Career counselling skills for HR helps growth and development of staff and employees

The Importance of Career Counselling Skills for HR Professionals

March 15, 2023

Posted by Alexandra Lamb

As an HR professional, one of your primary responsibilities is to ensure the growth and development of your employees within the organisation. So, how do you do that? One way to achieve this is by offering career counselling services to your employees. By offering career counselling, you can help employees identify their strengths, interests and values, allowing them to explore potential career paths that align with their motivations and the opportunities within the company. Let's look into this further below.

Why is Career Counselling Necessary For Employees?

HR career counselling skills take time for HR to develop - they are closely related to your business partnering, coaching and mentoring capabilities. HR should be experts not only in ‘how careers work’ generally but specifically within the organisation's system of job families and promotion pathways. Employee counselling is an essential tool for HR professionals to deploy in supporting their employees' career growth and development to make an impact in the following areas:

Employee Retention

Offering career counselling services shows employees that their employer is invested in their professional growth and development. Not only does this help the employee develop crucial skills, but it can also increase job satisfaction, engagement and loyalty, which can lead to higher retention rates. The HR Business Partner and employee supervisor are often the ‘face’ of this career engagement conversation, which needs to be handled artfully.

Improved Performance

When employees have a clear understanding of their strengths and interests, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work. They can also identify areas for improvement and get guidance on how to develop the necessary skills to succeed in their role. It can lead to improved performance and productivity, benefiting both the employee and the organisation. The HR Business Partner must be able to ensure a baseline of good performance is being achieved first before engaging the employee in career counselling above and beyond their regular performance planning and expectation setting.

Career Development

Career counselling can help employees identify and develop a plan to achieve career goals. It can lead to career advancement opportunities within the organisation, giving employees a sense of purpose and motivation to succeed. The HR Business Partner, therefore, must be closely connected to the internal career mobility of the organisation in order to facilitate moves and counsel the employee.

Work-Life Alignment

Proper work-life balance is essential to keep employees engaged in the organisation and their careers. This alignment will be different for every individual, with a no ‘one size fits all’ agreement on what great balance looks like. Career counselling can help them identify career paths that align with the personal values and goals of individual employees, also known as “career anchors”, leading to a better work-life balance and increased job satisfaction. A career counsellor must be armed with the skills to explore these with a staff member on a personal level.

Increased Clarity and Career Direction

At various times in their lives, employees may need help gaining clarity on their purpose and offering career counselling is an excellent way to assist them as it can help them understand themselves better and make the right choices to fulfil their potential. This self-awareness can help them make more informed decisions about their career path, leading to greater clarity and direction in their professional lives. A career counsellor must be skilled in balancing the needs of the organisation and the needs of the individual for a mutual win:win.

When Do Employees Need Career Counselling?

two female professionals in the middle of career counselling

In-person or online career counselling may be necessary for a variety of different scenarios like the following. A trained HR Business Partner is able to identify the need for career counselling and deploy their skills to the benefit of the employee:

Career Transitions

When an employee is transitioning to a new role or department within the organisation for the first time, career counselling can help them identify the skills and experiences needed to be successful in their new position and ‘hit the ground running’ in their new role. It can also help them explore potential career paths within the organisation that align with their new role.

High Performers

Suppose an employee is a high performer, but they’re struggling with their current work, a client problem or their boss or team relationships. In that case, career counselling can help identify areas within their control for improvement and provide guidance on how to overcome or improve their skills to continue outperforming in their role. The career counsellor might recommend the HiPo sees a career coach or gets in touch with a mentor to ensure they’re getting the right support to get through these issues.

Strategic Talent Pooling

Within any large organisation, efforts are made to map career pathways and develop staff skills in line with future workforce needs and industry trends. Career counselling can be an invaluable strategy to deploy at scale across the organisation, ensuring HR is working closely with talent across all job families so career plans are in place to advance the capability of the workforce. This means HR must not only have the 1:1 counselling skills required to direct employees to coaches and mentors as needed and craft comprehensive career plans but also to report on how these efforts move the dial on performance for the company as a whole.

Why Should You Invest in training your HR in Career Counselling Skills?

Employees are the lifeline of any organisation. As such, investing in your HR team so they can support your employee’s growth is essential for a productive and engaging business operation. Investing in our HR skills around goal setting, uncovering values, aligning to company career pathways and etc., ensures you’re nurturing employee growth, which can, in turn, improve the following:


Training HR to offer career counselling services shows employees that their employer is invested in their professional development and growth, which can lead to increased loyalty and retention rates. When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to stay with the organisation long-term.


businessman commuting on a train looking at his mobile phone

Employees who receive career counselling services are more likely to have a clear understanding of their potential and opportunities for growth. This improved self-awareness can lead to improved performance and productivity, benefiting the entire organisation. HR teams don’t always innately know how to do this.

Talent Development

While HR Business Partners will be well versed in talent development, they may not see how career counselling fits into a strategic talent plan. Career counselling can help identify high-potential employees who may be suitable for leadership roles within the organisation and nurtures the motivations of identified HiPo’s. By investing in these employees' development, HR can help build a strong talent pipeline for the company's future success.

Competitive Advantage

Companies that invest in their employee's growth and development are more likely to attract top talent and have a competitive advantage in the market. Employees who feel valued and supported are more likely to recommend their organisation to others and contribute to a positive employer brand. HR Teams are often looking for ways to demonstrate how they impact the bottom line of the organisation, and by qualifying engagement and high potential retention through career counselling, they will have proof points.

Overall, investing in employee growth through career counselling services benefits everyone, but HR specifically need the training to do this effectively. By providing employees with the tools and resources they need to succeed, HR can help build a robust, engaged and talented workforce that can drive their success as a whole.

Why Choose Career Counselling Courses for your HR BP’s?

Our career counselling training for HR is a convenient and cost-effective option for you to upskill your team and impact your whole business. Our program can be delivered online or face-to-face and can be customised to your organisation's specific career pathways and internal careers cycles. We look forward to partnering with you to build your HR BP’s skills in this critical area!

About the Author:

Alexandra Lamb is an accomplished organisational development practitioner, with experience across APAC, North America, and MENA. With 20+ years in professional practice, conglomerates, and startups, she has collaborated with rapid-growth companies and industry innovators to develop leaders and high-performance teams. She is particularly experienced in talent strategy as a driver for business growth. Drawing from her experience in the fields of talent management, psychology, coaching, product development, and human-centred design, Alex prides herself on using commercial acumen to design talent solutions with true impact.

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