Leadership Training: Conducting Meaningful Career Conversations

This USD 8.3 billion Indian company is a trusted name for household and industrial applications in adhesives, waterproofing, construction chemicals, industrial resins, polymers and arts & crafts with presence in Africa, Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and USA.

The company is in the process of revamping its talent development practices to identify, groom and engage internal talent to meet the future business requirements. One expectation from the employees has been the need to have better clarity on how their careers could progress within the organization. The employees also wanted an opportunity to discuss their career aspirations and get clarity on the development plan towards meeting their aspirations, even if there was clarity on what would be their next role in the organization.

While the Company had a process in place to conduct such career conversations, their experience was that the leaders and managers were struggling to conduct these conversations and unable to meet the employee expectations with respect to the conversation. Another experience was that of unfulfilled promises resulting in disappointment among the employees for whom career conversations were conducted. So, the organization was keen to enhance the ability of the leaders to conduct meaningful career conversations, through focused training.

Acting on the feedback and the experiences, the Company’s HR Team identified and documented the potential career paths across different functions in the organization to reach the destination leadership roles in these functions. There was, however, still a need to review the entire career conversation process, socialize the career paths and importantly, build the capability and confidence among the leaders to conduct meaningful career conversations.

COrE Creators partnered with the Company’s HR team to re-design the career conversation process and conduct capability building workshops to train the career conversation guides to conduct meaningful career conversations.

Our Approach & Solution

Our approach included

1. Conducting insighting conversations – These were done with a sample set of leaders and HR who have been conducting or anchoring career conversations to understand

  • the purpose that the existing career conversation process was serving
  • the purpose the career conversation should be serving
  • their perspectives on the changes that needed to be made to the career conversation process to make it meaningful
  • the learning needs of the leaders conducting the career conversations which would become critical inputs to design the leadership training program

2. Co-creating process re-design – The conversations with the sample set of leaders unearthed specific decision points regarding the talent and career management process and the career conversation process. These points were discussed with the organization’s HR team and decisions taken on

  • Changes in the career conversation process including linkages with other talent management processes
  • Changes in documentation templates to record the key highlights from the career conversations, the employee aspirations and the agreed development actions

3. Training program design and deployment – The training program for leaders conducting the career conversations was designed taking into consideration their expectations (from the stakeholder conversations), the organization’s need to socialize and onboard the leaders onto the changes in the career conversation process and to build capability and confidence among these leaders to conduct these conversations.

The program was designed using a blended learning approach and included

  • Formal learning – Sharing the changes in the career conversation process and orienting the leaders to the respective functional career paths
  • Experiential Learning – Conducting practice labs using sample employee data and role plays to provide space to the participants to practice preparation, documentation and conducting the career conversation.
  • Peer learning – Getting leaders to share their experiences with and learnings from having conducted career conversations including generating FAQs

The program was piloted with HR leaders and fine-tuned to meet the participant expectations. All programs were delivered virtually using a combination of virtual meeting and collaboration platforms, as these were delivered during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Results

All the workshops were very well received with participants reporting a high degree of clarity on the revised career conversation process, the extent to which the training met their needs and the level of confidence they felt they had in conducting the career conversations post the workshop.

 Since attending the workshop, some of the trained leaders have had the opportunity to conduct career conversations and have reported that the training has helped them in conducting these conversations.

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