Creating opportunities to cultivate new leaders

Your most valuable company and brand assets are your people. But today, attracting and hiring quality employees is as challenging as ever. A recent study shows that 90% of employers struggle to find skilled candidates.  So when you do find talent that you hope will be a part of your company’s future, it’s striking gold. Do you have a plan to retain them?  Are you creating opportunities to cultivate new leaders? If you aren’t, someone else will. 

Initiate programs within your organization that will set your company apart, develop and engage top talent, and transform your business in the process. Below are some proven and diverse ideas to create growth, develop skills, and retain talent within your company.

Job Rotation Programs

Provide your rising talent an opportunity to move around the organization in a planned rotation of responsibility.  This keeps your best employees engaged, skills diversified, and constantly learning.  They may find capabilities or interests they didn’t know. You can expose them to all aspects of the business, build their knowledge of the business and relationships within the organization, and identify areas of strength or needed development.

Process and workflow projects

Allow up-and-coming leaders to get outside of internal silos, dissect your processes end-to-end, look for market synergies, and farm information from across the organization. For more complex businesses they can examine, “how does all that we do work together?” and build overarching stories, new business cases, or find niche markets.

Spaces to experiment and innovate

Foster a culture where employees can dedicate time to brainstorm, design, and experiment without roadblocks. Create a forum to openly present new ideas, seek executive sponsorship, and provide resources and budget to test concepts. Some organizations offer reoccurring contests to keep the momentum and innovation flowing.

Interactions with external experts

Understanding your company is one thing, but layering in new industry knowledge is critical for employees to think more broadly. Provide your next-generation leaders with the opportunity to interact with industry and professional authorities. This can take many forms, including inviting guest speakers, visiting other area businesses from a different industry, or hosting a panel of customers or partners, leading interviews for voice of customer work, or participating in industry analysis sessions.

Ambassador program

Train your best talent to represent and share your company stories with customers, investors, community groups, and more. Whether it’s conducting a campus tour, showcasing your innovation spaces, or simply delivering the corporate overview, it provides an opportunity to improve their presentation skills, hear and field questions, and learn aspects of the business they may not be as familiar with.  Thus, making them more confident and well-rounded employees.

Revolving committees

Have recurring internal events or programs? Invite new committee members every year to provide star employees the opportunity to expand their skill set, get executive facetime, and stretch their leadership muscles.  This will inject new ideas and creativity into your annual experiences, so everybody wins.

Fix organization-wide challenges

If a known pain point impacts leaders or departments across your organization, put your best talent on the case to solve it.  Give them the runway and a safe space to analyze the issue, propose a solution, and provide tools and resources to put their plan in motion.

Business transformation, growth, and sustainability starts with your workforce.  They are the heartbeat of your organization and require constant nurturing. Accomplish this through an influx of new talent, existing employee development, and opportunity.  Don’t let your organization be the development arm of your competition.  Now is the time to take additional steps to retain and develop the next generation of leaders for your company.