Monday, March 4, 2013

Pass The Torch

A fairly recent World at Work survey listed "lack of opportunity" and "dwindling faith in leadership" as key contributors to employee disengagement. This bell rings very familiar! Early in my career, I experienced ongoing disappointment at my own expense. I was young, energetic, and full of motivation. I understood the core functions of my job and executed them like wild fire. I volunteered to do extra work and read the books suggested by management. Still, the opportunity for advancement was not offered. Massively frustrating!
The new generation in the workplace are characterized as impatient and entitled. There is a simple explanation.

High School Football Advancement Grid:
Year 1: Freshman Football
Year 2: Junior Varsity Football
Year 3: Varsity Football
Year 4: Team Captain

...a similar 4 year scale exists in advancement through higher education. When a person is used to progressing each year for 8 years and then runs into an uncharted 40 year career road map; frustration with the pace of advancement is immanent.

Let Them Lead
Slow down, stay off the radar, read this book.....these are among a variety of ways management marginalizes talent. Why don't we take a chance on promoting young talent? Risk in this professional day-and-age is hard to defend. You can find thousands of professionals with management experience, so why would you take a chance promoting the "kid with an attitude problem"...?

Advancement does not rely on promotion. Most people simply want to know where they stand, if mistakes are being made, and how they can learn from each day's experience. Too often, we are caught up in the day-to-day minutia to give our people the appropriate level of coaching. A person spends 2 years in our onboarding programs learning the ropes and then splits for one of our competitors.

3 Questions...?
1. What is your turnover rate?
2. How much is it costing you?
3. How can you retain the people who matter?

Let's say a team of nine loses 4 contributors. Conservatively, it will cost the rate of one year's salary to replace the departed employees. If the remaining collective is not doubling their revenue target, we are navigating a revolving door system to certain failure. In this case, the numbers don't lie.

You cannot wait until the end of the year to review performance. You can't wait for five years to celebrate employee tenure. You should not appreciate your employees on only one day of the year. This is what is broken in the world of employee engagement; the notion that delivering performance feedback should be a siloed semi-annual process. Still, we neglect the future star performers to placate the egos of the hangers on. We ignore feedback from the trenches to follow process mandates. Our functional fixedness has kept us believing in a failed system. Human beings are not pawns on a chessboard.

The process is simple:
1. Carve out short-term and long-term goals for your team.
2. Provide levels of advancement when goals are met.
3. Allow a culmination of achievements to catapult performers into new opportunities.

There is no need to promote new workers simply because they are bored with bureaucracy nor is there a reason to dismiss frustration under the stereotype that new workers are impatient.

Don't Forget to Remember!


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