Here are some specific steps that employers can take to build their leadership pipeline while offering opportunities shown to increase employee engagement, productivity and longevity.
A look at the research
According to Gartner research, more than half of employees indicate that it’s important for their employers to offer real opportunities for personal growth.
Employers benefit as well. The Association for Talent Development (ATD) indicates that when organizations offer comprehensive training, they experience a profit margin 24% higher than those that spend less time on training and development activities.
These efforts can also help in building the kind of diversity in leadership ranks that so many companies — and their customers and employees — value today.
Positive impact on diversity
Being proactive in coming up with ways to lay the foundation for employee development and growth can go a long way toward addressing the lack of diversity in senior leadership positions. This is true all the way to board seats.
It’s well-known that the leadership pipeline can be a rate-limiting factor for upward growth if that pipeline is populated primarily by traditional stereotypes. And yet, at many organizations, that continues to be the case. It’s not necessarily because of anything these organizations have willfully done to keep persons of a diverse background out of the pipeline, but more because of what many have not done — proactively taken steps to ensure that typically underrepresented groups of employees are getting the training, development and coaching support to move into higher-level roles.
Here are some ways organizations can invest in making the corporate ladder climbable while paving the way for greater leadership diversity.
Help managers develop coaching skills
Don’t assume that your managers are all adept at and comfortable with coaching employees and helping them grow and develop to move into higher-level positions. Many aren’t. But you can help to provide the tools, training and resources to help them serve in this very important role.
As part of this training, teach managers how to work with employees to develop personal development plans (PDPs) as part of the performance management process.
Encourage both upskilling and reskilling
Not every employee will be interested in moving up the proverbial ladder. And, let’s face it, most organizations have very limited opportunities for employees who may be interested to move into higher-level roles. That doesn’t mean, though, that they can’t or shouldn’t pursue opportunities to learn new skills that might prepare them for other lateral, or even lower-level, positions within your organization.
In today’s fast-paced and continually changing environment, the need for new skills is apparent in organizations of all kinds. Upskilling can provide as much value for meeting employee development needs for some employees as preparing them to move into other roles.