The career development interview: a “win-win” tool offering real added value for employer and employee

Loyalty, motivation, recognition at work… are these terms you can relate to? In today’s business world, they have become firmly anchored in corporate strategy, as each company chooses its own definition as part of a coherent approach aimed at promoting these dimensions within its organisation. Many strategies exist, for example: well-being at work, career management, evaluation systems or skill based approaches. However, they will only create a real impact on employee motivation/loyalty, if they are integrated into current human resource management and managerial practices. Above all, these approaches must not concentrate on organisational efficiency as their sole objective! They must go beyond that by comprising a more ‘human’ dimension.

Career development: facts and figures from the field

In workday reality, it has often been observed that many employees are placed in positions for which they do not have the appropriate skills or even the necessary motivation.

Whereas in the past a majority of employees accepted this as inevitable, nowadays more and more people are questioning their career paths. This questioning is not limited to the older age group, who has always tended to invest greater thought into impulsing the second half of their career; the phenomenon is becoming far more widespread.

The youngest people entering the labour market today – those who have just completed their studies or who have gained their first professional experience (1) – are already asking themselves questions about their future profession and the meaning they want to give to their work right from the start. These questions about their own skills and their professional futures can be observed in all sections of the working population.

So how can we enable employees to take charge of their own career path and to find out what really motivates them to progress in their field of activity?

There is a practice that is still little known in the world of work: the “career review and development interview”, which differs from the annual assessment interview. But what is its added value?

The career review and development interview process

The purpose of the review and career development interview is simple but powerful: to develop the employee’s level of employability, thus enabling him or her to take charge of his/her career path and simultaneously building loyalty and recognition. Unlike the more traditional appraisal system, which aims to measure the employee’s performance over the past year and therefore focuses on analysing the “quantative” (results, objectives, etc.), the career development interview focuses on the “how”.

Co-constructed with the manager and the human resources manager, this type of interview leads to the definition of a professional project based on specific actions (development or adaptation of skills, support towards assuming a new role, etc.) aimed at ensuring the success of this project. On the one hand, it allows for both concrete and general reflection on the very meaning of the work carried out, and on the other, it makes it possible to consider a variety of possible directions for the future.

In the course of a structured exchange, the two parties will guide the reflection towards what is important for the employee in terms of professional experience and training, whilst also taking his/her vision of tomorrow into account, so that the orientation remains relevant and concrete.

The career development interview therefore makes it possible to assess the employee’s achievements since joining the company, to express his or her desires and plans for the future and to obtain constructive feedback from the manager on his or her work in general. This interview also gives the employee the opportunity to play an active role in his or her professional development and to ensure that his or her aspirations are taken into account and formalised in a concrete plan.

A win-win tool with real added value for the employer and the employee

This tool therefore makes it possible to take a step back, to appraise all possibilities, to recognize any limits and to look for ways in which the employee can develop in alignment with the company’s strategy and current environment, whilst also taking the possibilities for his or her future professional development in the current situation or in other sectors into account.

It should be assumed that employees can only do a good job when they feel ‘good’ (confident, comfortable, fulfilled, useful, etc.) in their job, find it meaningful and want to carry out their tasks. According to a study by the University of Warwick, happiness leads to a 12% increase in productivity among employees. Unhappy workers are 10% less productive than the average. (2)

Experience shows that many employees are not always aware of what they have achieved or acquired. By benefitting from guidance and targeted questioning, as well as working on one’s own career path in a structured way, the employee gains in awareness and self-confidence and is therefore better equipped to reflect on their career path and future challenges. For employees, this approach comprises elements of recognition, motivation and pride and also of strong personal development. For organisations, this tool is highly suitable for optimising human capital management and building employee loyalty, which is essential for the implementation of their strategy.

So offer your employees this opportunity and, in return, provide yourself with a tool that will become part of your strategic skills management; helping you to remain competitive thanks to the development of your human potential and the strengthening of your employer brand. The result is a win-win situation for both you and your employees!


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(1) [accessed July 28, 2021]
(2) [accessed July 28, 2021]
(3) Photo by Kraken Images on Unsplash