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Enabling Career Paths for Employees is Good for Business

Enabling Career Paths for Employees is Good for Business

Enabling Career Paths for Employees is Good for Business

Defining career paths for team members can help you to retain the investment made to nurture great talent in your company. It also helps motivate people to actively contribute to the success of the company.

Leaders who don’t take the time to create and execute career path programs that encourage people to realize a future with the company, are not only short-sighted, but aren’t thinking about the long-term value the company can create by having loyal long-term employees.

Motivated and goal-oriented employees appreciate vision and value being a part of the workplace. When they are aware of their career path opportunities and receive positive push from leadership, they continue to perform their best.

Retaining good talented employees requires charting an engaging career path for them. It’s an ongoing conversation that needs to become part of the company’s culture.

Seven Ways to Enable Career Paths for Employees

1. Clarify Company Objectives

When you align people around your company objectives, you identify the right performers, increase employee engagement, and create a more dynamic and result-oriented work culture. There is nothing worse than to recruit someone with one set of expectations, and then fail to let them do the job they were sold on.

“It’s ok to not be able to deliver on every expectation a new hire might have, as long as there is a transparent plan designed around them to get them there within a reasonable timeframe.”

2. Communicate Objectives Clearly

Leaders must be hands on and be aware of what the company is trying to achieve. With clear expectations, they will be more engaged in the workplace and guide teams in the right direction. 

This is not to say that the top decides what needs to be done, and then demands this on the organization. Employees need to be involved in designing the company’s plan, not just executing it. This will make them feel valued and help them see a bright future with the company.

“Top down leadership isn’t leadership at all. Fostering interdependence across the organization creates a sense of belonging, and gives meaning to employees because they can have an impact.”

3. Forget Vertical Career Paths

It is important to realize that in the dynamic work environment of our time, a career path can be devised in different forms. One can make a lateral shift, be involved in committee engagements, stretched assignments, vertical promotions, and reinvention. Keep these in mind when planning a chart of career progression for employees. Relevant training and curated opportunities will enable employees to find growth in specialization as they discover new paths, and new passions for themselves over time.

For example, someone in sales who has been adept at building trusted relationships for decades, may desire to become an executive coach and help others in the organization better manage relationships for impact.

4. Implement on a Large Scale What Works

It’s important to make big shifts forward only after you’ve made small changes that have proven to be a positive force in the company. You can start this by focusing on a group of employees or a team. Devise a progressive path for them, and initiate innovative engagement measures in the beginning.

You will be able to handle small changes better and work on drawbacks as well. It is advisable to start with top performers as they will be more enthusiastic about change and motivated by new opportunities.

“Once you see measurable changes on a small scale, you can implement the strategy company-wide.”

5. Encourage Career Conversations

Having a formal strategy is important in charting a path forward for anything you do. It is equally important to pay attention to informal moments in everyday working life. Try to catch-up with employees personally to get to know them better. You will be able to understand their challenges, concerns, and more importantly desires. This can help identifying areas that need focus in order to create a constant sense of belonging, growth opportunity and reward.

We are either moving forward in life or defaulting to the obsolete past.”

6. Utilize Technology

Technology has completely transformed work culture. You have to incorporate its benefits into your strategy. Be it communicating with your team informally through chats, or using Artificial Intelligence applications to evaluate team members. Modern technology is at your disposal to help you do a better job at just about everything.

When you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team, you can guide them and provide specialized training to better equip them. When employees realize that you are investing in them and in their future, they will be more likely to embrace change and as part of their career paths, enthusiastically.

7. Define Key Success Metrics

When you know how to measure the success of your strategy in achieving the company objectives, you can work towards improving and modifying your efforts accordingly. Regular feedback from employees must be an integral part of this process. This will allow you to understand how employees are reacting to their career paths. You can also rely on other important metrics to evaluate employees.

Track employee engagement, internal mobility, number of alumni that return, and the impact on recruitment costs. When you see positive results in your team members and in their feedbacks, you can be sure that you are on the right track.

Creating a career path for employees will only be effective when you know of the obstructions in their path. Leaders need to actively participate in, and even try to launch frequent career transformation drives.

This will enable you to identify key performers, their strengths, and career aspirations. You can delegate work to them accordingly based on their aspirations and this will motivate them to work harder, but more importantly they will feel invested in the growth of the company.

“A great leader aligns employee goals with the company’s objectives, not the other way around.”

