Many contractors emerged from 2011 following the economic turmoil that rocked them to their core in the preceding years with one thought in mind: we’ve survived; now let’s get back on a growth track for 2012 and beyond. Chances are, you’re looking around an office and job sites at a bunch of late twenty-something, early-thirties faces wondering if this is the group that’s going to get you to the next level, $100 million, $200 million, whatever your goals may be. Before you answer that question, take a quick look in the corporate mirror and ask yourself, “Are we doing everything possible to develop these people into tomorrow’s managers, executive officers or vice presidents?”
Most company owners and presidents will tell you that one of their greatest challenges is identifying, attracting, developing and retaining the best and brightest talent. They understand that their personnel are an integral part of the success and growth of the organization, but often get caught in the daily rigors of business and forget that they are an important part of the development and retention process. It’s a difficult challenge for upper management to focus on the development of their young project managers, financial analysts and other associates because it requires our most precious resource, time. If you are committed to reaching those corporate goals though, it’s an investment that you can’t afford not to make.
Consider whether you have the appropriate programs and training in place to develop your personnel. Training and development should be woven into your corporate philosophy, goals and message and strengthen the environment and culture that you have created. Create personal plans that are specific for your different department - operations, finance, IT, legal, internal audit and sales. You should be focused not only on technically developing your people but endearing them to the organization, believing in your mission and empowering them to take control of their professional development. Additionally, don’t hesitate to provide incentives and rewards for those who excel to show your commitment to retain your best performers.
Finally, insist on the involvement of all upper management, including ownership, and make it a priority to:
- Mentor – Every day, with the little things, with the big things. Show a personal commitment to their professional progression. Don’t be afraid to show them “behind the curtain” from time to time, so they can see why you are still passionate about a career you’ve had for 30 years.
- Example – Lead by example. Talk it and walk it. You are a living, breathing model of your company’s core values. They soak it up just like your kids do at home.
- Direct, Challenge – Provide direction, but challenge them to grow and stretch outside of their comfort zone. Encourage them to continue to be creative.
- Facilitate – Introduce them to prospects, referrals and other contacts. Take them to networking events, show them how to work a room, tout them as the company’s next budding superstars.
Regardless of what your company’s growth goals and objectives are for the future, one of the most important factors in achieving those goals will be contained within the people surrounding you. Remember your role and make the time commitment to their professional development, and the most impressive thing you build this year may be under your own roof.
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