If all your senior leaders disappeared tomorrow, would your business be prepared?
For most resourcing leaders it’s important to know when it’s fitting to recruit externally and when it’s appropriate to dip into your internal talent pool. Finding the right people to grow your organisation is one thing, developing those people to lead that growth is another.
How do you go about identifying future leaders within the business?
Firstly, outline what skills and qualities a successful leader in your organisation should have. This will help set a benchmark going forward.
Second, review your talent, assessing performance, potential, and organisational needs on a regular basis. This creates opportunities to tune into their aspirations as well as their areas of improvement.
Lead with your leadership offering
Many companies shout from the rooftops about their employee benefits and perks, such as saving schemes, season ticket loans and cycle-to-work schemes. But when was the last time you heard someone leave or join a company for a voucher to purchase a new bicycle? Instead, aim higher. Promote your leadership development offering at the top of your list of employee benefits and make sure that is communicated both externally and internally.
Attract and engage millennials
Technology giants are luring millennials with everything from sleep pods to rock-climbing walls in their employer brand marketing.
The Robert Walters Group discovered that what millennial professionals want the most is a clear path to career progression. Millennials want progression opportunities more than a bean bag lounge or beer fridge, with 69% citing a clear path for progression in a business as the most important factor in keeping them engaged.
This ambitious generation have grown up being told they are capable of achieving anything and this confidence and expectation means that they desire responsibility early on in their careers. Organisations who start their future leader planning early will have the upper hand at attracting and retaining this demographic.
By 2020, millennials will form 50% of the global workforce. And while engaging and retaining millennials will feed your future leader pipeline, it’s also important to recognise that the desire to move up transcends generations.
Mystery doesn’t mould management
Be clear and transparent about future opportunities, don’t just throw people on a succession plan. Senior decision-makers will sometimes have a secret vision for who they want to progress into certain roles.
Planning is key, but if your plan is withheld from the individuals who are instrumental for its success, it’s a plan that’s likely to fail.
Transparency builds trust and it can motivate future leaders to move forward towards their career goals.
You may already have robust succession planning and leadership development activities in place, but make sure your plans are in line with your people’s aspirations.
Side-step skills shortages
Are you planning for what your organisation needs tomorrow or what they needed yesterday? From where in the organisation are you going to get this need?
Developing talent in-house by up-skilling current employees is an effective way of helping employers avoid skills shortages. It can also help keep employees engaged and satisfied by offering them opportunities for professional development.
Playing the long game to win loyalty
Organisations who weave in career path planning into their review systems can increase employee retention rates. Having conversations about their career aspirations at regular touchpoints lets your employees know that you are thinking about them long-term.
Reinforce company culture and values
Messaging around an organisation’s culture will come from your Marketing team, and policies will come from HR. But senior management are the company culture.
By instilling your company’s cultural DNA in your succession plans early, your future leaders are also growing into future brand ambassadors and internal role models. This is especially helpful when expanding a business into new geographies.
More confident decision-makers and calculated risk-takers
Half the battle of implementing anything new is mitigating the risks involved. Home-grown leaders have seen the failures and successes of past employees.
With the knowledge of what worked and what hasn’t worked, home-grown leaders can feel more confident ushering in new ideas and ways of working.
Create a culture of ownership
In sales-focused work environments, fostering an entrepreneurial approach is the key to success. In the same way, employees should be encouraged to own their own career development.
Providing self-assessment and development opportunities at regular touchpoints throughout the year can create a culture of growth within the business.
Futureproof your business, not just your staffing
The growth of a business is dependent on an organisation’s ability to grow leaders—not just managers. By creating the proper framework to discover why your people get out of bed in the morning, you will help identify who you should focus on growing into those leaders.
Investing over time in the development of a strong home-grown leadership strategy will create a sustainable foundation for future growth.
About Indy Lachhar
Indy leads the Resource Solutions People and Development Team who focus on building the infrastructure to increase our people capability, enhance employee engagement, performance management, learning and development and diversity and inclusion programmes and offerings.