I am very fortunate to count Beverly Kaye among my smartest and savviest mentors. For those of you who might not know her, Bev is a pioneer in the field of talent management and career development and continues to innovate at the helm of a large HR consultancy and with her new book, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go.
Besides the title, I also love that the book debunks myths (Blind Spots, anyone)? Here are a few Bev offers with respect to career development inside large organizations:
Myth 1 – There is simply not enough time.
No one will argue that time is among the scarcest resources available to managers today. But let’s get real. You’re having conversations already — probably all day long. What if you could redirect some of that time and some of those conversations to focus on careers?
Myth 2 – If I don’t talk about it, they may not think about it and the status quo will be safe.
Why invite problems? Developing people could lead them to leave and upset the balance of your well-running department, right? Wrong. Employees have growth on their minds — whether you address it or not. Withholding these conversations is a greater danger to the status quo than engaging in them.
Myth 3 – Since employees need to own their careers, it’s not my job.
No one will argue that managers don’t own the development of their employees’ careers. Employees do. But that doesn’t mean that managers are completely off the hook. You have an essential role in helping and supporting others to take responsibility. And that role plays out in large part through conversation.
Myth 4 – Everyone wants more, bigger, or better: promotions, raises, prestige, power.
If you believe this one, then your employees all look like baby birds, their mouths always wide open, wanting to be fed. This image probably loses its appeal quickly even for doting bird parents — much less busy managers. But based upon our research, this image is patently inaccurate. When asked about what they want to get out of a career conversation with their managers, the number-one response from employees is “ways to use my talents creatively.”
Myth 5 – Development efforts are best concentrated on high potentials, many of whom already have plans in place.
This one’s a cop-out. You can indeed see a significant return on the development you invest in your high potentials. But they make up only about 10 percent of your population. You probably have another 10 percent of marginal performers who are on a very different kind of plan. But what about the 80 percent in between — the massive middle responsible for doing the bulk of the work? Imagine what even a small investment in their development might yield.
Growing your business means growing your people. And with the pending demographic shifts and corresponding talent shortage, never has this been more important. Fortunately for us, Bev’s the perfect authority on the subject!