For many, a position in leadership is often held as the ultimate career end-goal. But how can you, as a people leader, help your employees achieve it?
While identifying and developing leaders from within a company delivers significant benefits it also poses its challenges, especially in an era when one-job-for-life is no longer the cultural mainstay. Furthermore, today’s workforce landscape is experiencing high rates of voluntary turnover, low employee engagement and lost productivity. That’s why retaining top talent with leadership potential is more important than ever.
Let’s talk about how you can design a leadership development program that enables meaningful learning and growth, so your employees can achieve their ultimate career goals and accelerate your business along the way.
How to develop leaders from within your organization
#1: Identify high-potential employees early on
Getting the right people into leadership begins with identifying those among your current workforce with the qualities, competencies and learning abilities necessary to succeed within a people management or upper-level leadership role. These individuals are often referred to as high-potential employees.
To identify high-potential employees, keep an eye out for characteristics and behaviors such as:
- Celebrates group success and growth, rather than solely their individual acceleration.
- Enjoys implementing the latest information into their work and enthusiastically helps others to do the same.
- Speaks up if something isn’t working and proactively looks for a solution.
- Invests in their own growth, as well as the growth of the organization. They recognize how their work impacts the company as a whole.
- Recognizes how their work and attitude impact the team. They strive to motivate others and keep the team productive.
Employees with these qualities show that they understand how to align personal needs and the needs of the team with greater organizational objectives. They are invested in collective success, rather than solely personal advancement.
#2: Prioritize internal career mobility when possible
It’s no secret that hiring externally is a resource-intensive feat. And although some positions require you to look externally, there are likely many other roles that can be filled through developing existing employees.
In addition to saving time and money on sourcing externally, developing internal talent comes with numerous additional benefits such as increased employee retention and cultivating a stronger company learning culture by reinforcing your commitment to employee growth.
Plus, due to the ongoing scarcity of top talent on the market, leveraging internal mobility to redeploy top employees to different teams and departments can help you to address current and impending skills gaps and plan for future roles.
#3: Provide opportunities for continuous reskilling and upskilling
As with any learning and development (L&D) strategy, leadership development should not be treated as a one-and-done practice. Evolving technology and shifting skills necessitate that you evaluate and update your L&D approach on a near-constant basis.
Continuous reskilling and upskilling programs enable both existing and newly promoted leaders to maintain relevant skill sets, prioritize their own continuous development and support overall organizational growth. This also allows them to help their teams and direct reports do the same.
While skills development programs look different at every organization, a crucial addition to any program is learning and education. In particular, consider implementing a strategic workforce education to support leadership upskilling and reskilling for both short and long-term skills.
With this approach, your organization can create custom career education paths that outline the exact skills, credentials and other learning requirements needed to put an employee on the path to a leadership position or move a middle-management team member into a higher position.
#4: Foster a culture of learning
The value of a strong learning culture cannot be underestimated. From increased employee engagement to skills development and improved retention, there are many reasons why continuous learning is a boost to company culture. An important benefit to add to this list is developing strong leaders.
The key role of leaders in a robust learning culture is two-fold. First, company investment in leadership L&D contributes to the cultivation of competent leadership. Also, leaders are the primary drivers of a learning culture within an organization as they significantly influence how employees approach learning and skill development.
Empower the leaders of tomorrow
While leaders build the fabric of an organization, it’s clear they need to weave in ways to cultivate future leaders as well. A modern approach to leadership development is a must. Incorporating new learning methods and strategies allow your company to provide effective direction and support, preparing your people to become the next generation of leaders.
Discover how workforce education can help your organization cultivate stronger leaders: Take this 5-question assessment and receive a set of custom resources that show you how workforce education can address your top talent challenges, such as leadership development.