Many of our department heads have been with Shout! Factory for 12+ years. That lack of turnover is what every employer wants, especially with their executive team, right? Yes without question. There is tremendous value in that team having known each other for that long, having worked and collaborated with each other for that long. The working relationships become more familial, fostering an environment where challenging each other and pushing each other to get the best from each other is just a part of our everyday.
When you have this level of stability, your next tier employees may not see a future position for themselves. Presumably these employees are being groomed to have a bigger role, a more strategic role at the company one day in the future. Which is how it should be. But what if you have no idea when that day will come? And more importantly, they don’t know when that day might come. How do you keep these employees from leaving for new opportunities elsewhere?
The short answer is to talk.
Growth and development doesn’t always equate to a promotion. Sometimes a title promotion just simply isn’t possible. You can’t have two SVPs of HR…can you? Right? Right? You can’t, can you? No you can’t. What are their strengths? What can they be doing better? How can they complement you? In what ways can they fill in the gaps to make you more effective?
Then simply engage them in a conversation about it. In fact, I bet that your employee already has at least one idea of how to grow his or her job. What are they interested in learning? What are they interested in doing? You can be formal about it and work on a career progression plan with them. Or less formal and simply write a new job description together identifying new responsibilities.
Whether we are supervisors, department leaders or HR professionals, creating and encouraging the growth of employees is a no brainer. It is probably the least controversial concept at any workplace, you just need to make the time to do it. Not to say that identifying and creating these opportunities for employees is an easy task. For some departments or teams it may mean doing the work a different way.
While I believe it is the duty of a supervisor to identify ways to grow employees, it doesn’t all fall squarely on their shoulders alone. Employees themselves should feel empowered to start these conversations, come up with ideas and propose new responsibilities. But it is up to us, the leaders in the company, to encourage this kind of thinking and to cultivate a safe environment that makes it clear we are open to change and to new ways of working.
Okay so that all said. Let’s get to work!