All too often, organizations cultivate a ‘culture of surprise’ and put up barriers between leadership and staff by not discussing employees’ career development plans with them. As People Management recently reported, new research reveals this problem is not only prevalent in UK business but also contributes to a lack of employee engagement.
A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Fairplace found that 39% of participants have no career plans in place and are instead “sleepwalking” through their working lives. Even the majority of respondents who have discussed their future with their manager didn’t find the conversation helpful. Only 13% of these individuals said that the discussion had been of use.
Although workers do need to take their responsibility for their own careers instead of sleepwalking through them, they will be much more motivated to do so if organizations recognize the responsibility they have. As employers, we not only need to communicate regularly with our employees about their future plans, but we have to make sure this communication is actually useful. This means being open and honest with the individual about what’s going on with the organization and how it impacts on their career development and their future within the company.
Quality of listening is also important. Businesses already know that listening to customers helps them to create products that sell. They now must also wake up to the reality that it’s just as important to listen to what employees want from their career. Doing so will help them to develop a flight path for each individual within the organization, a flight path that’s beneficial to both employee and employer.