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Career Conversations

By Lee Morris, Director at andpartnership

Career Conversations – what does this mean in the new world of work?

A Case Study

“Sarah had hit a brick wall!”

She was an experienced, highly competent colleague. She was loyal, had been in the same team, in the same organisation for the last 9 years.

She’d done well during the pandemic. Transitioned perfectly to home working, enjoyed a better work-life balance, and actually increased productivity and results. She had thrived, so had her organisation.

But now, things were different. In theory, the new ‘hybrid’ way of working would be a perfect balance.

Sarah just felt differently about work! She couldn’t really pinpoint why. She’d never felt like this before. She just felt de-energised. She felt de-motivated. Her usually high levels of engagement for the role, her team and the organisation was lower than ever before.

Was she just ready for a career change? Was it just a phase? Did she just need a good holiday?

The truth is, she wasn’t sure. She knew things weren’t right, but she was scared to speak to her manager who she termed as being ‘very transactional’. Maybe she’d look for other jobs, maybe she’d just play safe and stick around.”

The Challenge

This was from a recent coaching conversation I had (obviously changing names and details). Unfortunately, research suggests that Sarah’s situation is not unique.

A recent (2022) Gallup poll suggested that employee engagement levels in the UK are one of the worst in Europe with fewer than one in 10 UK employees feeling enthusiastic about their job.

The rise of the Great Resignation (where colleagues took action after reflecting on their role, salary and purpose) and then the newer phenomenon of Quiet Quitting (a worker doesn’t actually quit but meets their minimum job requirements....and that's it), are clearly impacting the world of work.

What can be done

There isn’t one individual strategy that will help minimise the above. Some starting points might be:

· An inclusive culture

· Excellent employee benefits

· A blended learning and development offering

· Corporate Social Responsibility, Charitable Work, etc

· A strong, engaging Senior Leadership Team

These can all take time (particularly ‘culture’).

One thing that can make a big impact and can be actioned relatively quickly and easily, is having staff having regular Career Conversations with their managers.

Sounds simple! Your managers may think their having them when they complete a section of the appraisal (usually rushed towards the end of the conversation) or setting a PDP.

This is not enough. Managers need to have the skills, knowledge and confidence to have career conversations with ALL of their people on a regular basis. Why? To show they care, to find out how their people are feeling, to offer support, to increase motivation, and the list goes on!

The rise of the Squiggly Career

Many careers are now ‘squiggly’. They don’t follow a linear route any more. It’s essential that people at all levels understand that this is the norm now and its ok.

For me, development should take 2 forms:

1. Personal / Career Development Programmes offered to all (regardless of level).

2. Manager training to equip them with the tools and techniques to have impactive career conversations.

Our Offer

We offer bespoke workshops and programmes for both of the above.

Looking to find out more? Contact –

Or call us on: 01623 883 910

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