This was misguided then and it's even more so now.
We're coming out of a very tough period for most companies. Everyone knows that when budget cutting is on the table, training gets the ax first. So what's new?
the Kansas City Star, high achievers who are 30 and under are abandoning ship in droves with an average stay of 18 months. Why? Simple. Lack of training and mentoring for growth.
Imagine that? Young workers want to grow and develop? Isn't that what every management guru since the beginning of time has been telling would-be managers? "Your job is to grow your people." Didn't managers get the memo? Evidently not.
People who have been following the discussions about the millennial generation (Gen Y) have decried the fact they grew up thinking everything they did deserved a "good job" and they all got a prize. But guess what, the reality is that every employee needs and deserves the chance to grow and develop. This isn't a new phenomenon. We are Homo sapiens -- the thinking ones. These young workers are just acting on what is deep-seeded in everyone. We want to learn and grow.
Although my old boss is long gone, his attitude isn't. Here are a few ideas to reverse the trend.
- Spend time with all employees finding out what their interests and talents are.
- Figure out how to develop those interests and talents for mutual benefit.
- Provide formal and informal training and mentoring.
- Encourage individual initiative and growth.
- Be ready to say "goodbye."
- Joe spent time with each of us just talking. He was genuinely interested in understanding our aspirations and talents and then doing what he could to fostering them.
- Joe kept looking for ways to give each of us opportunities to develop our talents on the projects we worked on. He allowed us to try different roles and tasks and discover where our real contributions lay.
- Joe set up "lunch and learn" sessions in the conference room one a week. They were voluntary but we never missed a one. He supplied the pizza and the knowledge. There was no budget but he found some local professors who were willing to come in once a month and give us more advanced training -- roast beef sandwiches on the menu for those sessions!
- He encouraged us to take additional courses on our own and join professional groups that provided educational programs. He attended those meetings with us and helped us network. He let us know when we made mistakes and inspired us to correct them. He was no "softy" and knew how to deliver tough love when we needed it.
- No one wanted to leave Joe's team. But Joe knew we needed to move on if we were going to continue to grow and develop. When I went to tell him that after 5 years I was going for a corporate position, Joe was thrilled. Because Joe had supported my development, his team had 5 years of results that benefited the organization. Other teams seldom kept people more than a year (yes even in that protected world.)
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(c) Rebecca Staton-Reinstein, president, Advantage Leadership, Inc.
Author: Conventional Wisdom: How Today's Leaders Plan, Perform, and Progress Like the Founding Fathers. (This link takes you to a special page for a special offer not available publicly.)