4 things to know about this year's Career Conversations

4 things to know about this year's Career Conversations

By Brad ContentoDivision of Human Resources
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Career Conversations focus on the future by promoting growth, learning and development.
Career Conversations focus on the future by promoting growth, learning and development.
Helena A. Rodrigues, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Helena A. Rodrigues, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
The window to complete Career Conversations opened April 1 and closes June 30.
The window to complete Career Conversations opened April 1 and closes June 30.

Here are four things you should know about this year's Career Conversations, one of the University's most important and structured tools to help employees grow and succeed.

"The University's goal with Career Conversations is that every employee not only reflects on past accomplishments, but also looks ahead to establish a tailored development and growth plan for the next six to 12 months," says Helena A. Rodrigues, vice president and chief human resources officer. "Over the past two years, we have been working to clarify the Career Conversations process, making it easier to follow and providing guidance online. I encourage all employees and supervisors to visit the HR website and get started."

The window to complete Career Conversations opened April 1 and closes June 30.

1. There's a new submission process.

Employees will now upload their signed forms to UAccess Employee by clicking the "Career Conversation" tile on the UA Employee Main Homepage. The process replaces the previous method, in which supervisors emailed completed forms to Employee Records.

The new submission method offers several benefits.

  • It's more secure and accessible than keeping the file on your desktop or in a digital or hard copy folder.
  • It ensures you won't lose or misplace your copy.
  • It makes it easier to search through all previous Career Conversations at once and to see the goals you set for the previous year when you start working on your next conversation.
  • It provides a simple way to compile your achievements to prepare for career progression conversations.
  • It ensures your Career Conversations stay with your employee profile even if you change positions within the University or your direct supervisor changes.

Please visit the Forms, Guides, and Resources section of the Career Conversations webpage for more information about the process.

2. There's a new professional development resource.

This is the first time that LinkedIn Learning courses – made available to benefits-eligible employees in late 2021 – can be easily incorporated into development plans outlined in Career Conversations.

Supervisors can work with their direct reports to identify growth and professional development courses that will support employees in learning new skills and reaching their goals for the coming year.

To activate your account, visit the About LinkedIn Learning page.                                              

3. The process has five steps.

While flexible, the Career Conversations process does ask employees and supervisors to follow this five-step framework:

  • Kick-off – The employee takes the first step by filling out their portion of the Career Conversations form. They then send the form to their direct supervisor.
  • Review – The supervisor reviews the employee's form and adds feedback and comments. If your unit conducts an upper management review, that would occur during this step.
  • Conversation – The employee and supervisor meet to discuss a plan for growth and development over the next year.
  • Summary – Based on the conversation, the supervisor adds final comments to the form, signs it and returns it to the employee for review.
  • Sign-off – The employee reviews the information, adds comments, offers final remarks, signs the form and then submits it via UAccess Employee.

4. Career Conversations are not the same thing as performance management.

While performance management is an important management activity, it focuses mainly on measuring past work. By contrast, Career Conversations:

  • Focus on the future by promoting a culture of growth, framed around learning and development, and opening the door to discuss career aspirations.
  • Emphasize achievements by creating an opportunity for recognition, and inviting and documenting positive feedback from supervisors.
  • Allow for self-reflection by encouraging employees to define and document their work, goals and aspirations.
  • Identify obstacles by helping employees and supervisors constructively identify and remove barriers to goals and determine what help and support might be needed.

Tips for completing your Career Conversation form

  • Use the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals framework. Find a SMART goal-setting template, as well as user and reference guides, on the Career Conversations webpage.
  • Your Career Conversation goals should explicitly align with University strategic goals or with your unit's defined goals.
  • You should explicitly identify the University values that each of your goals embodies.
  • The Career Conversation form can be signed electronically or by hand. If your supervisor prefers Adobe Sign, you can find instructions on the Career Conversations webpage.
 

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