In a competitive talent marketplace, you must identify your key performers and engage them in designing the company’s objectives early and often. With clear communication and active participation in the growth of the company, they will realize their value and potential for growth in the workplace.

Ultimately what you want to do is help employees recognize their essential role in the future of the company, by letting them proactively shape that future.

Business Innovation Brief
How to Effectively Manage Change as a Team

How to Effectively Manage Change as a Team

How to Effectively Manage Change as a Team

Change is a constant phenomenon. Small changes occur every day. In the workplace changes are efficiently catered to by an active leadership environment.

From time to time organizations have to adapt to major changes. A leadership change, a reorganization, a merger or acquisition, and or a pandemic can have catastrophic impact on people’s lives when managed poorly.

To successfully manage major changes is difficult but presents both opportunities and challenges for every employee. To be prepared for such changes and maximize benefits in the process, leaders must be active, organized, strategic, and create a suitable safe environment for the workforce to thrive before, during, and after a major change.

As a leader you need to have clarity of your objectives and be prepared to tackle any eventualities for your team. It is essential to anticipate scenarios — both good and bad — and when facing such developments, leaders must show composure, empathy, and compassion to guide teams effectively through change.

It is recommended that leaders have an action plan with clear expectations and responsibilities for all stakeholders.

“The success of any organization is dependent on leaders who can bring teams together while maximizing the talent and strength of every individual.”

Maximizing Benefits from Change

Here are some steps leaders can take to successfully steer through any major change in an organization:

1. Start with a Detailed Plan

Help everyone understand that the business needs to accept changes, in some cases to survive and expand on the dynamics of the market that is causing the need for it. Innovation is key to success and it needs to be part of the culture.

“Innovation gives cause for positive change. Change is life in motion.”

To have an effective plan, leaders should know the strengths of employees and delegate responsibilities accordingly. They should also identify weaknesses in the workplace and actively work on them before jumping into transforming the organization.

2. Clarify the Business Objectives

As a leader, you should be aware of the organizational objectives and be clear about what the business stands to achieve from the upcoming change. You should confidently approach the change and be flexible enough to modify your techniques if required. Only through employee’s active participation through the exchange of ideas and commitments, can you effectively attain goals.

“Domination and coercion tactics will get the job done when it comes to making changes, but not without causing employees to disengage, and leave; ultimately hurting your reputation.”

3. Communicate with Clarity

Communication is critical in times of change so that you gain the confidence of your team. Communication can be effective only if you keep all employees updated on developments and ensure that they understand the organization’s objectives as well.

It is important to note here that communication is a two-way street.

You should engage your employees in the change process by listening to their ideas, concerns, comments, and suggestions. This will make them feel valued as a part of the organization and enhance their involvement in the transition.

4. Identify Key Performers

Every organization has a diverse culture, and it is the responsibility of leaders to identify the strengths and potential of each team member. Those members who are more receptive to change should be immediately made part of the change process. These members will be instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition during the change process and will sustain the morale of their respective teams.

The team members who are change advocates should be delegated important responsibilities to steer through the transition. Their job should be to mentor and get every other member of the team on board with the transition.

5. Aim for Realistic and Achievable Objectives

Although employees put in extra effort and time during changes in an organization, it is indeed a stressful and emotional time for them. Leaders should keep this in mind and aim for realistic targets. That is how you keep the team motivated and able to handle changes at an empathetic and compassionate pace.

We humans naturally don’t like change. With unreasonable expectations, teams will be set up for failure and this will result in a discouraged workforce.

6. Manage Expectations

During the transition, employees might be uncertain at times about their roles and expectations from leaders. In such critical moments, a true leader will manage the expectations within the workforce.

An honest and open discussion will help in understanding what employees expect from leaders, and also what is expected from them.

7. Accountability and Recognition

The workforce must be equipped with the right training, resources, and authority to be able to hold themselves accountable for the valuable role they will play in the change process.

They must also be recognized and rewarded properly for their contributions so that they continue to be a vital part of the new organization. Don’t just say thank you to those leading the charge for change, recognize them with rewards they value. Some value cash, others value extra vacation time.

“Every effort made to reward the members of the change cadres in an organization, is an investment in the success of the organization.”

A major change in an organization is an opportunity that must be maximized effectively. Any related challenges or concerns can be enthusiastically tackled with encouraging transparency, teamwork, bilaterally open and honest communication, and rewards for embracing change.

Business Innovation Brief
Becoming A Learning Organization Enables Innovation and Growth

Becoming A Learning Organization Enables Innovation and Growth

Becoming A Learning Organization Enables Innovation and Growth

It is rightly said that anyone who stops learning is old, doesn’t matter if they are twenty or eighty.

