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Career Development Conversation Meeting Template

Follow this 3-step career conversation framework curated by Russ Laraway, Employee Experience Evangelist at Qualtrics and former executive at Twitter and Google.

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Career Development Conversation Overview

Career development conversations are meetings between the employee and someone in a management position. They discuss the individual’s role in the company, where they’d want to go and how the organization can help them. The meetings are as important as any other meet-ups in the company, and it’s a chance for the employee to ensure that their goals align with the company’s goals and vice versa. For a career development conversation to be successful, the organization has to provide a conducive environment for employees to experience career development which will increase workforce productivity.

Many organizations ignore the importance of career development conversations. However, it’s crucial to hold the meetings at least once every week for at least fifteen minutes for the best results. If that’s not possible, then once or twice every month should suffice. Majorly, the forum consists of employees and managers of different levels. Still, that doesn’t mean that the conversations can’t happen at an individual level; in fact, it’s more efficient if it starts at an individual level, then managerial level and finally at the whole organization level. With our career development discussion template, it’s now easier than ever to have a career development conversation in your company.

How to Run an Effective Career Development Meeting

When running a career development conversation meeting, it’s essential to follow the following steps to achieve the best results.

Let the employee take the lead. Instead of hearing them out, many managers may want to project what they think is the best career path for a specific employee. You must let the worker express their ambitions within the workplace and their intended development comfortably.

Adjust your audience accordingly. When holding the meetings using the career conversation template, you must modify the conversation to the specific employee. What works for one employee might not work for other employees, and as a manager, you should use the meetings to understand their ambitions better and give them full support.

Connect with the employees. When conducting the career development meetings, concentrate on that, and don’t let other work issues creep in. Set aside some regular time to talk to individual workers about their development and where they are at.

Create a performance review. A performance review will help you understand what the employee is good at and what they’re struggling with, allowing you to discuss development plans about what they can improve during the meeting.

What’s inside Career Development Conversation Meeting Template:

1 🔍 Life Story 

Understand people’s motivations and values, the things that drive them.

One of the ways to understand your workers and their ambitions is to know what their life is like. What meaningful life or work decisions did they make, and how did they deal with the aftermath? Why did they make the choices they made? How was their school life? What do they hate or love about their work? These will help you know the employee’s values and motivation, guiding you on how to have a career development conversation with them.

  • Starting with kindergarten, tell me about your life.
  • What have been the major pivots and transitions?
  • Why did you make them? 
  • What did those transitions teach you about what you love/hate about work?

2💬 Dreams 

Understand where people want to be at the pinnacle of their careers.

Know what their ambitions are for the long-term and short term. Where do they see themselves in a couple of years, at the peak of their career? How are they going to get there? Also, find out what you can do as an organization to help the employee achieve those dreams. Brainstorm all the available options with them and ask them about the skills required to achieve their career dreams.

  • What do you want the pinnacle of your career to look like?
  • List 4-5 different dreams for the future.
  • What skills are needed to accomplish those dreams?
  • How can I help you acquire those skills? (brainstorm)

3 💪 Career action plan 

Create an eighteen-month plan.

All talk without a proper plan is futile, and it’s crucial to create a career action plan with the employee. Understand what they need to learn to pursue their career dreams, and find out how they will focus on the things they need to learn. Ask them what opportunities you can provide as a company in the next six to eighteen months to help them develop the necessary skills they need to grow. This will help you make adjustments at the workplace to suit their needs.

  • What do you need to learn in order to move in the direction of your dreams?
  • How will you prioritize the things you need to learn?
  • What opportunities at work would help you develop those skills in the next six to eighteen months? (brainstorm)

4 ✅ Action items

What are the next steps?

What should you do next? With the laid down action plan, break it down into daily, weekly and monthly tasks that the employee will work on to develop their career. Brainstorm with them and get to a middle ground where both you, as the employer, and they are happy and content with the outcome of the conversation.

Having a career development conversation with your employees is vital, as it shows the workers that you care about their development, too, not just the work they do for you. The conversation also helps employers know what the workers need to feel fulfilled and shed light on their untapped potential to help them grow. Use our career discussion with manager template for easy, efficient meetings with your employees.


Listen to this interview with Russ Laraway (template author):

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About the author

Russ Laraway

Russ Laraway is a well-versed leadership expert who has over 20 years of leadership experience in positions at Google, Twitter and Candor Inc. Today, Russ is the Employee Experience Evangelist at Qualtrics where he helps CHROs and CPO think differently about employee experience. Russ is the author of "When They Win, You Win: Being a Great Manager is Simpler Than You Think".

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