Choose a Formal Setting 

It’s common for employees to get intimidated by the setting of the meeting & they may not share their experiences with complete honesty. Good career conversations usually don’t take place in formal management meetings or HR processes. They might take in semi-formal settings such as mentoring discussions, follow-up meetings after an appraisal, or regular progress meetings. Employees feel at ease in these situations & you will get a better understanding of their situation this way.

8.     Do not Bait Them with Promotion 

The first thing you need to understand is that it’s not necessary that your employees’ development requires a promotion. There are other opportunities for an employee to grow. You can put up a survey to get to know how your employees feel about their development working under your supervision. It may come around that they require mentoring or formal training and classes in order to advance their development. 

Try to engage them in conversations to learn more about the hindrances that are keeping them to grow. Find a solution for them and try to eliminate them. Focusing on all aspects of employee development is significant, rather than keeping the focus to one single aspect of it i.e. promotion. 

9.     Be Truthful to Your Employees 

Being honest is an integral part of your employees’ growth. Making false promises that can’t be kept will only result in disloyalty from the employees. Engage your employees as your partner & keep them motivated. Jointly explore the problem and devise solutions for it. 


Career Conversations are aimed at building, developing, and motivating employees to boost their performance and improve their growth. Incorporating the above strategies into your Career Conversations will unlock your employees’ potential and add to your organization’s growth.

About The Author: See Wei Ngiam

Ngiam’s versatile background in HR management and extensive experience working with MNCs such as Kimberly-Clark and Amway have allowed Ngiam to design Growtribe in a practical way to enable people leader & manager to accelerate people growth through a simple and yet impactful approach.

Want to find other interesting discussions? Then connect with Ngiam now via his LinkedIn Profile and follow Growtribe’s LinkedIn Page.

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