Career management firm Lee Hecht Harrison reports that when it comes to career and professional development, most employees believe they are on their own. According to a recent online poll of more than 450 individuals throughout the United States, less than one-fourth of employees reported feeling that their managers were interested in helping them grow professionally.

Regular career conversations are critical to engagement, retention, and business performance, says Kristen Leverone, senior vice president and global talent development practice leader for Lee Hecht Harrison. "If you are not actively engaging and supporting the people who work for you, you're probably not getting their best work."

She adds, "Managers need to see this as a priority and invest the time to check in regularly with their employees. And quick check-ins are just as important as full career coaching discussions because it signals to the employee that leaders are interested in and value them."

In response to the question: "Do you feel your manager is interested in your professional development?" Answers broke down like this:

Source: Online poll conducted by Lee Hecht Harrison in May 2012