Taking ownership of your future in a scaling organization
So, you’ve landed the job AND you find out that you’re incredibly successful. Your lucky employer has truly found the “purple squirrel” of candidates — someone who does so many things exceptionally well. Arguably irreplaceable.
But what happens if you, the “purple squirrel” were to leave? It’s every company’s worst fear. After all, replacing someone like you is laughable in this market.
That begs the question: how can we keep those purple squirrels?
At PERQ, we are constantly challenged with the talent market. During my short 18-month tenure with this organization, we have grown our technology division by 91 percent. But even better than that are the growth opportunities for our internal staff. By putting in the appropriate measures, companies like PERQ can ensure that those high-contributing individuals can be awarded amazing opportunities and advancement within a rapidly scaling company.
Here are some of the things employers and employees can do to leverage the benefits of a scaling organization:
First and foremost, provide your staff a “safe place to fail.”
I quote this from Chris Moran, recently promoted to an implementation manager position at PERQ. Before being promoted, Chris and I discussed in depth the fact that he came into PERQ with no implementation experience. However, Chris wasn’t afraid to take risks and was willing to learn new things. Because of that effort, Chris has seen tremendous growth professionally. Knowing that his supervisor and team had his back the entire time, Chris was unafraid to rise to new challenges — even though there was a chance of failure.
Give team members the training and tools they need!
Every few months, PERQ President & CEO Andy Medley leads a group of 6-7 employees through a “V2MOM” training session to help individuals hone their personal and professional goals. What better opportunity for staff members to make their professional goals and accomplishments visible to leadership than a 12-week course that includes 1:1 time with someone who’s responsible for guiding the organization.
Discuss trial periods.
As discussed in Step 1, failure does happen. That being said, your internal growth plan for an individual may not work out. Let’s say you have an entry level person move to the next phase, and they aren’t nearly as successful. What comes next? How are you going to help them feel like they are still the valuable employee they once were and get them back on track? Again, we’re trying to make sure we don’t lose that talent.
Instead of throwing an employee head first into a new role that they may or may not be comfortable with, consider treating the first 90 days or so as a “trial period.” If the employee enjoys their new role, then this is great news. If, however, the employee doesn’t enjoy their role, they can have the opportunity to move back to their previous role and use the trial period as a learning experience for how they choose to grow in their current role.
Now that we’ve discussed employers, let’s look at what employees can do to propel their careers forward:
Your relationship with your company’s recruiter should not end on your first day.
Keep in touch with any and all talent acquisition folks in your organization. Who is going to know more about future opportunities than the person hiring for them? Keep your eyes on the job board and see what’s out there. If you see something of interest — even if you don’t qualify — talk to your talent director about it! You never know where those conversations may end up.
Make your intentions known.
Although this is a great conversation to have with the company recruiter, it’s even more important to have this conversation with your direct manager. It might feel a little weird at first as you’ll probably hold loyalty to your manager, but you’d be surprised by how many managers feel pride in seeing their mentee’s success. It’s evidence that the manager’s mentoring skills were effective. Ultimately, your success as an employee is their success — so use them as a resource.
Raise your hand.
Is your team undergoing a huge challenge? Do you have a plausible solution? Then RAISE YOUR HAND. Offer your knowledge and expertise — even if there’s only a slim chance of your solution working. This is a great way to get noticed by leadership and to show your versatility and openness to help on projects.
Be flexible and patient.
After you get your Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from a prestigious university, I can almost promise you that (at most organizations, at least), you aren’t going to be able to walk in and start managing people immediately. Chances are, you’ll take on an entry-level position — and that’s okay!
Don’t focus so much on moving quickly up the corporate ladder as much as finding the right “home.” Find a company with the right leaders, and take a role that is going to help you develop the skills it takes to move you forward. And while you’re at it, ask for mentorship along the way. Don’t be shy about asking to shadow roles that interest you.
Internal growth is critical for companies that are quickly scaling. It’s a motivational tool for staff, and more importantly, a way to engage those top performers. For employers and employees, I leave you with a few final thoughts:
- Use the 1:1 meeting as a window to discuss professional growth.
- If you’re a manager, help staff members identify their strongest skills and how they’re going to be critical to the company’s success.
- If you’re an employee, don’t be afraid to showcase your strongest skills and offer suggestions for how they can be used in future projects.
Want to know more about opportunities at our rapidly scaling organization? Check out PERQ’s careers site: https://perq.hirecentric.com/jobs/ or reach Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org. Discover more about PERQ’s company culture and other ways they develop their talent.