How to Build Career Growth into Your Software Engineering Organization?
Consider this: your team is stuck with the same scope of responsibilities in what appears to be a never ending cycle. As a software manager you are also stuck. If your team does not grow, you don’t grow. It’s that simple. Your team becomes a revolving door, your talent starts accepting the mediocrity of mindless maintenance, and you will likely get overwhelmed if you try to inject some energy by signing up for more responsibilities.
You can be most impactful in making your team and organization successful by showing your employees how to build their careers. Your customers will thank you. Gradual and continuous career growth will increase the impact of your organization while simultaneously improve your manager brand and the value of your deliverables.
The principal challenge all managers face is the not knowing of how exactly to guide career growth conversations in a structural and purposeful manner comprehending of various growth opportunities. Metaphorically speaking, we either lack a compass or the landscape. We will show you a simple process that removes this complexity and gets you well on your way to being the manger your teams wants you to be.
So, how do you show your team that their career development is an active interest to you? And, how do you actually go about delivering on this? Bellow we’ll share a few tips. It works for us. We hope it will work for you.
- Build trust with your employees.
- Set actionable and measurable career development growth objectives.
- Develop growth plans you can track against.
- Have open discussions and feedbacks.
- Incentivize your employees to upgrade skills.
Build Trust With Your Employees.
Don’t be the boss. Build lateral relationships with your team; meaning, give your team space to execute and make decision. Learn to observe and be curious about what drives them, how do they understand success, how forthcoming are they with challenges or updates….etc. That’s the only way you’ll discover how to best help you team. Trust may be established as a result of seeing each other as team mates regardless of the vertical chain of command.
Set actionable and measurable career development growth objectives.
Think about employee growth in the same way you build products. This method of thinking will help you be more active and results focused; whether you are looking for behavior change, or closing on a skill gap, or being customer driven…..etc. Setting actionable and measurable goals defining desired results helps you maintain focus on what’s important.
Maximum growth opportunities are realized when growth objectives are aligned with organizational needs or customer deliverables.
Develop growth plans you can track against
Once you’ve set goals with each team member, the next step is to consider developing the plans for successfully achieving those goals. Organizations that focus on employee career growth discovered that each employee needs their own individual growth plan.
Creating personalized employee growth plans show that we are meeting our talent half-way; we recognize their strengths and interests, have a common vision of what success looks like, and work together to achieve the said growth objectives.
Additionally, a personalized employee growth plan helps you better define exactly what it means to align growth objectives with organizational and/or customer deliveries. Going through the exercise of writing down what you want out of these growth opportunities will help you realize them.
Have Open Discussions and Feedbacks.
One of the main obstacles in career growth is that effective 1 on 1 conversations between the team members and the manager either isn’t happening at all or has little to no impact. Open discussions are integral to a working environment due to the reason that they allow employees to state the problems they’re facing that might be negatively effecting their career growth, and allow suggestions that can help the organization grow. Moreover, these discussions can be a growing opportunity since managers can give constructive feedback to employees on the areas they can improve and excel in as well as assist the improvement process. All in all, having 1 on 1 meetings can help employees resolve their problems and improve the areas they should work on that will ultimately cater to increased career growth for the team as a whole.
Incentivize Your Employees to Upgrade Skills.
A necessary element to career growth is to continuously update your skills. An employee that doesn’t give significance to upgrading their skills gets left behind in today’s competitive era. You will also be stuck with them. Incentivize your employees to acquire new skills and improve existing skills. While many employees may have the mindset and ability to upgrade their skills, they lack the incentives they need to move ahead with new learning dimensions. You, as the manager, can help your team by showing how these new skills enables them to be more impactful in their existing roles.
How Do You Know You Have Got It?
Once you have the above-mentioned tips in place, it is important to evaluate whether the strategies being implemented are working towards your goals. So, how do you know you have got it?
Observe how motivated and well-prepared your team is on this subject. What questions do they ask? Are the conversations forward looking? Does it feel that you want this more than they do? Do they discuss new learnings with you? Can you see a behavior change? Or, a skill-gap being closed?
By now we hope you are convinced that it’s important to build a culture of continuous learning leading to the personal and professional growth of our employees. A key take away is the recognition that as managers we are responsible for defining and implementing the framework through which we scale-up our employees. If you can manage to align your employees growth opportunities with customer or organizational impact, you’ll be able to build a work environment your employees are more interested being a part of. You, as the manger, will grow through these experiences as well.
Originally published at https://www.actagan.com on April 27, 2020.