Volume 4: Developing Talent

Humor me for a minute.Roy

If you could have the ‘ideal’ employee for a position, how would you describe them? What would their credentials look like? How would they manage others?

Now then, how many of your employees don’t quite cut the mustard?

Often companies discover that they have one employee with a key skill, but they don’t anticipate that employee leaving. Unfortunately, the nature of this industry is that this employee will probably leave, and more often than not, the panic button will be hit. Don’t fall into this trap!

Top companies do something different.

Top companies have two solutions to getting the talent that they desire: either pillage talent from your competition, or develop talent internally. Ideally, sourcing talent should be an ongoing process; a combination of both poaching and ‘succession planning’, a.k.a. ‘replacement planning’, a.k.a. developing talent.

Why develop talent internally, when you can pillage your competition?

Sourcing your talent before you need it is something that the top companies in any industry do. In the corrugated industry, talent can come and go quite quickly, so corrugated companies absolutely need to be developing their talent internally. It is not enough to source talent externally once a key contributor leaves!

Warning: Failure to do so will likely see you lose good employees and not attract top talent to begin with.

It all comes back around to company culture. When you develop talent within your organization, you can mold employees to work in ways consistent with your company’s culture and in the image of your ‘ideal’ employee.

Show your employees that you have a plan in place and you will be able to hold the developmental process as an enviable evolution in a person’s career.

Employees who are trained internally are generally happier, more likely to stay in your company, and most importantly, they’re more useful and productive employees.

If you want to be able to promote new leaders from within your company and keep the top talent within your organization, you need to have a plan in place to train potential leaders and develop individuals’ skills.

An idiot with a plan can beat a genius without a plan.

My advice: Set up a formalized program with timetables, benchmarks and incentives.

Good development of employees doesn’t have to break the bank: internal training classes, mentoring, and outside seminars are great ways to develop your employees’ skills.

Most importantly, make sure that your employees are given the opportunity to apply their new found knowledge in the workplace. There is a lot to be said for watching your emerging leaders as you train them to see if they step up after the seminars, developmental conversations, and training classes.

And you mustn’t let your efforts lapse! Keep your programs going! Developing top talent is an ongoing process, so set up a long term program for developing talent in your company.

Who should be given the golden egg of development?

Some aspire to be leaders, whilst others are happy to be followers. How can you recognize the employees who aspire to be leaders?

“Well, the world needs ditch diggers too.” (Caddyshack, 1980)

 When you use a mentor, the developmental conversations can be a great way to identify staff members wanting to develop their skills in the corrugated industry.

Your effort to find your future leaders should be significant enough that only those employees who demonstrate the potential to succeed are offered the opportunity to participate in development.

Not developing employees who strive for leadership is a likely way to lose them. Wouldn’t you prefer to work for a company that developed its employees’ skills and added value to their careers?

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