The Power of Career Conversations

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The Power of Career Conversations

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Career conversations are crucial to your personal and professional growth; they help you gain clarity about your career goals and aspirations, highlight areas for growth and how you can develop your skills, create a foundation of clear communication, lead to lifelong learning, and more.

There are three key players involved in career conversations: employees, managers, and the organization. So, where should you invest?

The answer is in all three. Growing your business means growing your people, and growing your people takes time. Careers are developed over time, one conversation at a time.

Recommended training from HRDQ-U

Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want

How to Conduct Career Conversations

There are three important aspects to any career conversation:

  1. Hindsight – What I bring
  2. Foresight – What to expect
  3. Insight – What now?


Hindsight is all about being self-aware. Asking your employee questions about themselves that require them to think and reflect on their skills, interests, and values allows you and the employee to discuss career goals and areas for development together. Here are some ways hindsight can be used to help the conversation:

  • Learn from Past Experiences: Ask the employee about their past experiences and skills they’ve used – what worked well for them and what didn’t. Understanding the employee’s skills and areas for improvement can guide the conversation in a way that’s productive for the employee, manager, and organization.
  • Set Goals: Ask the employee about their interests, their aspirations, and what they liked doing. Seeing the areas they excel at and thrive with helps you and your employee set goals together to continue utilizing their strengths while also working on some weaknesses to help them reach their aspirations.


If they need help understanding their skills, interests, and value as an employee, encourage them to get feedback from others they trust using the ABC’s of feedback:

A – Abilities – Ask, “What can you count on me for?”

B – Blind Spots – Ask, “What am I not seeing that others may be seeing?”

C – Conditions – Ask, “Under what settings do I do my best work or make my best contribution?”

Taking the time to reflect on past experiences and recognize what your employee’s skills, interests, and past experiences are creates a more productive career conversation that meets the employee’s, manager’s, and organization’s goals.


Having foresight during career conversations empowers you to navigate the changing business landscape and help your employee continue to progress in their career development journey. Here are some ways to think about foresight during the conversation:

  • Strategic Planning: Discuss what future changes in the industry you predict will happen so you know what’s needed for your employee to stay ahead of the curve and for your organization to thrive in this new future.
  • Goal Setting: Look ahead and set realistic and attainable goals with your employee as you take into account their personal and professional needs and the needs of the company.
  • Continuous Learning: Foresight helps you recognize the skills that will be required in the future and allows you and your employee to seek out professional development opportunities to expand their skill set.


Having foresight provides a more holistic approach to career development and allows you, your employee, and your organization stay up-to-date with the changing business landscape.


Now that you’ve come to the conversation with hindsight and foresight and have discussed your goals, what now?

Insight is the integration of hindsight and foresight. It serves as the foundation for strategic decision-making, allowing individuals to align their aspirations with their capabilities and the opportunities available to them. Ultimately, insight enhances the overall quality of career conversations by promoting authenticity, self-discovery, and a thoughtful approach to professional growth.

Want to learn more? Check out the webinar Help them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want, presented by Lynn Cowart to dive deeper into career conversations.

Recommended Training from HRDQ-U
Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want

Learning how to have meaningful, ongoing career development conversations is crucial to employees’ growth, engagement, and satisfaction.

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