An Answer to the Riddle – by Technology Leader, Erik Kellener
SOLVE THIS RIDDLE:
- It has multiple paths and is critical to both small and large organizations.
- It is embraced by nearly all employees, yet frequently ignored by businesses.
- Its absence can block a company’s ability to grow, yet requires little investment to build and maintain.
Fun Fact: In 2012 there was a 12% drop in employee attrition in the technology sector.
Answer: “Employee Development”
Companies that consistently perform well tend to have engaged, productive, and highly satisfied employees. A common thread amongst these companies is the continued focus on developing their human capital, aka “employees”. Often, businesses spend a tremendous amount of time recruiting, onboarding, and ramping-up their employees, with disproportionately less time in supporting their ongoing growth and development.
Any effective leader in today’s market should have employee development as one of their top priorities. Moreover, it should be individualized so the employee can clearly identify the connection between their development goals and the company’s growth. If the connection is clear, the employee naturally becomes highly engaged, and committed to the ongoing success of their team and organization.
One of the areas often overlooked in developing employees is in accounting for the generational divide. In today’s company makeup, a Software Engineering team may include a “GenXer,” and “Millennial” not only working side by side on the same project in a similar role, but sitting down together and pair programing! Now add a “Baby Boomer” to the mix, and you’re looking at well over a half of century of diversity. While these employees may perform similar roles, they communicate differently, and possess a different set of motivations and goals. Recognizing and adapting to the generational differences will further assist in aligning an employee’s development towards the business’s success.
If your business is motivated to support employee development “primarily” as a defensive tactic to reduce employee attrition, it’s the wrong priority. Employee retention is critical to the success of every business; however, it’s a means to an end. An effective employee development strategy should focus on cohesion with personal and company goals. The result is a force multiplier where each team member is aware and highly engaged in their individual growth, while in support of moving the business forward. Improved employee retention becomes a logical byproduct.
Regardless of how you implement your employee development strategy, it should be a targeted effort to feed your employees potential, while continually adapting to shifting priorities of both the employee and the business.
Erik Kellener is a technology and operations consultant to leading U.S. consumer brands in Media & Entertainment, Travel, and eCommerce. His work increases revenues, reduces operating and capital costs, and improves efficiency company-wide.