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Everyone Should Have a Chance to Grow Professionally and Personally

Not Just the High Potentials

I was meeting with a colleague the other day who mentioned that her organization was only providing opportunities to grow professionally to high potentials. When I asked her why that was happening she mentioned that budgets were still tight and the organization was mainly concerned about ensuring those high potential employees were retained. Big mistake – and my colleague knew it!

So let’s discuss why you want every employee in your organization to have opportunities to grow professionally and personally. The best organizations want to retain all their employees, not just those who they believe can move into leadership roles. An organization needs employees – good, well trained and engaged employees – at all levels of the organization for the organization to be a success. Focusing only on your high potentials will mean that you may have increased turnover at the lower levels. That’s a problem.
How do you do this? Certainly you can offer the opportunity to attend workshops, seminars and conferences.  But let’s look at other options.

Providing all employees stretch assignments is a great way to help them build new skills and increase their knowledge. Let’s assume that your company does an annual customer appreciation event. Why not have members from various departments join the team working on such a project? This gives individuals an opportunity to work on a key project in your organization and teaches them a variety of new skills. And it gives them the chance to have some visibility with individuals they may not have the chance to interact with otherwise.

You might also offer the opportunity for individuals within a department to work together to suggest improvements in how the work is done. I have found that many of my clients never bother to ask employees how they might do the job better and you’ll be surprised how many employees have thought of ways to increase efficiencies and effectiveness in getting the work done! What a great way to give these individuals visibility with the executive team in your company than by having them work on ways to improve how work is done!

And one more idea…why not offer individuals the opportunity to learn about other departments. Some employees never really understand what goes on outside of their own business unit and never have the opportunity to learn how others work and what they contribute to the business. Have employees spend a few weeks working in another department to learn about the business from different perspectives. Another great way to expand skills and build knowledge of the organization!

Your ideas? How might you offer opportunities for everyone in your organization to grow? Please share in the Comments field below. Thanks!