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The connection between career aspirations and team performance

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The Rising Team Career Horizons Kit focuses on long-term career aspirations and why they're important.

Career aspirations drive team results

To support your team with their career plans, start with their larger career aspirations. Once aspirations are clear, you can help map out a path forward, and align opportunities with the skills needed to get there.

Goals create purpose

What are your long-term career goals? What does future success look like for you? These are big questions for most people, but defining big goals can inspire us to make more purposeful career decisions along the way.

Long-term aspirations push us to strive for more. Whether we imagine ourselves inventing something, starting a business, writing a book, or climbing the proverbial career ladder, what we dream about in the future has an impact on how we view the present. Because if we know where we want to go, we can focus on the skills, experiences, and relationships needed to get us there.

Growth motivates people

Helping employees grow is an important part of every manager's job. Most of us understand this, so we regularly work to connect our employees' development to performance goals. What we sometimes overlook, though, is how important it is to also connect their learning and progression to their own personal and professional goals.

In fact, "growth" is one of the most common Motivators chosen in the Rising Team Motivators exercise. People want to know that their current efforts are connected to not only driving business results, but also to their longer-term personal and professional growth. And when we lead with growth in mind, we can expect to have a more effective and motivated team.

The big picture has big benefits

How would your team—and your own success—be impacted if you could not only continue attracting top talent but also hold on to them longer? Deloitte's High-Impact Workforce research found an organization's investment in helping employees achieve their long-term career goals is correlated with significantly higher business results. In fact, their study reports that "high-performing organizations are 37 times more likely to help individuals achieve their long-term career goals."

Helping employees connect their long-term aspirations to work they perform on a regular basis not only helps elevate performance, it also improves retention. LinkedIn's Workforce Learning Report reveals that "94% of employees would stay longer with a company if it invested in helping them learn."

Start with the end in mind

Now that we understand why long-term goals are important, let's explore why it's helpful to start with them.

Work backwards

During times of change and transition—and we're no strangers to those—it's normal to question why we're on the path we are. In fact, LinkedIn Learning's career expert Christine DiDonato shares that, "In times of uncertainty it's not uncommon to focus on shorter-term career decisions as they may seem easier to address." DiDonato concludes, "As much as we may think we're helping our careers, we're better off taking a step back and thinking about our longer-term aspirations. This will help us align our decisions to what's ultimately more meaningful in our lives."

"Long" is relative

How someone defines "long-term" can depend on where they are in their career. For some, it may mean 15 or 20 years down the road. For others, it could be about where they see themselves in 5 years. What's most important is that we have some vision of future success so we can work backwards from it and identify shorter-term steps that aim us in the right direction.

Focus on gaps

When working with your team to develop and articulate their career goals, encourage them to focus on the skills and experiences that can help fill the gaps they need to achieve longer term goals. This is where you come in. Your role is to help employees reach their long-term aspirations through smaller, shorter-term steps. You may not have the power to make all of their career dreams come true right now, but you do have the ability to curate development opportunities that get them closer a step at a time.

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