“Anyone who keeps learning stays forever young.”

We are living in an age where technologies and economies are transforming the entire workplace. Employees are consistently trying to do better, and don’t like to remain stuck in the same position or organization for too long.

Similarly, organizations need to have a dynamic approach to learning and adapting to market trends. Therefore, they cannot afford to believe that things will remain the same for them.

Organizations must embrace the concept of learning and apply it to all aspects within their structured team in order to thrive.

An organization with a learning culture actively seeks feedback and support and creates opportunities to transform continuously for the better.

When an employee is curiously engaged in a constant process of self-reflection and growth, it not only elevates that person as a worker and as an individual, but also benefits the organization as a whole.

A strong coaching culture lets employees draw strength from diversity, makes them feel safe to communicate their opinions, and bring new ideas to the table.

A learning and coaching culture enables support at every level of the organization, and positively speeds up change process. This is important because change is a constant in business as in life.

“Becoming a learning organization boosts employee engagement and satisfaction while delivering optimum business results.”

Enriching Virtues of a Learning Organization

You can achieve an influential learning culture when you observe coaching conversations flowing literally in all directions — upwards, downwards, and sideways.

Although many organizations are learning to change, they are still slow in adapting to them. The progressive ones understand the fact that change and development are the essential variables that ultimately determine their success.

“Learning organizations have the power of controlling external pressures rather than becoming a slave to them.”

Here are five benefits to transforming your organization into a learning organization:

1) Increases engagement at all levels with happier and more fulfilled employees

2) Converts high potential leaders into your peak performers

3) Embraces diversity to entice and retain the best talent while reducing employee turnover

4) Pushes for higher productivity and profits through collaboration within the workforce

5) Encourages leadership teams to tackle challenging circumstances with practical innovation

Transforming into a learning organization is indeed a time-consuming process, but you will notice that the benefits you achieve will definitely outweigh the work that you have to put into it.

“Driving your organization through continued learning and growth will prove to be essential ingredients for becoming the next cutting-edge innovators of the future.”

How to Successfully Transform into a Learning Organization

Transforming into a learning organization might seem like a big task, particularly for organizations with rigid hierarchies and conventional practices in place.

It’s been proven over and over that a coaching leadership style will prove to be more effective for employees than the traditional authoritarian command and control model.

Coaching is the key to improve the performance of entire teams, and here is how you can do it too:

Formalize training and encourage feedback — To cultivate a learning culture, start at the top. Engaging senior leaders with executive coaches will help employees follow in their footsteps and recognize the value of being open to learn and grow. Weave coaching elements into the work culture by engaging in weekly or daily feedback sessions. You do this by first creating a safe space for free-flowing ideas across teams.

Give recognition for learning and promote from within — Coaching the right way requires a crucial balance of criticism and praise. Do not always focus on what’s not working, as it demotivates the workforce. Instead, appreciate the things they are doing well, and provide respectful and dignified mentorship where improvement is needed.

Additionally, employees with newly learned skills and abilities should be recognized while encouraging others to follow suit. Instead of reaching for external help when new leadership roles become necessary, trained employees should be entrusted with those more prominent roles. You want to set the stage that learning and growing translates into promotions and rewards.

Listen and empower — As a leader, you must build one-on-one relationships with employees as coaching entails both encouragement and empowerment. Hearing out and valuing their inputs and concerns will encourage them to share their opinions. When you approach things from their perspective, you will get the desired results with improved performance and engagement.

This also creates an environment where people can impact the direction of the organization. A critical step to employee satisfaction is the need to belong, have meaning, and make an impact. Listening and then empowering those who have expressed the need for change to make those changes happen, is the key to ensuring ongoing growth in innovation.

“Learning translates to growth. Growth translates to innovation. Innovation translates into profits.”

A learning culture will ensure employee onboarding and retention, increased performance, skill development, and reinforce constant growth.

Organizations that coach and empower employees instead of commanding them create and sustain a talented and agile workforce, leading to a healthy and growing business.

Business Innovation Brief
Employee Engagement Is About Building Trust

Employee Engagement Is About Building Trust

Employee Engagement Is About Building Trust

Business Innovation Brief Best Article

With the advent of modern communication technology, there has been a significant transformation on people’s expectation for transparency, access to information, and knowledge. Organizations are continuously trying to keep up, and in many cases, catch up.

