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									              BWH Handbook for Supervisors / Managers:
         A Resource for Guiding Employee Career Conversations

Brigham and Women’s Hospital is dedicated to helping employees advance and grow in
their careers. As the hospital builds a culture of employee support and mentoring,
managers and supervisors have increasingly expressed interest in assisting their staff
members to explore career options and to define their goals towards advancement.

BWH would like to support career growth by simplifying the initial career exploration
process. We accomplish this by collecting and categorizing information about health
careers, and by offering tools that managers and employees can use as they start to think
about the many opportunities in the health care field. Information about health care
careers and opportunities will be available on the BWH Workforce Development website,
and in written materials such as this career guide. It is hoped that granting easy access to
this basic information will allow career seekers to better focus on their goals, and will
help managers and supervisors to guide employees through this rather complicated

In addition to written materials, BWH will provide career counseling, career information
sessions, and opportunities to participate in job shadows and hospital departmental tours.
Each of these resources is meant to help employees explore every facet of the career they
would like to learn more about and, potentially, to pursue.

This brief guide is designed to help managers and supervisors engage their employees in
initial career exploration discussions. It is not intended to replace career coaching/
counseling, but rather to help employees and their supervisors/ managers to start the
exploration process. In this guide, you will find useful information on when to have
career conversations and tips on how to conduct these conversations with your
                         Table of Contents
1. Career Conversations: FAQs:
      a. What is a career conversation?
      b. Why should managers engage in career conversations?
      c. When should a career conversation take place?
      d. Who is responsible for an employee’s career growth?

2. Career Conversations 101: How to have a meaningful career conversation

3. Career Coaching:
      a. What is a career coach?
      b. What is the relationship between the career coach and the manager?

4. Other Resources

5. Health Care Occupations: Quick facts on some “hot” healthcare professions

6. Career Growth Resource Contact List
   Career Conversations: FAQs

What is a career conversation?

   A career conversation is a discussion between managers/supervisors and their
   employees that helps employees to think about their strengths, weaknesses and
   interests as they consider new career options.

Why should managers engage in career conversations with their employees?
   Managers and supervisors are role models who can inspire employees to take charge
   of their careers and explore the many opportunities available to them within our
   organization. Managers and supervisors can help employees to see themselves as
   career owners who are encouraged and supported to optimize their potential and, in
   turn, to maximize their contribution to BWH.

When should a career conversation take place?

   Career conversations should be conducted separate from employee evaluations or
   performance appraisal sessions. While the two conversations ideally complement
   each other, the separation is necessary to ensure that there is no confusion regarding
   the purpose of the conversation and to maintain the specific goals of each meeting.

         The goal of the Performance Appraisal is to evaluate past performance; it is a
          chance to acknowledge an employee’s strengths and to identify opportunities
          for future performance improvement.
         The goal of the Career Conversations is to establish future growth.

Who is responsible for career growth?

   Ultimately, employees are responsible for growing their own careers. Employees
   should be considered “career owners.”

   Managers and supervisors may support their employees’ career growth in several
   ways, including:
       Listening to the employee’s stated interests and aspirations.
       Reviewing the employee’s strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of
          the employee as well as from their own perspective.
       Using basic career exploration tools to help employees evaluate possible
       Guiding employees to career growth resources within the organization,
              o Career coaches
              o Career exploration seminars and workshops
              o Internal training opportunities
o BWF Workforce Development website
o Career champions and ambassadors
Career Conversations 101:
Some tips for conducting a meaningful career conversation
Open communication and proper focus are important when conducting a career
conversation. The following suggestions may help you, as a supportive
manager/supervisor, to lead the conversation:
        Ask open-ended questions. Stay away from “yes or no” questions.
        Start with phrases like “Tell me about…” and “How…”
        Push the employee, as a career owner, to be specific and set concrete goals. A
           useful guide is to keep goals “SMART:”
               o Specific
               o Measureable
               o Action-oriented
               o Realistic (or Relevant to larger life goals and values)
               o Time bound
        Don’t assign value to the career owner’s answers/ideas- try not to judge them
           as “good” or “bad”
        Keep the career owner focused on him/herself, not on the team or department
        LISTEN!!!
        Be honest, candid and helpful
        Focus on the future, not the past. This is about what the employee wants to do,
           regardless of his or her current department, company, etc. Try not to limit the
           discussion to the employee’s current state— how the work is structured in the
           department, etc.
        Determine appropriate next steps:
               o Define which organizational resources will most benefit the employee.
                   You may want to list various resources for the employee to choose
               o Is the employee specific about his/her goals and ready to seek more in-
                   depth knowledge from professionals in the field, or
               o Is the employee not sure of his/her goals and better suited to meeting
                   with a career coach before proceeding?
Career Coaching

  What is a career coach?

  A Career Coach is a professional counselor trained to help individuals assess their
  abilities/interests and to help them define their career goals and the steps required to
  achieve those goals. The Career Coach can help an employee to explore all of his/her
  options and to better focus his/her career aspirations. The Coach will help the
  employee/career owner to create a specific action plan called a Career Plan. The
  Career Plan is made up of short-, mid-, and long-range goals to help them reach their
  desired outcome.

