Developing Great Employees

The biggest problem most of my clients face today is a shortage of good people. Actually, it is a problem common to all industries, right now. A Five Guys restaurant in Washington, stood ready to open for over a year before it actually opened, because they could not find enough people to staff it. Another company in that same state has been known to offer a new Tesla to recent college graduates who join their company.

Most of the companies I work with have from ten to twenty open slots for people at all times. One company I work with recently hired several young and very sharp engineers, but absolutely forbade me from writing and publishing a press release about their hires lest some other company steal them away. Design companies are wary of training young people because once they are trained; other companies steal them away. This is problem folks and problem that we need to solve. And it is not going to get any better, any time soon.

That’s why I was anxious to buy and read an excellent book called Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Organizations Need, and Employees Want By Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni. This is one of the most important books you can read on career development and employee satisfaction and retention. This is a book about
developing people, about making sure that as managers we are nurturing the people who report to us, making sure that they we always developing great and completely fulfilled employees.

There were many things I took away from this book, but the one thing I do want to get across is that the once a year review is dead as the proverbial door nail. It is a waste of time to think that we are going to develop our employees by spending an hour or so annually with them discussing their career paths, their value to the company, and their personal growth plan Not gonna happen!

Instead, the authors advocate an ongoing, personal developmental conversation with each employee a kind of perpetual mentoring plan, making sure that we are always guiding the employees on a path of
personal fulfilment, along with them making extensive contributions to the organization. According to the authors, career development is everything, it is what makes the difference in your employees’ future productive engagement, with your company.

Here from the book are some of the more pertinent bits of advice that I think all of us should take note
of:

  • Just talk with people: Just the act of taking to your people, taking them seriously, will energize, encourage, and motivate them. Yes, by just regularly talking to them about their career you will make a world of difference in helping the, be the best they can be.
  • Keeping learning about them: The more you know about your employees, including what drives them the better you will be at nurturing their careers. Knowing exactly what they love to do and
    what they would love to do in the future, will make you’re a great mentor.
  • Encourage them with what they want to do. Show them which of their skills are valuable and where these skills can take them.
  • Paint a picture of their careers today and where their skills and passions can take them in the future. Show them the future! Think about this for a minute this is true development both for you and more important for the employee. This can change both of your lives.
  • Help them focus on what they want to do versus what they want to be. It’s not always about the title, it can be about what will be the most rewarding to them. Help your employee discover what she is really good at and especially what she loves to do; and you can help her to develop a valuable role in the company that is not based on titles or normal career paths. You can turn her into a true outlier.
  • Be the supporter of people as they find their way to new and exciting career paths within the company. Help them to develop confidence in their own creativity. Develop a basis of understanding. between the two of you, that will allow each of you to dare to dream about what the employee could do with his skills, and then help him do it.
  • Help your employees turn their dreams into reality. Just think if you can encourage your employees to do what makes their hearts sing, and makes the company great, you will really have something. Remember, that by helping you employee find a role in the company that makes her heart sing, you will not only develop and passionate, energetic and super-productive member of your organization, you will be helping develop a great organization as well, and that’s the whole point of this isn’t it?
  • There it is, in the end it is all about engaging your employees in meaningful and productive career developing ongoing conversations. And if you do this, and do it right, you will never want for great, dedicated, passionate, and most importantly, loyal employees. It’s only common sense.

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