Staff Professional Development

Conversation Jumpstart for Supervisors

The following are examples of questions to facilitate a professional development conversation between a supervisor and employee. 

Conversation Openers

  • What are your professional passions? What role can I play in nurturing those?
  • What makes you happy at work? When do you find yourself being most satisfied at work?
  • Where do you see yourself in one year? In five years?
  • How is your job evolving? Are there skills you need to develop in the next year in order to be more successful?
  • Is there an area of particular interest that you would like to explore further?
  • What is one thing I can do to help you enjoy your job more?
  • Is there a particular aspect of your job that is unclear or unfamiliar? What can I do to help?
  • I have identified that our department needs X skill set. Is this an area of interest to you?

Conversations for Reluctant Employees

  • What barriers are inhibiting you from pursuing your own professional development?
  • What doubts do you have that you may be able to reach the next step?
  • What individuals/books/events have most impacted who you are?
  • Let me tell you a bit about reasons why all staff are encouraged to pursue professional development…
    • The industry, including technology, is rapidly changing
    • Important knowledge needs to be transferred and retained
    • Professional development can make you a more valuable employee
    • Professional development can re-energize you
    • Cross-trained, flexible staff increases opportunities
    • Our staff is our greatest asset, we want to make sure you are happy and engaged in your job
  • There are many ways to develop your skill set to appeal to your learning style:
    • In-class training
    • Articles and books
    • Webinars, videos, web-based modules
    • Hands-on, project-based learning (learning that applies to your day-to-day job)

Conversations for Eager Employees

  • How can I support you in your professional development goals?
  • What new responsibilities or challenges would move you ahead in your goals?
  • Is there a new task or role you could take on that would make better use of your talents?
  • What projects, committees, or other responsibilities would you like to be a part of to help develop your career?
  • Is there another department you’d like to learn more about?
  • Are you interested in a mentorship program?  
  • While I understand you are interested in X, right now we need someone with Y skill set. I think you would be a great match for that.