The need to develop our own pipeline of leaders continues to be one of the most important challenges facing Human Resources and their Company Leaders.

The Conference Board CEO Challenge identified Human Capital as the one of the biggest challenges facing organizations and SHRM’s survey of Business and Human Capital Challenges Today and in the Future identified developing the next generation of leaders as the top Human Capital Challenge.

One of the best places to recruit for new leaders is among our current employees.  Many companies list employee development as one of their initiatives year after year, however, these initiatives are not always implemented or executed effectively.  Finding time becomes a factor, our focus gets diverted to the “here and now” issues and many times we over complicate these development programs.

How do we follow through more effectively and maintain focus on meeting the challenge, today and in the future, of developing the next generation of leaders for our organization?  The following reasons outline the business case for focusing on development. Keep them top of mind in your organization.

  • Attracts and Retains Great Employees – Retention and hiring takes time and resources away from a focus on the business. An effective employee development program can help put the focus back where it needs to be.
    • Benefit – Employee development is a benefit candidates seek when looking for a job. In many companies, hourly employees are not offered development. Providing this from day one gives employers an advantage when job seekers are making a choice.
    • Reputation – Reputation as a good employer is more and more important as organizations fight for similar candidates and the sites designed specifically to share opinions about employers continues to increase. Being known as a great place to work not only attracts employees but also customers.
    • Loyalty – when people know their company is willing to invest in them and offers a benefit they may not receive elsewhere it helps to retain them.
  • Creates a Pipeline of Candidates – Having a robust employee development program creates individuals ready for promotion. Many times, we promote employees because they are successful in their current role, not considering that the skills sets for a manager are different.  With a development program, not only are your employees already familiar with your organization, they now have the skills specific to leadership that will make them successful in their new role more quickly.
  • Uncovers Employee Potential – Employees with potential may be overlooked. Without a development program, they may not be able to develop their talent or showcase a hidden skill.
  • Increases Productivity – providing training to employees increases their confidence and their ability to do and understand more. This naturally increases productivity, in turn reduces cost and potentially increases revenue or output.  Adding more dollars to the bottom line is a good thing.
  • Keeps Employees EngagedGallup has been studying employee engagement for more than 15 years. Their studies indicate that employee engagement is low (30%) and has not changed significantly over the years. It also costs the US between $450 and $550 billion each year.  Employee development programs provide a change of pace from the responsibilities of their job and give employees something to look forward to.  They also challenge and stretch their skills and thought processes.  Providing this change of pace and aligning them with the Mission, Values and Purpose of your organization increases engagement.
  • Encourages Companies to Focus Forward – The business landscape for most companies continues to evolve and change, impacting the skills employees, managers and leaders need to be successful. To be effective, employee development programs must stay relevant and update. This will cause companies to stay on top of industry changes, maintain contact with customer expectations and continually explore employee skill sets needed in the future

Employee development programs provide a competitive edge for companies not only as they seek to attract and retain great employees but also in achieving overall success of the organization.

Watch for the second post in this series “Strategies to meet the Challenge of Developing 2Morrow’s Leaders.

To learn more about developing your employees into the next generation of leaders and specifically about “Essentials for Emerging Leaders” a workshop for setting new managers up for success visit HR Aligned Design.

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