Are You Having Career Conversations?

by Jennifer Miller on January 15, 2019

in Book Review, Leadership

Are you having career conversations? My friend Julie Winkle Giulioni is launching an expanded and revised version of her bestselling book, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Organizations Need and Employees Want. It’s a perfect resource for managers who want to develop their employees.

This is what I love about the second edition of this book: it acknowledges that traditional “manager-employee” relationships now account for only about half of all workplace arrangements. So, Julie and her co-author Beverlyy Kaye advise readers to expand their thinking regarding what constitutes a “manager” and an “employee.”

From the book – “It’s time to take a more generous and democratic approach to growth.” Managers should look to develop not only W-2 employees but contingent and gig workers too. Yes, these folks might pick up and leave, but guess what? So will your traditional employees, if they don’t believe that their careers matter to you. “Today, [employees, both traditional and contigent] are looking for other sources of security –  skills, knowledge and experiences,” write Kaye and Giulioni.  Nearly every worker today understands the fluidity of employment, so why not just accept it and develop everyone? Hoarding “development” for the “chosen few” doesn’t really serve anyone.

Here’s another sobering thought: in addition to potentially losing your best talent to flight, what about people who stay, but withold their best efforts? “Every day, employees who believe that their careers are not getting the attention they deserve, make the decision to leave” say the authors. Whether employees physically leave, or just mentally check out, this is costly for your business.

“Help Them Grow” is a very practical, hands-on guidebook, written by seasoned business coaches who have a background in instructional design. This background shows itself with carefully crafted exercises designed to get managers thinking about how to build “career development” into daily interactions with their team members.  And, they’ve also created a really cool Help Them Grow Card Deck, which makes it even easier for busy managers to plan simple, low-cost activities to develop employees. As this book points out, career development is one of the most powerful and underused tools managers have to drive engagement, retention and results.

I heartily endorse “Help Them Grow” for its practical, hands-on and relevent suggestions for developing employees – one conversation at a time.

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