Where do you see yourself in the next five years? It’s a common question managers ask in an interview. But once the job is filled, managers forget to revisit the question, leaving many employees feeling neglected and lost.
A recent survey from Robert Half, a human resource consulting firm, shows 40% of managers aren’t discussing an employee’s career path, even when employees request it. According to the survey, which included over 1,200 finance and accounting professionals, 82% of employees would like to discuss their career path one to four times a year. Managers, however, are not responding; a move that Paul McDonald, senior executive director with Robert Half, says could cost them their employees’ loyalty.
“Employees, especially new employees and millennials, like to talk more frequently to their managers,” says McDonald. Many young professionals are seeking quarterly reviews on a formal basis, and even as often as monthly discussions on an informal basis about their careers and performance.
Why are these discussions so important? McDonald has a few insights:
Performance reviews or career-based discussions are a great opportunity for employees and supervisors to make sure they’re on the same page. An employee may be considering a different career path, one that they may be able to pursue within the company, but if their manager is unaware, it’s most likely the employee will simply seek opportunities elsewhere.
The main reason for the lack of response to employee demands for career discussions is lack of time. “Managers get behind, and this is the first thing to slip,” says McDonald. The problem is, while many managers may assume career-pathing isn’t a front-burner issue, McDonald says it certainly can become one quickly when employees decide to seek greener pastures.
Failing to have career path conversations means managers are missing out on a valuable opportunity to connect with employees. “Managers forgoing these discussions risk losing a chance to engage staff, find out what matters most to them, motivate them, and prepare them for a long-term future with the company,” says McDonald. Career discussions can strengthen the employee-manager relationship and cement an employee’s loyalty to the company. “Employees who can see a clear future with a company and feel supported in their professional endeavours are more likely to want to stay with a company,” says McDonald.
“Having a career road map is a valuable tool for employees,” says McDonald. “They want to know where they’re going and what their potential career prospects are.” But these discussions are equally valuable for managers who recognize potential in an employee and wish to provide training to help them get to the next level where they may be an invaluable asset to the company.