If you’re running a high-growth (or even a not-so-high-growth) company, whether you’re a startup or you’ve been around a while, one thing you will always need is a pipeline of up-and-coming leaders. High-tech companies need them most of all because they generally want aggressive growth and they have the…
If you’re running a high-growth (or even a not-so-high-growth) company, whether you’re a startup or you’ve been around a while, one thing you will always need is a pipeline of up-and-coming leaders. High-tech companies need them most of all because they generally want aggressive growth and they have the highest proportion of Millennials in leadership positions—30 percent, according to the 2014/2015 Global Leadership Report from The Conference Board and the consultancy DDI World.
Businesses that rely on a larger supply of younger leaders face unique challenges. That Conference Board report found that Millennials are less engaged in their roles within their organizations and are more likely than other generations to be intent on leaving their jobs in the following 12 months. Investing time and money to cultivate and developing younger leaders is crucial to the long-term success of a business but if those rising leaders don’t stay, the business is in trouble.
Growing companies need strong leadership bench strength to sustain them, so it’s important to be proactive—rather than reactive—when it comes to creating an environment that encourages young leaders (and everyone else) to stay put. Especially in high-tech industries, landing great employees who appear to be senior leadership material isn’t easy, so do what it takes to retain them.
Don’t assume your highest potential leaders are highly engaged.
A study by Jean Martin and Conrad Smith, both senior executives at the Corporate Executive Board in Washington D.C., studied and wrote about the mistakes companies make in trying to retain their top talent. They found that 40% of rising stars have “little confidence in their coworkers and even less confidence in the senior team;” 20% believe their personal aspirations are very different from what the company has planned for them. And a recent Gallup poll found that worldwide, only 13% of employees are engaged at work.
The employees you’ve identified as working harder and better than their peers—those you want to progress into leadership—typically thrive when given stretch projects that stimulate growth and when shown a growth plan that allows them to grow a little every day.
Your biggest stars need coaching, in the same way that superstars in other fields need it—whether they operate on a basketball court or an opera stage. In the end, it’s all about performance and measuring that performance. Coaching on an individual basis shows an emerging leader that the company is invested in their future success. Many companies, especially startups, think keeping their best employees is all about the perks. And although perks are nice, they are icing. If the cake beneath is falling apart, no one will eat the icing anyway. The best way to retain your rising leaders is to create an environment where they have the chance to do their best work, and learn something new, everyday.
Page 1 / 2 Continue
Continued from page 1
If one of your most talented employees feels she or he is being underpaid, by the time you realize that and give them a raise, they’ve already got one foot out the door. No matter what people say, compensation is important and good people will get good offers from your competitors. If you’re running a startup, as soon as you can afford it pay market rate, especially for your rising stars. (If you’re an established business, then you should be doing this now.) Your best people aren’t going to ask for a raise, they will simply get frustrated and jump ship.
Talk to them.
Traditional annual reviews may serve a purpose for your organization but what you want from your rising stars is real feedback and you want it every quarter in an informal, one-on-one chat. Do this in a quiet, informal way, so that it’s not a big deal the way an annual review is, but rather a way to let your employee know you value their feedback and are concerned with their satisfaction and their long-term future. Ask about any frustrations with the work, what they want to be doing and aren’t yet getting to do. These are the conversations that will let you know if someone is feeling stagnant or stalled as well as if they are engaged and excited.
Page 2 / 2
Click here to view full article