The importance of talking about career plans.

Shivani Pradhan

Product Management, Azure DataBox Edge at Microsoft at Scality



One of my employees, an individual contributor in a development/architect role, approached me saying they were pursuing an MBA and wanted to have a career path discussion, concerning whether they would be able to leverage their MBA once they graduated in eight months. They asked if they could they apply internally and whether they'd be able to move internally.

Actions taken

I looked at this as an opportunity to groom this person into a management role or product management role, to retain him within the company. We brainstormed about his areas of interest and where there was an opportunity to follow-up, to potentially create shadow opportunities in areas such as product management. We agreed this would help to create cross-functional independent study opportunities to help them gain real experience and would bring our company benefits based on what they were learning at school. We also talked about how they could demonstrate thought leadership and then, as a manager, how I could create opportunities to drive an initiative to give them more experience leading with and without authority. I also helped them to identify people they could talk to in the company with an MBA, and checked if the company could provide any financial assistance or flexibility around their hours on the days they had classes.

Lessons learned

I tried to fill up the empathy map of my employee just like I would have done for a customer. As a people manager, your employee is your customer and it is very important to understand where they are coming from, and what are they seeing, hearing, thinking, processing. It's important to consider what their biggest influencing factors are and where they want to be. A lot of times people are not able to articulate where they want to be or it may not seem clear to them. As a manager, empower your staff with ideas, and share stories and examples, to help them reflect on their own thoughts. You can also provide a bridge for them to talk to particular people at work whose career inspires them.

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Shivani Pradhan

Product Management, Azure DataBox Edge at Microsoft at Scality

Leadership DevelopmentMentorship ProgramsCareer GrowthCareer ProgressionIndividual Contributor Roles

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