Posted by Robert Half on 05 September 2016
As a manager, you already understand the importance of getting to know your team members’ individual strengths and weaknesses. But do you truly know their career aspirations?
In a recent American survey, nearly 450 employed, staff-level accounting and finance professionals who have earned their CPA credential were asked questions about their career paths. The bottom line: Few CPAs want to keep the status quo. Thirty-one percent of respondents said they like the position they have, but want to continue to build skills and take on challenging projects. Twenty-nine percent aspire to be a manager; 18 percent would like to be a controller.
Other noteworthy findings from the survey include:
- The desire to be a manager or controller declines after age 44
- Employees of small companies were most likely to want to either stay in their current position, but build their skills, or become a controller
- Workers at very large firms were most likely to want to be a manager
Here’s a three-step guide to uncovering your team’s career dreams — and help make them happen:
1. Know when and how to discuss employees’ career path.
All too often, career-planning discussions only begin when an issue or conflict arises at work. These conversations can be awkward and even tense, as they’re coming from a place of negativity. Don’t wait for a situation to trigger this type of chat with your team members. Instead, take advantage of times when everything is running smoothly – or better yet, when your team is celebrating an accomplishment – to start a conversation that comes from a positive place. Yearly performance reviews are good opportunities to have an in-depth discussion with workers about job satisfaction and goals.
2. Help employees take action to meet their goals.
Your efforts to help employees with their career path should include strategies and resources such as:
- Job rotations
- Job shadowing
- Subsidised continuing education courses or tuition assistance
- On-site training programs to develop specific hard or soft skills
- Succession planning
If there isn’t room in your budget for tuition assistance or training programs, matching employees up with mentors or having them shadow senior-level managers is a more affordable way to help them develop necessary skills.
3. Check in regularly on their progress.
Once you understand your team’s aspirations and do everything you can to set them up toward achieving them, follow up regularly. Individual goals and desires can change, and a lack of communication between employees and managers will lead to frustration and low morale. These touch-base conversations allow you to assess employees’ progress and also help them refine and better develop their career path over time.