Client Challenge: "We have the reputation of being a good employer and so we have a lot of people who continue to stay employed with our company for a long time. The challenge, then, is to promote talent when we don't have any space open at the top of the company. How can we get our long time managers/leaders to agree on a horizontal move…in a company where vertical promotions are the norm?"
-VP HR Europe, Global Industrial Real Estate Investment Trust
Making Space for New Talent
This is a whale of a problem when your own corporate cultural norm is "up or out”. Sideways isn’t appreciated, even less is stepping down to a coaching/mentoring position.
At the same time, attracting and retaining young talent is a key strategy for any organisation that wants to stay leading edge and innovative. This is because most senior managers have the tendency to take less risks -- due to their longer experience in making mistakes – which of course is not the right attitude for innovative thinking.
A few companies have found a way to make a fundamental change in the way they make space for new talent. Here are three examples:
We favour a combination of solutions 1 and 3, making this a cultural/HR intervention alongside a strategic, opportunity-defining one.
Solution 1 is tough, but mainly for selected senior managers who will need expert coaching and support to adjust their traditional assumptions about career advancement. Solution 3 is less threatening for senior managers, and not so much a change initiative than a business venture.
As a first step, we recommend to focus on introducing new HR systems that will define and monitor horizontal career moves as well as career advancements, and provide autonomy for young managers to do new things. It should be a well thought-out process that emphasises the positive aspect of the change, ie "a business improvement initiative”.
For further information on how to deploy solution 1, you're welcome to have a chat. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a call.
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