3 Professional Development Questions Every Employee Should Ask Themselves


Organizations are asking employees to play an active role in their professional development. Employees are embracing the idea as a way to control their career. However, in order for employees to successfully manage their own development, it’s means that they need to regularly monitor their status towards their goals. 

How exactly can they do that? Well, managers can coach employees on the best way to stay focused on their goals. Here are three questions managers can use during employee coaching sessions:

  1. What are you consuming? By consuming, I mean reading, listening, and watching. Employees need to find good resources to challenge their thinking and help them grow. Every once in a while, they need to change what they consume – find new resources and not be afraid to take a break from the ones that they’ve outgrown. By no means does this imply you can’t read a book by the pool just for fun or binge watch the last season of your favorite television show. However, employees should always be on the lookout for a blog or book that will make them think.
  2. Who do you spend time with? We all like hanging out with our friends. That’s why they’re our friends. But employees should ask if they ever find themselves hanging out with someone they don’t particularly care for? If that’s the case, ask why and if there a way to change the situation. It’s one thing to spend time with a person who challenges you to the point of being mentally exhausted after an hour. That might be a good kind of tired. But it’s another thing altogether to spend time with people who wear you out with snark or constantly challenge your sensibilities just to get your attention.
  3. Where are your role models? One way to learn a new behavior is by watching or connecting with others. When employees think of the things they’re trying to learn, who are those people that perform the skill well? Once they’ve identified those individuals, figure out how to connect with them. In some cases, the employee might be able to meet that person and build a relationship with them. In others, they might need to follow them on social media or even just read their work.

When employees control their professional development, the role of the manager changes. They are no longer the person who tells the employee what to do. The manager is the person who coaches the employee so they can better figure it out for themselves.

Employees can ask themselves these three questions on an annual, semi-annual or quarterly basis to stay in touch with their career goals and make adjustments as they see fit. The questions really focus on how employees spend their time, making sure it’s being spent in the right ways.  

It’s very easy to fill your plate with career development activities that don’t help achieve goals. Employees might do something because everyone else is doing it. It’s a good think for managers to provide a regular reminder to align activities with career goals.


The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

Add new comment

Please enter the text you see in the image below: