Designing Development Programs for HiPOs
By Arijit Banerjee
To gain a competitive edge in the market, modern firms are using the latest hiring techniques to source the right talent. A talent board’s research revealed that job simulations and culture-fit are two popular screening methods preferred by hiring managers to match A-list talent with their high responsibility roles. However, engaging and retaining high performers is a whole new challenge beyond finding the right job fits. It requires an advanced strategy in place for firms to help their employees grow with the organization. And companies that focus on giving their employees a ‘career’ rather than just a job can achieve this.
Depending on the vision, mission and culture of the organization, there are many ways to implement a mutually beneficial career development plan for high potential employees. Here are four specific ways to do it.
1.Career path mapping
Employers and HR professionals use career mapping as a tool to chart out a clear growth path for high performing employees within the organization. Through career maps, employees can visualize their growth path more clearly and can strategically plan for it. It involves a step-by-step approach including self-assessment and individualized career mapping. Managers engage with employees to help them assess their strengths, interests, knowledge, experience and skills. A career map is then designed on the basis of the result of the assessment and the employees’ interests. In some cases, lateral moves can be recommended to employees. Overdrive, a renowned ebook company, provides a professional growth planner to their employees so they are encouraged to plan and track their growth in the organization.
2. Creating growth opportunities through challenging work
Competitive firms stay a step ahead in providing great career development plans to their top performers by creating new growth opportunities for them. Such employers assist HiPOS in progressing in their career path by providing challenging work situations through rotations across functions, enabling business simulations and experiential learning projects, etc. It is also one of the best ways to engage and retain high performers as they are innately oriented towards self-growth. Yelp is known to set a culture of learning for its employees by hiring people who want to grow in the first place. They recruit people for ‘stretch roles’ that will challenge them on a daily basis. The firm’s leadership has created an immensely positive learning environment by valuing personal growth.
3. Providing specialized training programs
Forward-looking organizations not only believe in creating career development plans for HiPOs, but they also strategically invest in those plans. Creating highly specialized training programs in design thinking, change management, predictive analytics, AI, leadership and so on is how industry leaders invest in their A-list talent. Such programs prove to be mutually beneficial for both companies and employees in many ways including increased job satisfaction levels, internal promotion opportunities, higher retention, etc. AT&T, a leading internet, mobile and voice services provider, has set up its satellite campuses across the U.S. offering an executive-led program focused on leadership and management development. The firm does not want to depend on just hiring and the traditional education system and aims to create its own learning ecosystem.
4. Setting up a continuous feedback system
While the ambition to walk the career path lies with the employee, the responsibility of providing the right guidance along that path lies with the organization’s leaders and managers. Regular evaluation and feedback is crucial to the improvement of both employees as well as processes. Modern firms set up a rich feedback mechanism through self-assessment tools such as psychometric tests and 360-degree feedback from managers. Advanced technologies and digitization have enabled managers to deploy automated surveys and AI-led assessments to track the progress their employees make, and take proactive measures for their development. Atlassian, consecutively ranking as one of best companies to work for in Australia, has set up an interactive feedback system for its employees where they can recognize and praise each other’s work.
Forward looking firms recognize the value of creating a strong employer brand as that helps them not only attract the best talent in the industry but also retain them. Such companies invest in their talent development programs with a long-term perspective and provide the necessary assistance to their workforce along the way. Firms that seek to achieve their business goals with the help of their workforce devote their cultural as well as financial resources to nurture their top talent.