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Career development an important key to engagement and avoiding burnout

Tools such as hindsight conversations and foresight forums can help employees develop their careers with your business, and that offers you a path to better engagement, say the authors of “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go.”

Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni decided to write their book because they wanted to show managers how easy it is to keep the best and brightest employees. Too many employees are burned out and disengaged, they note, and that means a loss of willingness to put out discretionary effort, a factor that is driven by their engagement.

Kaye and Giulioni suggest reframing your scheduled performance reviews into a feedback loop of a series of short conversations between employer and employee, some as short as five minutes.

They call the interactions “hindsight conversations,” which can start as a question you ask an employee that causes him or her to reflect, or a piece of immediate feedback that encourages further thought. The conversations should eventually involve not only an employee and a manager, but also another person who can comment on the perceptions of both. Managers should also be encouraging employees to give feedback to each other.

Foresight forums are another way to develop careers. Unlike one-on-one conversations, these are done in a group, to generate new insights and awareness among team members. The forums are also an efficient way to offer suggestions and share your perceptions as a manager.

“You’re going to have a career conversation with an employee anyway,” says Giulioni. “Why not take the extra minute to cause a pause and focus it toward career growth?”

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Senior executive roles for women seen lacking

While a majority of companies — 85 percent — see gender diversity as a priority in who manages an organization, efforts to include women in senior roles leave room for improvement, according to “Shattering the Glass Ceiling: An Analytical Approach to Advancing Women into Leadership Roles,” a report by the Boston Consulting Group.

BCG surveyed about 100 HR managers in 44 international companies, including adidas, American Express, BMW and SAP.

“Overall, women are well represented in the workplace, but the pipeline breaks down somewhere between middle management and the C suite,” according to the report. The greatest obstacle is the need for each organization to identify its own glass ceiling,” the report says.

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Forget more vacation; I’ll take more money

More vacation days or a pay raise? Which would American employees rather take?

A survey from Yahoo Finance and Parade magazine found that more than half of employees said they would choose a 5 percent raise over a boost in vacation time.

The survey results shed light on some of the trends that have become commonplace during the recession and its aftermath.

More than half of working Americans say they have three months of savings or less, according to the survey. Many employees say they will be working past traditional retirement age; nearly 30 percent expect to retire between the ages 66 and 70, the survey found.