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Career conversations and motivation at work

May 7th, 2013

Heather Johnston


In my workshops and coaching a common question I get asked is how to motivate people that are either a) not motivated b) coming up to retirement c) not in the top 10-20% or considered to be the backbone of the organisation with few vertical career opportunities.

In essence, I feel that one way to tackle this challenge is through the types of conversations that managers are having with their employees on a daily basis and at key review points. While competency systems are helpful in creating focus on what a role needs,  I think managers could benefit with coaching and training on how to have a really good career conversation with their employees. Why? Because the answers to the questions they ask will lead to a greater awareness of what inspires people, what makes them want to get out of the bed in the morning and hence give both the employee and the manager more of an idea about what really motivates them. This motivation drives personal development, performance and productivity.

Through exploring the types of questions to ask, really good listening,  taking a focus on strengths and an exploration of what makes work meaningful for people both the manager and the employee can build up a picture of what an employees’ ‘ideal’ looks like. The conversations are then looking at the alignment of people’s skills with an organisation’s needs, while at the same time addressing an individual’s intrinsic motivation rather than relying on typical extrinsic motivations of pay and promotion. While status, promotion and money are important most psychological research points to people being more fulfilled and flourishing by considering what drives them so that work moves from being just a ‘job’ through to a career or even for some a vocation.

..and what about those coasting towards retirement? Boredom can cause huge problems for those that that are understimulated or underchallenged-they rust out rather than burn out. Key here is exploring new challenges for the employee focused on serving others in the organisation, creating legacy and helping them start to manage the transition on to different things. We all liked to feel needed and appreciated..

If you would like to find out more about making the most out of career conversations workshops and skills boosters for managers and employees please do give me a ring or drop me a mail.



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