Great companies live in a world where they are always looking and thinking forward and developing strategy for success in the future. The best performing companies are always thinking years down the road when it comes to people management and developing high potential associates. Leading companies don’t sit around worrying about whether their best employees are going to stick around and help them get to their retention goals. The finest companies take action and make it happen by investing aggressively in their most valuable asset, their people.
Top performing companies in high growth industries require a higher caliber of people with a higher level of experience and skillets to match. Those companies understand that they must build the confidence of their employees and they design and implement hiring and training mechanisms to identify, recruit and develop better talent. Companies ask me all the time why they should invest in training for employees when there is a chance that they might leave. I ask those companies every time which is worse, investing in training to make employees better and they leave, or NOT investing in training to make employees better and they STAY?
Recent research indicates that organizations today suffer from a “skills supply chain” challenge that will be difficult to resolve. More than 70% of companies report that one of their top five challenges is a series of “capability gaps.” Your industry will suffer greatly if you cannot recruit and develop the people needed to care for your prospects and customers. Your industry will suffer greatly if you cannot train your people so that they can support one another in serving customers better than the competition can.
Leverage the explosion in training technology to your advantage as you work toward developing your team for greatness. Training tools are becoming more sophisticated, and their capabilities have been greatly enhanced in the last decade. Among the most highly advanced companies, almost 40% of all training is now delivered via mobile devices. Explore new opportunities in training your associates with virtual learning experiences and cloud tools.
Increased investment in gaps with your supply chain of skills and capabilities benefits everyone. This includes your prospects, your customers, your business, your associates, and the potential hires you are trying to recruit to join your company. You need to invest in gaining the benefits of enhanced skills for your team as it will be the engine that will drive revenue and profit growth in future years. Your company’s future depends upon that intelligent investment, so get it done.
Among high potential associates who are considering a change of job in the next 12 months, a full 64 percent indicated that their current company is not significantly impacting their development with their current job duties and experiences. Your high potential associates’ engagement levels fall off quickly, within 12-18 months, when they feel that their career development is unimportant to their manager or when it has stagnated. This indicates that an investment in associate development is strongly likely to positively impact high potential talent retention rates. In fact, a number of companies that have well-established development programs state that their loss of high-potential talent is near zero! Avoid pushing your next generation of leaders down the road to your competition. Make an aggressive investment in your associates now, improving their performance immediately, and ensuring that you are much more likely to retain them!
Ensure that the competencies that you most desire in your future leaders are the very traits developed as a part of your associate development program. Too many companies are not focused enough on developing key characteristics such as change agility or the ability to handle ambiguity. Too many managers are ill-prepared to manage global businesses effectively. Figure out which competencies correlate to your ultimate success and Plan for the necessary experiences and skills that your associates must have to ensure success. Once that is determine, then develop those characteristics proactively and aggressively.
Over 50% of companies report that their firms are ineffective at managing and retaining top talent. These same companies report significant problems with unsuccessful internal promotions and transfers, and on average they report that less than 15% of their current team are prepared to step up to a position of greater responsibility. Contrast that with companies who are leveraging a leadership development program, who report near zero problems with these challenges. Given that your top performing people want to grow and continue to work on challenging assignments, you must invest in an excellent development program that ensures that your future generations of managers and leaders are well equipped to lead effectively. Do not leave that to chance, it is too critical to your long-term success.
Who should you be developing with your development program? Frankly, almost everybody. Large corporations target the top 5-10% of the employees as strong prospects for their retention development, high potential, and fast-track programs. Look for people with a high capacity for change, rapid growth and those who behave in ways that exemplify their company values and culture, while consistently outperforming their peers in a significant way. Medium-sized and smaller companies often develop a larger percentage of their current teams as a means of accelerating their growth toward big company stature.
I love to see companies investing in their people, because the data supports the notion that investing in your associates is the best way to open up a lead on your competition and ensure that you will be extra competitive in the marketplace. My own experiences with hundreds of companies have proven to me behind a shadow of a doubt that investing in your people is a no-brainer. The top performing companies ALWAYS invest proactively in developing skills and leadership capabilities into their next generation of leaders, and they do it so that those leaders are ready to lead on their first day in the leadership assignment. They don’t wait a year or two and let their emerging leaders catch up through trial and error.
Michael is a Certified Professional Business Coach who has developed and licensed a curriculum designed to help growing companies to develop confidence and strong leadership abilities in their next generation of leaders. Companies who invest in developing their high potential employees, and their future managers and leaders outperform their competitors and grow faster and report higher profits than the norm. Investing in your people is investing in your future success, as employee turnover is the greatest expense to many underperforming companies. Eliminate the risk that your retention will be low, and insure your future success. Invest in leadership development for your future managers, and invest in skills development for your employee associates, you’ll be very glad you did. For more info, please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org. Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting, “Delivering Ambitious Results.”