Ambitious professionals yearning for recognition and career advancement naturally gravitate to companies who will help facilitate growth. Future-focused companies who are collaborative and employee-centered, empowering individuals and teams to implement great ideas, therefore, become magnets for job candidates.
By extension, they also become known as great places to work. Really listening to employees and encouraging creativity (and action) are admirable qualities for employee-focused organizations.
With that in mind, here are three steps employers, their leaders and managers can take to earn this coveted reputation:
Create a development plan for each employee
In other words, create a mechanism where individual employees can identify goals and also monitor progress toward those goals. The plans should also be customizable, evolving as the workplace evolves.
This living and breathing development plan should be one that an employee owns and is accountable for. The plan also should include regular, quarterly reviews with their manager to discuss challenges, acknowledge success milestones and ways to expand beyond the original plan scope and goals.
Showcase your employees
Leaders generally credit their overall team for great sales results or successful marketing and operational initiatives, but how often do they showcase a specific employee for their particular idea or contribution? What forum do they use to personally commend a staff member for a role they played in bringing on a new client, closing a deal, sparking a new product idea or enhancing an existing process?
Singling out someone for their unique contribution and commending them publicly, in front of a more senior-level manager, for example, can pave a path toward that employee's visibility and advancement.
Generous career bridge building not only rewards employees but also a manager’s reputation. Over time, word gets out they are a career-cultivating, employee-centric leader who not only rallies their teams to success but also lifts them and their careers to new heights. Their reward is increased employee loyalty and a reputation that inspires others to work for them, in essence, boosting retention and recruiting efforts.
Encourage burnt out employees to stay
Amid challenging business deadlines and rapid organizational change or growth, “burnt out” often becomes the norm. At these times, some of your best employees may conclude that burning the candle at both ends has its limits. After years of hurdle leaping and racing to project finish lines, exhaustion peaks and employees cry, “Enough!” They have no more to give, and their focus becomes exiting the company.
A future-viewing organization looks out for these situations, taking a proactive approach to stem the flow of employee defection. While not every departing employee can be convinced to remain (and in some situations, that is probably a good thing), instances where the employee and company would both benefit from a reinvigorated relationship are also quite realistic.
For example, picture an employee who been performing a purely consultative or transactional sales role for a few years. While they consistently meet or exceed their revenue goals, they now show signs of diminished enthusiasm—the thrill of the sale no longer excites. Now imagine that, over the years, they have shown signs of marketing prowess, e.g., creating compelling digital media content.
Finding a way to expand their role into the marketing side of the business, while liberating them from sales accountabilities, might make sense. And by promoting them, management also frees up a role for a lesser experienced employee to advance into, spurring a positive ripple in the company.
A final word on developing employees
Fostering a culture where employees can work hard, speak up and enthusiastically expend extra energy and effort with an expectation that their employer will reciprocate is a win-win-win in the making. The company benefits from higher revenue and market growth, employees benefit from supercharged careers, and customers benefit from a more engaged and motivated workforce inspired to provide greater service and products.