When did you last talk to your employees about what they want from work?

When did you last talk to your employees about what they want from work?

It can be difficult to take time out from daily operational demands to talk to your workers about their hopes and aspirations, but it’s vital if you don’t want to lose staff.

Too often, these critical discussions with employees are simply not taking place. This can lead to an increasingly dissatisfied and restless workforce, which can seriously affect a firm’s production and performance.

The latest Kelly Global Workforce Index report reveals insights from workers across more than 30 countries about their satisfaction with career development at their workplace, and the results are both revealing and troubling.

Career development discussions – we need to talk

Globally, less than 40% of respondents indicated they have had a career development discussion in the past year (38%). Significantly, more employees in APAC had career development discussions in the past year (50%) than those in EMEA (41%). 

This suggests that employers could be missing out on a vital opportunity to enhance the happiness and retention of their workers. 

Where are employers best at having career guidance discussions?

The countries where employers were most likely to discuss career aspirations with employees were China (61%), Indonesia (59%), Russia (57%), Malaysia (57%), Thailand (57%) and Germany (56%). 

Not so good? Less than one in five respondents in Hungary (18%) had had a career development discussion with their employer in the past year. Portugal (31%) and Australia and Sweden (both 33%) didn’t perform well either. 

Dissatisfaction with existing career development discussions

Workers may want more discussions about their future, but a significant proportion was cynical about the value of such talks. 

Of the 38% of workers globally who had had career development discussions at work, many were skeptical as to whether the talks would help their career trajectory. 

  • Globally, 48% agreed the discussions were beneficial in terms of potential advancement opportunities. 
  • APAC workers were the most likely to feel career development discussions were useful (57%). 
  • EMEA workers were significantly less likely to agree that the discussions were useful to their career advancement (42%). 
  • Those in Math (71%) and Education (61%) are most likely to say the discussions gave them the opportunity to learn new skills. 
  • Less than half of those respondents working in Law (49%) felt career development discussions gave them the opportunity to learn new skills. 

Young workers want most career guidance

The likelihood of an employee engaging in a career development discussion with their employer declines with age. 

A much higher proportion of Gen Y workers (42%) discussed career development with their employers than Gen X (40%) or Baby Boomers (29%). 

Why these discussions are important

Career discussions tap into a desire for new capabilities and are an important avenue for employer-employee engagement. A key element of talent development is ensuring that employees are aware of what is being done to manage and develop their skills for the future. 

However, often the career interactions which take place do not necessarily meet the needs of employees in terms of new skills development and career growth, suggesting some organisations are misdirecting efforts and wasting resources in this area. 

Employers want their managers and leaders to engage with them about their careers, and they want direction, reassurance and guidance. 

For more on the results regarding Career Development download the report here.