  What is the relationship between the Career Coach and the Manager?
  Once the Career Plan is created, the manager/supervisor can help to support the
  employee/career owner to reach the goals necessary to achieve success. A
  manger/supervisor may:
        Review the Career Plan with the employee
        Evaluate the employee’s strengths/weaknesses in relation to his/her long-,
         short- and mid-term goals
        Review the skills and experiences that the career owner may draw from in
         order to achieve his/her goals
        Help to define the areas of development necessary to achieve goals:
              o What competencies does the career owner need to develop in order to
                   meet his/her goals?
              o What experience does the career owner need to gain in order to meet
                   his/her goals?
        Support the career owner’s progress by encouraging and mentoring, if
         possible,or by helping the employee network with other managers,
         supervisors, and professional experts (“champions/ambassadors”) who might
         help to guide the career owner as he/she progresses towards a specific career.
        When possible, allow an employee to take advantage of flexible scheduling
         options to attend training and/or college programs.
        If it is not possible to provide flexible scheduling within the department, a
         manager/supervisor may help an employee seek a position in a different
         department that would allow for a more flexible schedule.
        Become a “cheerleader!” A simple “pat on the back,” or a few words of
         encouragement when things get challenging, can mean the difference between
         success and failure to the career owner.
Other Resources
In addition to supportive managers, supervisors, and career coaches, BWH provides
several additional resources to assist individuals who express interest in achieving career
growth. These include:

          Workforce Development/Training Professionals: Individuals who focus on
           providing career information and support at all levels to employees who seek
           to grow professionally within the organization. Workforce Development and
           Training professionals provide career exploration seminars, education finance
           workshops, in-house and external educational opportunities, and other
           valuable resources for career owners to utilize as they develop their future
           career plans.
          Human Resource Professionals: Human Resource (H.R.) specialists can
           provide job descriptions and help employees to seek employment
           opportunities/transfers that may be more suited to their goals or work/school
           schedules. H.R. also can help guide employees through the tuition
           reimbursement process.
          “Career Ambassadors” and “Career Champions:” Professionals from virtually
           all healthcare specialties that have expressed an interest in helping employees
           to achieve career growth. These people may help employees in several ways:
                o Career exploration: Career Champions and Ambassadors help
                   employees to get an in-depth understanding of the various
                   opportunities presented in the healthcare field. They, as experts in their
                   field, provide focused conversations about the career, departmental
                   tours, career seminars, and job shadows.
                o Mentoring: Some Career Champions/Ambassadors have offered to
                   provide mentorship and guidance to career owners interested in their
                   areas of expertise.
                o Internships/preceptorships: Some Career Champions/Ambassadors are
                   able to provide clinical training and internships to students in their
                   field. They may also be willing to provide “preceptorships” to new
                   graduates in their field to help welcome, orient and train them in their
                   new role as healthcare professionals.

Thank You for your interest in supporting your employees.
It is hoped that this quick overview and the following career information sheets will help
you to provide guidance and support to your employees. In addition, a career growth
resource contact list has been provided to assist you in locating the appropriate resources
for you and your employees. Your role in employee development is crucial and your
willingness to help your employees achieve their professional goals is to be applauded.
   BWH Career Growth Resource Contact List:

   1. Workforce Development/Training Specialists:
        a. Workforce Development office……………………………617-713-3738

           b. Geoff Vercauteren, Career Coach …………………………617-713-3745

   2. Human Resources:
        a. Main number………………………………………………617-954-9600

   3. Healthcare Career Exploration Websites:
         a. Partners in Career and Workforce Development (PCWD):
         b. Massachusetts Hospital Association Pulse:
         c. Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development, Career
            Information System: http://www.detma.org/Masscis.htm

Information about Workforce Development

Who We Are

The Workforce Development team is a part of the Human Resources Department
reporting directly to the Vice President of Human Resources. The team is comprised of
professionals with experience in Human Resources and career coaching. They support
employees interested in advancing their careers at the hospital by providing them with
career coaching and counseling. They perform research and outreach activities to build
relationships with the local community. The Workforce Development Team also acts as a
clearing-house for information related to education, career ladders, career advancement,
educational financing, and more.

Our Approach

The workforce development team works closely with HR professionals and managers to
understand the hospital’s labor needs now and in the future. The team also partners with
colleagues throughout the Partners system, CBO and academia to share practices and
collaborate on initiatives that best meet the business needs of the organization.
Our Team

Beverley Sobers
Email: bsobers@partners.org

Geoff Vercauteren
Career Coach

Hector Colon
Career Community Liaison

Melanie Som
Program Coordinator

Elizabete De Moura
HR Assistant
The following individuals and organizations have contributed the information and
expertise necessary to create this guide:

1. Ted Witherell, Manager, Partners Organizational Development
2.  Partners Information Systems Career Growth Initiative Team
3.  Beverley Sobers, BWH Workforce Development Manager
4.  Angela Crutchfield, BWH Director of Organizational Development and Learning
5.  Carlyene Prince-Erickson, MGH Director of Employee Education and Leadership
6. Helen Witherspoon, MGH Program Manager, Human Resources
7. HealthCare Managers/area experts from Partners Hospitals
8. Partners in Careers and Workforce Development (PCWD) Team
9. Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development Career Information
10. Massachusetts Hospital Association Pulse
11. Karen Shack and Rebekah Lashman, Boston Private Industry Council

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