(Originally published on LinkedIn)
One of the things we're observing at EY is that having frequent conversations about progress against goals – not just at year-end but throughout the year – keeps people focused on the future and the variables they can control. There is less emphasis on past performance, and instead, people look at what's ahead. It puts our people back in the driver's seat of their careers … and makes a positive difference!
One of our younger professionals, Jenna, told me a story about her experience with ongoing feedback conversations, and it perfectly illustrates why more feedback fuels career growth.
Jenna took on a counselee for her client engagement, and when it was time for his 90-day one-on-one conversation, she saw he had received excellent feedback from the team and client. Jenna had also seen him exceed expectations on the engagement. He was a superstar, and she was excited to talk with him about his performance.
Yet as their conversation unfolded, the counselee expressed concerns. Jenna dug a little deeper and found out that the counselee had received negative feedback from his counselor on a previous engagement, and he was concerned that the negative feedback had followed him into the new engagement. Jenna reassured him she had absolutely no concerns about his performance in the present and future.
Jenna told me the best part about that conversation was that although her counselee received negative feedback, he had a chance to learn and adjust because of it. Instead of feeling weighed down all year by a negative review, the counselee was able to change course. He was doing exactly the right thing with the feedback he received, and he had improved his performance.
This fall, EY launched a new approach to careers, development and performance, called LEAD. One of the best aspects of LEAD is that it enables our people to receive more feedback as part of ongoing career conversations. Each professional meets with his or her counselor every quarter to talk about short-term activities, development opportunities and career aspirations.
Forward-looking conversations empower our people to identify areas for continued growth, as well as plan their careers.
As part of this new framework, feedback comes from all sources. Our professionals can hear from their colleagues and supervisors in any service line in the firm. The result? Our people are receiving more feedback on an ongoing basis. They're empowered to make choices about their own careers, based on well-rounded and frequent input from their peers and those they work for most often.
I'm really excited about our new approach! Regardless of generation, engaging today's professionals demands finding new ways of working, ways that fit their preferences and goals. LEAD fosters better conversations that are focused around becoming better professionals. And ultimately, this helps all of us fulfill our purpose of building a better working world.
Carolyn Slaski is the EY Americas Vice Chair of Talent.