Retention can be a difficult task for employees at any level, but retention at leadership levels can be more difficult. As employees develop their leadership styles and abilities, new doors may begin to open for them. Through networks and industry knowledge, high professional and high potential leaders have knowledge of positions that the generally public may not have. For these reasons, it is necessary for us to take a closer look at the training role in retaining leaders.
One of the first points in leadership retention is similar to our first point in general retention: ensure that new managers and supervisors have all of the tools they need to be successful. Your best subject matter expert, aside from managers and supervisors themselves, may be human resources. For example, many organizations create a course package that includes HR law and policies, the hiring process, the corrective action process, and the HR documentation process. After supervisors move through this package, they can move on to deeper management and leadership instruction.
Leadership and management are the next two components of the training role in retention. Both poor management and poor leadership can lead to a loss of employees, especially if those employees are fairly new with the organization. In terms of management, training should be ongoing and cover operations, financial, personnel, and project management, as well as motivation and influence. Leadership, on the other hand, is an opportunity to explore what characteristics successful leaders have within your organization and establish programs that create those characteristics. This is where HR and training can collaborate to create not only the leadership program competencies but also the plans for building an effective leadership bench.
Keep in mind that retaining leaders through training does not necessarily have to be confined to managers and supervisors, especially in this economic environment. Some organizations have come to rely on their lateral leaders because of a lack of promotional opportunities. In other words, you should definitely keep an eye on the people who lead as colleagues and would be great additions to the leadership bench. To do this, consider adding training interventions that target this high potential audience. Topics can include leading laterally, teamwork, taking the lead in ambiguous situations, and even industry or organizational knowledge pieces. This vital population should not only be retained but should be prepared to step into management roles when they become available. In fact, some organizations choose lateral leaders to go into the management course package or the leadership pool both to retain them and to get them ready to move up.
Another way to retain leaders is to ensure that managers are involved in the training department’s efforts, from the bottom to the top. Pay special attention to career paths and job-based curricula that highlight the path for mobility. By doing this, the leaders will understand that they can be succeeded if necessary and that they can use the career path as a motivational tool. When leaders get involved in the advertising of training, you are creating another way to retain them, as well.
In this series, we have examined the role training plays in HR functions, namely recruiting, employee selection, development, and retention. The training role in these functions can be direct or indirect, depending on your organization and its structure. It’s also important to remember that no assistance with HR functions should be unwanted or forced. One of the ways to ensure this is to understand how training can help and offer assistance as it’s necessary. Alternatively, consider meeting with HR on a regular basis to determine where they are and what they need. But also keep in mind that your assistance will come at a cost to your own projects and initiatives, so this is a space where your ability to balance will come in handy. Finally, remember that the current environment is calling on all of us to do more with less – and this is a great marketing perspective for involving training in some human resources functions.
Copyright 2010 Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.
Bryant Nielson – Managing Director of CapitalWave Inc.– offers 25+ years of training and talent management helping executives, business owners, and top performing sales executives in taking the leap from the ordinary to extraordinary. Being a big believer in Technology Enabled Learning, Bryant seeks to create awareness, motivate adoption and engage organizations and people in the changing business of education. Bryant is a entrepreneur, trainer, and strategic training adviser for many organizations. Bryant’s business career has been based on his results-oriented style of empowering the individual.
Learn more about Bryant at LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/bryantnielson