Jan. 13 2021 06:00 AM

Create a developmental success plan for your employees.

How would you like to make your green industry company one of the best places to work, a company that attracts and keeps the best employees? This would be a place where people who work there feel they have a purpose, a direction and a future. It would be a company where they are excited about coming to work each day.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not. It just takes some creativity, planning and a little work.

Let’s face it, one of the biggest headaches businessowners are facing today is hiring qualified employees. Like the wise old saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” How can that age-old advice be translated to address this concern?

According to the 2020 Engagement and Retention Report by Achievers.com, 43% of employees in U.S. companies would consider leaving their company for career advancement with another organization.

One way to help prevent this conundrum that I recommend to all of my green industry clients is to create and implement a process that retains the right people. With many of the clients I work with, we create a career ladder for every team member in their company. You can do the same thing in your organization. Here’s how to do it.

The first step is to conduct some internal focus groups with your managers and employees. Find out what they like about working at your company. What don’t they like? What can be improved? What would make it a really great company to work for?

One of my clients reported to me that when they asked their team of foremen what one of the things they disliked was, he and his partner were surprised by the answer. Many of his high-achieving foremen resented the fact that some of their peers were not performing up to the high standards the company had set, and yet, they were still getting their full quarterly bonuses. Upon hearing this my client wisely revamped the quarterly bonus system and made sure those foremen who were not performing properly did not receive a bonus.

Next, do an inventory of your onboarding process for new hires. Make sure it’s the kind of process that helps your newly hired employees and managers start out on the right foot and have ongoing support for a successful experience. One thing you can do is to make sure there is a buddy system in place for each new hire to receive the support they will invariably need and want in the first 90 days and beyond.

Next, create a career ladder for each position in your company. Make sure that all new hires, as well as your managers and employees, know what their career path can look like in your organization.

To illustrate what a career ladder would look like for each position, create a flow chart showing the steps a person would take to progressively move up within your organization, starting from a particular entry-level position. This flow chart would include these types of necessary items or accomplishments:

  • amount of work experience
  • certifications
  • in-house training completed
  • outside training completed
  • attendance at either in-person or virtual conferences
  • mentoring and coaching programs completed
  • emotional intelligence skills
  • mastery of customer relation skills
  • mastery of specific leadership skills

The key is to show the progression of an individual in each particular position and how they can progress step by step up their company career ladder. Again, let me remind you to be sure to create a company career ladder for entry-level positions as well as management-level positions. If you do it correctly, many of your future foremen are going to come from your new entry-level hires.

The next step is to take the job description for each position and use it to develop an Annual Developmental Success Plan for each person in your company. Here’s how to do it. Create a spreadsheet for each person in your organization. Using their job description, divide the skill sets and competencies into three groups:

  • must haves
  • should haves
  • nice to haves

Use a point system of five points for must haves, three points for should haves and one point for nice to haves. Requiring a specific point level of mastery for each section will help you determine if that person has met the level of competency they need to develop over the next 12 months.

You now have a system to continually assess an individual’s progress throughout the year. Email me to receive a free Annual Developmental Success Plan document.

As I have mentioned in past articles, it is critical to give periodic and continual feedback to your employees and managers. As employee development specialist Bob Kelleher advises, annual reviews or performance appraisals are dead. A continual feedback system is one of the best ways to help your employees and leadership teams succeed in reaching their full potential. Three of the benefits for taking this approach are that you will

  • give your team members something to strive for.
  • build pride among your employees and foremen.
  • build your company’s reputation for being the place to come to work.

By giving periodic and continual feedback to each person throughout the next 12 months, you can help them stay on track to accomplish their Annual Developmental Success Plan. This can help you determine their success in reaching their agreed-upon objectives during that time frame. Bonuses, raises, special perks and promotions can be fairly awarded based on their ability to successfully complete their objectives. At the end of the year, there will be no surprises when they earn or don’t earn them. If you need help in putting this together, feel free to contact me with your questions.

Tom Borg is a team performance and customer experience expert who works with green industry organizations and their leadership teams to help them connect, communicate and work together better without all the drama through his consulting, training, coaching, leadership instruments and job benchmarking tools. To ask him a question, please call 734.404.5909, email tom@tomborg.com or visit his website at: www.tomborgconsulting.com.