The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

Management Promotion Takes Planning and Training!

managers office

You have a great salesperson – so lets make her the sales manager and she can train the others how to generate sales. Your top engineer comes to you and indicates he needs to grow – so you make him the engineering leader allowing him to sign off on plans for junior engineers. Each received a ten percent bonus for their promotion. Six months later, you are conducting performance reviews and find that neither has really provided any leadership to others – and their core positions of sales and engineering are not at the level they used to be. Whose fault is that really?

Organizations consistently promote top performers into roles of leaders – and having these internal opportunities are key to retaining top talent. However, you have the responsibility as an executive to make sure the organization has a need for the new position and your team is trained to handled their new responsibility. Only then can we expect a top performer to make the transition to a leadership role.

In a 2013 study by Deloitte, small businesses increased their spending on leadership development by 23%. Companies let this area of business slide in the difficult economic times of 2009 – 2011 and now see that they need to get back on track with developing their top talent. But if you are going to spend critical organizational resources on training, you need to make sure it will stick.

The first step is to determine who really is your top talent. Not necessarily just the best at the job, but the top talent aligned with your organization. HR Topics has created a tool that can be used when considering top talent. (click here to download a PDF). There is also a supporting white paper on top talent was written by Development Dimensions International and can be found here.

Give thought to your criteria for top talent as outlined in the white paper, and use the tool to identify the people that meet your objective.

The next step is to consider your strategic plan for the next 18 – 24 months and give thought to where you can utilize these key members of your team. Identify gaps in the competencies of your current leadership, and offer training in these areas to the newly identified employees. Get creative with training. It does not have to be all classroom based, and web based training can look like a lame attempt to top talent. Consider taking identified employees on sales calls, have your top sales people work in production for a day, allow top performers to attend industry conferences, both inside and outside their areas of expertise. There are many ways to gain competencies, and those that are already successful members of your team will look for new and creative ways to grow.

What we need from our leaders of the future are connections and vision. They gain this by being exposed to others and thinking outside the box. Our development opportunities should provide the same broad vision oriented options. By approaching training in this systematic way, you will develop much needed bench strength and ensure that your top employees see a path to a future within your organization.

Photo by Neil R used under the following license.

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