Career clinic

Your career dilemmas answered by experts

Q: I’m the manager of a youth offending team and have just returned from a year on maternity leave. My deputy acted up while I was away and did a fantastic job. I know he really enjoyed himself and it’s going to be very hard for him to go back to his former role with less responsibility and status. I would hate to lose him – what can I do to motivate him?

A. If he has done well and enjoyed the challenge, he will want to move on, replies Pauline Moignard, freelance human resources consultant specialising in social care.

The key is to ensure he feels valued so that he seeks promotion within the organisation. Although you must resume your responsibilities, it is important you do not immediately relieve him of everything he has been doing as that will convey the wrong message.

Perhaps he has he been carrying out some project work while you are away or representing your team in a wider forum? If so, it may be appropriate for him to continue with these roles for the time being to retain continuity.

I suggest you devote a special supervision session to discussing what went well, what he enjoyed and whether there are some areas of work it would be appropriate to continue to delegate within the definition of your respective job descriptions. He will want to find ways to continue to develop his skills and you will also need to help him to identify new training objectives.

Many organisations introduce special projects which provide opportunities for internal volunteers to contribute to and develop their skills and knowledge. Make sure you find out about any such activities and encourage him to participate. Your strategic or performance management teams or human resources manager should be able to help or there may be information on your intranet.

If and when he moves on let’s hope it will be elsewhere in your organisation. If you have helped him achieve progress in his career then you will have improved his motivation and generated goodwill, which will be a satisfying achievement for you too.

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