The success of any business depends greatly on the efficacy of the workforce, and the workforce can give its best only if there are effective communication strategies in place. 

Though it is now much easier to communicate frequently through smart online platforms, organizations often ignore and forget the essential role in strengthening the workforce by building trust.

“Business leaders should never underestimate the importance of team communication, and the implication this has on building trust.”

It is undoubtedly vital for all employees to have clarity on the objectives, values, and mission of the company. However, it’s important to go a step further to help people become aware of their own as well as their colleague’s ideas and plans on how to carry forward plans to achieve those objectives.

Even if a team leader efficiently delegates roles and responsibilities to employees, any communication breakdown can crucially hamper progress.

As a leader, one must cautiously observe the engagement level of teams in order to keep the energy of excitement in the workplace going. It is essential to understand that a disengaged employee can adversely affect the productivity of the entire workplace.

You don’t solve the problem by firing the disengaged employee, you solve it by getting to the root cause of the issue: lack of intimacy and trust.

Leaders are responsible for diligently taking care of their team and developing open and frequent communication channels within the workforce.

“Communication, with the intention to build trust, is the main KEY to employee engagement.”

Seven Ways to a Better Communication Channel

A proper communication channel ensures enhanced support for your team. Here are some ways to better communicate and increase engagement in the workplace:

Have personal interactions — A closed-door suggests physical as well as psychological hindrance in the workplace. Get rid of these barriers, encourage one-on-one interactions with employees, and openly discuss your needs and expectations. Clarity on a project’s demands, their exact role and responsibility will enable you to gain their trust and provide them sufficient preparation time to maximize their potential.

Embrace constructive feedback — Feedback on projects is a natural and significant form of communication as long as it is bi-lateral. Most often leaders deliver one-way dialogues in the form of feedback and ignore employees’ comments and concerns. Listening to your employees will help you gauge their pertinent issues and come up with constructive solutions. This way, removing obstructions on the path to success becomes a joint effort.

Reward and recognition — Showing appreciation for your team encourages motivation and exhibits that you care and respect them. Celebrating their ideas, thanking a team member for competently finishing a project and expressing gratitude on small occasions is the most productive way of increasing engagement. When employees feel valued, they deliver their best on every project. The other thing you can do is to encourage peer-to-peer recognition.

Reinforce team spirit — If there is one certain thing you want to focus on, it is that teams get along well with each other. This will ensure that they communicate better. Team building activities positively impact the productivity and morale of the company. Employees communicate more openly outside of a work environment and build stronger relationships. As a leader, create such opportunities through team lunches, group meetings, outdoor activities like fitness sessions or interdepartmental sports challenges. In the age of Covid-19 stay at home orders, many of these activities can still be accomplished virtually.

Use spare time actively — Team bonding is the best way to open communication channels. Trivial activities like employees taking coffee breaks together at different times are prevalent. You can actively use break times for informal meetings and discussions by encouraging the entire team to take a break at the same time. This enables free and open conversation and allow them to catch up on projects and exchange ideas. Again, these are more challenging to accomplish due to Covid-19 stay at home orders but can still be accomplished using technology tools.

Training as a team — Training does indeed take time and money, but proactively training the team with communications skill courses will significantly improve the quality of their overall work. Even taking part in team psychological sessions will help them open up about their workplace concerns and build a stronger bond between you and them. Using check ins and circle up times to just express each other’s feelings, can do wonders to build intimacy and open communication.

Use appropriate communication channels — As a leader, it’s best to handle every project in a way that requires and reflects the most effective communication channel. For a project that demands a hands-on approach, encourage face-to-face meetings to interact and engage. On the other hand, for projects that require team members to be in multiple places or when face-to-face isn’t possible, invest in crucial online systems and collaborative applications for productivity.

“The end goal isn’t really about communication per se, it is about showing true care and building intimacy, which translates into mutual trust.”

With evolving technology and new communication channels, you can stay on top of any problems that arise and competently encourage team interaction and communication.

If you observe carefully, you will find that there is, in fact, no secret to increasing employee engagement in the workplace.

All you need to do as a leader is to simply care and respect your employees. You do this by cultivating an open environment where they can honestly convey their concerns on areas that need improvement, or the changes that need to be made for the workplace to be more efficient and productive. 

You then take the ideas and concerns shared, and you do something about it. You take action to make the necessary adjustments, even if you don’t fully personally agree, because in the end it’s not about you — it’s about the collective team.

“A great leader chooses commitment before ego by putting the needs of the team first.”

Business Innovation Brief

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