How to train existing employees for the best positions in the company

Andrei Petrik is the CEO and co-founder of NetHunt CRM. Its sole mission is to bring more productivity to your working day.

There are two opposing approaches to filling leadership positions within a company: either you hire new employees or you encourage existing employees to grow in the role.

It could be said that neither of these approaches outweighs the other. However, I personally practice the latter approach and truly believe in employee development and growth. In my company, almost every manager in every department started with us at an entry-level position. I couldn’t be more proud of them.

Below are my tips for nurturing entrepreneurs from the bottom up, along with the potential downsides of the strategy you’ll need to consider.

Identify passion.

It is usually possible to spot someone who wants to grow with your business during the interview stage. It doesn’t take long to tell if someone has a passion for their work.

Look for ambition in potential employees and ask yourself if they are someone who understands and communicates clearly what they want from their position. Personally, I like working with people who immerse themselves in a project and take the initiative to make decisions. I don’t want a worker; I want a working-believer.

As a leader, I’m more interested in managing than controlling. I will define a work vector and let my employees take care of it rather than watching their every step. There is a huge difference between control and management, which some people don’t realize.

Imagine how much time you can have when you don’t monitor the implementation of tasks. You will have fewer decisions to make because you trust your employees, their experience and the training you have given them to come to the right conclusions. I’ve found that this trust can motivate people and help them feel like they’re part of a project, not just another cog.

Motivated employees show results. Motivated and autonomous employees can move quickly within your company.

Be the example.

Employees are important, of course. But so are you, boss. You are the reflection of your team.

Many leaders dream of proactive employees who want to improve their skills and grow. To make this dream come true, you have to start with yourself. You are the leader and your employees should follow your lead. You can’t develop people if you don’t develop yourself.

Leaders must constantly reflect on themselves and work to become the best version of themselves, both professionally and personally. What can you expect from your employees if you don’t learn from your own lessons and train continuously from the start?

Organize individual performance reviews.

CEOs need to understand the interests and skills of their colleagues and invest in their development. Perhaps an employee has a desire to become a more public figure. It’s an opportunity. For example, you can develop them as an internal speaker for webinars or conferences; they can represent your brand while developing their skills at the same time. They could also lead a community of users and position themselves as such.

You might be tempted to let the HR department handle it. However, this risks leaving an employee’s desire unfulfilled. It is essential that leaders understand where employees want to go. A performance review is the best time to do this. In my experience, regular performance review can improve the effectiveness of communication between leaders and employees and break down barriers. These reviews focus on the employee rather than the company.

Look at strengths, weaknesses and professional development. Ask, “What interests you most?” It’s a simple question, but one that doesn’t come up often enough in the office. In my organization, regular performance review is part of everyone’s schedule. Every six months we meet with employees and discuss areas where they would like to grow and develop. Then we come up with a plan.

Create horizontal and vertical growth opportunities.

Employees can hit the ceiling and start getting restless with their work. They stop learning new skills, taking on new tasks, and feeling any pride or progression in their work. There is no change, and their work becomes a monotonous drudgery.

A leader’s task is to create space for employees to continue to grow. There may be obstacles to someone’s growth; it’s natural. It’s your job to set up the ladders for employees to overcome. It is vertical growth.

It can also happen that a manager sets up this ladder, but that the employee is not interested in moving up. They are not interested in becoming a manager or a leader; they prefer to develop skills in other areas while remaining at the same level. They want to become “T-shaped” individuals. These types of people are also invaluable to any business. Provide these workers with everything they need to gain a deeper and broader understanding of your business.

Understand that not everyone shares your approach.

Not everyone shares your approach to freedom of professional action. Some might take an outsourcing approach and find it easier to complete tasks without having to spend development time. They might not fit the profile of someone making decisions or initiating specific changes. Discuss this at the interview stage; discover it in potential recruits. It is neither good nor bad; it’s just different. However, this may not be the person you are looking for.

Understand any downsides.

The saying goes, “Grow them, invest in them, then say goodbye to them.” While I recommend investing in someone professionally, chances are they won’t be your forever employee.

Unfortunately, this is only one of the realities of business. All you can do is do your best to ensure that an employee is happy in their job and happy with their progress. Their loyalty to a company only grows the longer they stay with you.

Ensuring professional growth by providing horizontal and vertical opportunities can be an effective way to secure long-term professional cooperation. I strongly agree with nurturing existing employees for the best positions. And I won’t move.

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