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Want to Keep Good Employees? Show Them Their Future

Want to Keep Good Employees? Show Them Their Future
Credit: Ra2studio/Shutterstock

Employees today have more of an eye on the future than ever. Rather than being content with a belief that their time to move up will eventually come, most workers want to hear more about when that day will actually come, new research finds.

Nearly 40 percent of employees want to have quarterly discussions with their bosses about their career path and how they fit into their employers' long-term plans, with another 45 percent wanting to have those talks annually, according to a study from Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

Despite the desire for more feedback, 40 percent of employees said their manager never discusses their career path, while only 11 percent do so quarterly.

"Supervisors who are not discussing career progression with their staff are missing an opportunity to engage and retain their team," Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, said in a statement. "Employees who don't know when they'll earn a promotion or raise, or understand how they fit into a company's long-term strategy aren't likely to stick around long."

To help managers have more productive career-path discussions with their employees, Robert Half Finance and Accounting offers three tips:

  • Ask about objectives: You can't assume you have a clear understanding of where your employees want to take their careers. It's important to remember that not everyone wants to follow the same path you took. To help them achieve their goals, you first need to make sure you know the direction they want to head in.
  • Be honest about what it will take: Once you know where your employees want to take their careers, it is important to be upfront with them about what it's going to take to get there. The first step is to educate your workers on the experience and skills needed to reach their goals. Then, lay out a specific career-path plan to help them achieve success. This includes outlining necessary leadership development, mentoring and training opportunities.
  • Have ongoing conversations: An employee's annual performance review shouldn't be the only time each year that career-path plans are discussed. Have regular meetings with your staff to talk about their progress or the areas in which they need to improve in order to move up within the company.

The study was based on surveys of more than 1,200 finance and accounting professionals in the United States.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.