Ambition can be equal parts weakness and strength when it comes to the employees in your organization.
While you like to see drive in your employees and the wish to further themselves in their careers, you also appreciate when they understand their roles, perform them exceptionally well, trust and have patience that their achievements will find recognition in due time.
I probably draw on too many sports analogies but sports are a lot like life…
When an elite professional athlete has high value to a professional sports franchise, teams tend to do everything in their power to “lock them up” as long as possible through their peak performance years, by virtue of long-term contracts.
The athlete feels loved and the franchise expects a certain level of premium performance and athleticism at the player’s position, in return for their generous expression of monetary appreciation.
It works similarly in the workplace with the substitution of providing upward mobility and/or a career path (for high performing employees within an organization), for the long-term contracts elite athletes receive.
Perception by employees of what it is like to work in your organization is key to retaining them.
Do your employees feel valued?
Do they trust they can expect to be rewarded for hard work and achieving specified goals and benchmarks?
Is there widespread recognition within your organization that it first seeks to hire and promote from within rather than external sources?
If, and only when you can answer in the resounding affirmative to each of these three questions, are you truly on track to make the most of your human resources.
Software, hardware, data, goods and services—while critical and integral, come up short when your workforce is not fully engaged, fully contributing and fully all in, culturally-speaking.
Impersonal is a word bandied about at times these days in many conversations.
When it comes to your workplace, impersonal is poison.
Although it is most definitely an employer’s market these days—no doubt about it and many job seekers struggle accordingly, the best employees in top companies are still making fruitful gains in their working lives.
But they are getting help from creative managers and imaginative human resource departments in order to do so.
Managers and HR have requisitions for specific job roles.
They expect any and all candidates to meet all of the required criteria as outlined in very specific job descriptions.
If candidates are fortunate enough to make it through interviews, subsequent background checks and are offered the job, HR staffs with vision realize their involvement with this new employee is only beginning—and understand managers may at some point be coming to them for assistance on how to provide personal and professional growth for the employee within the company.
Once employees prove themselves on the job they should be considered new position candidates again at some point.
Occasionally, employees perform a certain role or function so well, there is hesitancy on the part of managers to move them into something else where they could be contributing even more greatly.
Sometimes you don’t want to lose a valuable team member, but holding employees back hurts your organization overall.
Think beyond their current job descriptions and dig deeper for their full range of talents, skills and utilize them.
Nothing demonstrates a company walks the talk in terms of best workplace-best culture, like one that thinks beyond conventional wisdom to promote from within and encourages employees to seek career growth.
Not all of your charges will be interested in moving laterally or upward; they may like it just fine where they are at. As long as they remain adequately challenged and productive, this should not pose a problem, however.
But good employees understand perception just like good employers do.
If, as a manager, you at least have a conversation encouraging them to consider applying for an opportunity for which they may not appear completely qualified for (on paper) because you otherwise have great reason to believe they would meet and exceed the position’s expectations, you are pretty much guaranteeing they’ll feel increased loyalty to you, your organization and also recognized for everything they bring to the table—above and beyond their present job description.
Now tell me…can you put a price on human resources like these?