In the current workforce, Baby Boomers like to preach patience when it comes to talking about career moves and opportunities. These “old school” leaders want employees to soak in their roles before they consider them for the next opportunity. These same leaders like things to be neat and orderly. They like to ensure proper protocols are met and that succession is done pragmatically.
Here is the thing … it is not about the leader. It is not about proper processes and procedures. It is not about the policies. It is however about the employee and it is about the business. In today’s world, patience may still be a virtue but there is not much time left to be patient. Many know me as not one to mince my words. So please do not misread me as saying that career decisions should be hasty, or that we should all become serial career jumpers.
However, I am saying there are some people who should be targeted for fast track promotions and there are some policies (and leaders) currently in place across organziations everywhere that get in the way of doing what is best for the business. Success does not always follow a linear path of progression.
The people to fast track are those individuals who display high levels of ability, aspiration, and engagement. They are the ones who are not going to be patient. If you want to keep them, you better find challenging opportunities for them. Do not hold them back just because your HR policies say that you cannot do skip level promotions, or that you cannot give a raise of more than three percent. That is utter nonsense … and we all know it.
The moment that a talented person walks out of the door for lack of challenging opportunities, your organization loses. Realize now that the organization will pay as much as two times the salary of the departing employee to hire, train, and gain production (ROI) from the new employee as their replacement. And then there is no gurantee that this person will be a fit with the culture.
HR departments should be helping organizations think about their employees as strategic assets. We need to create better systems to retain our people. Telling a talented Gen Xer, or an ambitious Millennial to bide their time and wait in line will not sit well with them. In fact, it is the equivalent of saying … wait and hope for the best. As I have said forever, hope is not a strategy when it comes to career success. You must seek and find the career of your dreams with both passion, and resiliency.
There are opportunities out there for your best people, believe it. I enjoy talking to my contacts who are executive recruiters because networking is not a spectator sport. I stay “in the know” about the status of the market for top talent. Let me say it is still very intense. Top talent is in demand … and your top talent has options. And those options will “pay” your top talent a lot more walking in the door to get them, than you would even think of paying to keep them. And I use the concept of “pay” metaphorically to mean challenging, rewarding work for an appreciative leader. This is the new pay raise that top talent employees are seeking in a post 2008 recession economy.
If we want our businesses to innovate, then it is time that we start being innovative with our talent pipeline. We need to critically examine our restrictive policies and procedures. It is a brave new world out here, and either “old school” leaders get it … or organizations will get left behind as “new school” top talent grows increasingly impatient of the petty progression policies blocking their pathway to success. Ultimately, it is all about making a choice.
Fellow Gen Xers, we can either wait for something to happen, or be the ones who make things happen …