Building a staff of well-recruited, well-trained employees is only the beginning of your company’s journey. Identifying and developing key players in a business can help individuals and businesses alike level up over time.
But how do you know where your top performers are within your organization? What characteristics make them your leaders? How can you strategically position them alongside the rest of your people to get the most out of everybody?
Start with structure
It’s hard to identify strong employees without first being able to visualize your entire workforce. That’s why having an organizational structure is step one.
When a defined hierarchy is in place, usually in the form of an organizational chart, employees know who does what and who reports to whom. This also makes the company better prepared to make staffing decisions that improve operational efficiency and spur growth.
Not only can a thoroughly refined organizational structure help you find key players in a business, it can also provide guidance when it comes to handing out promotions, crafting development plans and managing other employee changes.
Look beyond titles
No matter how hard you look at your org chart, you won’t glean much from names, titles and reporting relationships alone. You need pertinent workforce metrics and lots of them.
Key workforce metrics include those dealing with:
- Performance – Employees with higher ratings tend to be more committed to the success of the company and more aligned with its overall goals.
- Compensation – Sometimes star players aren’t being paid as such. This can cause them to start looking elsewhere for employment. On the other hand, underperformers can be accomplishing too little while making too much.
- Budget – If a department is regularly under or over budget, it’s time to consider realigning your organizational structure to more efficiently appropriate these funds.
- Turnover/retention – Replacing employees takes a lot of time and a lot of money. If a manager has a poor turnover ratio, it might be time to give somebody else a shot. Conversely, managers who consistently retain employees may deserve consideration for a promotion and/or additional headcount.
- Age/tenure – Are any of your more influential employees nearing retirement? Have any key players been with the company for years but have yet to be promoted?
Now that you’ve pinpointed the cream of your company crop, you can make well-informed decisions regarding where they fit into the organizational structure. And when things inevitably get shaken up, you’ll be better prepared to handle it.
Key employees exist at all levels of your organization. This means succession planning is a company-wide endeavor, not something reserved only for executives. Don’t think of it as disaster recovery; succession planning should be a part of your business’s overall development strategy.
Research shows that mergers and acquisitions are on the rise. Companies buying or combining with other companies must consolidate their resources to maintain peak efficiency. This means identifying the elite employees within each organization and defining a new organizational hierarchy that allows the business to hit the ground running.
Change is a constant in life and in business. Departments get shaken up, executives retire and, no matter how hard you try, good employees find greener pastures. But these are fantastic opportunities to steel your organization around your best people and forge ahead. You just need to know who you can count on.
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