Article

Career Growth Questions

Contributing Writer

2 minutes

growth, training, skill and potential written in a notebookNot every employee wants to move up in his or her career. In fact, Deedee Myers, Ph.D., MSC, PCC and CEO of CUES Supplier member and strategic provider DDJ Myers Ltd, Phoenix, guesses that around 15 percent of people are happy in their roles and aren’t interested in changing them. She says this doesn’t necessarily mean these employees are disengaged, or may become so in the future, but cautions that complacency on the part of management could result in disengagement for some.

To prevent this, credit unions should initiate regular conversations with these employees about how they’re making a difference to the organization. Fostering engagement by offering them special projects is another effective tactic, she says.

Some employees have outside commitments that prevent them from moving forward in their careers, says Greg Longster, partner with CUES Supplier member and strategic provider Davies Park Executive Search, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based executive search firm. Others may value the flexibility and comfort of their current position, and view advancement and promotion as jeopardizing these benefits. 

Far from being a cause for concern, employees who want to remain in their current roles can actually benefit a credit union, considering the typical pyramid-like shape of most organizational charts, he adds.

“[Consequently] there are usually far fewer senior-level roles compared to junior-level ones,” Longster explains. “Therefore, not everyone can become a senior executive. It’s actually very healthy for an organization to have employees who just want to be excellent in their current positions. They should be embraced and provided with other opportunities to grow, stay motivated and develop, without necessarily advancing.”

How can employees who do want to move up be distinguished from those who don’t? Myers suggests simply asking them monthly, conducting what she calls “stay interviews.” Questions to pose include:

     •   How are you doing?

     •   Why do you stay?

     •   What would cause you to want to leave?

     •   What would cause you to want to change your role?

These don’t require much time at all, says Myers. They can take place over a cup of coffee or during a quick 10-minute walk. Not only can these conversations help managers and supervisors tease out those interested in advancing, they can help forge a connection between employees and the organization.

Actually, says Longster, the biggest challenge may not be identifying the employees who want to advance. “Instead, the more difficult determination may be to identify those who are actually willing to put in the extra work and effort required. A desire to move forward and a willingness to do what it takes are two very different things.”

Pamela Mills-Senn is a freelance writer based in Long Beach, Calif.

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