Just as you must look to future customers and revenue streams to grow your business, it’s smart to start building future leaders.
Your company’s future leaders could be right under your nose – and you might not even know it. That’s because knowing how to identify leadership-worthy talent isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
Here are three key steps that will help you prepare today’s employees to be the company leaders of tomorrow.
Interview with an eye to the future
Have a well-written job description to reflect the position requirements. Potential employees need to know what you’re looking for, and so should you, right off the bat. These descriptions should reflect the company’s general business strategy, as well as help you determine the competencies and skills needed to get the job done.
Your interview process should be structured to recognize essential job skills. Assessments and pre-employment testing can you help determine candidates’ skills. It can also help you judge their ability and desire to grow in the job. These can be competency assessments, but they can also be behavior-focused to determine how candidates learn and how you can help them advance in the company.
Ideally, recruiters will consider future potential during the recruitment process. There are some legal compliance issues associated with pre-employment screenings and assessments, so employers should consult a legal counselor before implementing them.
Identify high-potential employees
There are many effective tools in identifying high-potential employees.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggests using the nine-box grid (see example below) that evaluates employees’ current and potential levels of service to a company. It plots whether the employees are below, meeting or exceeding expectations and determines their individual growth potential.
Conducting thorough performance reviews can also help you identify your potential leaders. It provides a consistent way to measure your employees’ success. Workers who are consistently accomplishing more than others may have what it takes to move up the ladder.
Moreover, most performance review processes require employees to identify and document their professional goals. This can help you identify which employees are seeking growth or leadership opportunities on their career path. These are the people that should be considered for future leadership.
Sometimes the next leader of your company is hidden within the ranks of your current employees – don’t forget to look at the consistent performers as a talent pool for advancement. The best choice may be the diamond in the rough – with a little polish it will shine brightly.
Develop talent for the future
Helping your employees develop their skills is a smart investment for any business. But, the organization should also provide employees who are deemed “potential leaders” with additional mentoring and training to help them become the next generation of leadership. Some states, including Louisiana, Massachusetts and California, offer assistance programs for small business employee training.
For some small businesses, upward mobility may be limited, which means there is little incentive for employees to strive for professional advancement within the organization. If this is your challenge, the best thing you can do is to be transparent about where your company is going, how it’s doing and any obstacles it’s facing. Oftentimes, because you have involved them in the business, employees will help find and implement solutions for growth.
Recruiting well, staff management and employee development are key elements to optimizing your workforce. It takes time, resources, money and commitment; but it’s an investment in the future. You can spend time now developing and keeping your employees engaged or spend time later on recruiting and training new hires – because strong employees will go where they can grow and succeed.
Click here to find out how Insperity can provide you with the tools that will help you manage your workforce, communicate your goals and evaluate employees’ performance.