Sometimes, the process of identifying and nurturing emerging talent in your organisation can feel like a never ending treasure hunt. You may be unsure of where to start, confused about what the process should look like, and perplexed as to which tools to use to measure and identify. Investing in your rising stars is incredibly important, especially when you consider how 40% of employees will leave a job if they feel that their career development is not a priority.
So what IS the solution to identifying and nurturing your emerging talent?
Focusing on metrics like KPIs, punctuality and absenteeism rates, is where most HR directors start, instead of honing in on the important aspects needed to find guaranteed next generation superstars, who will ultimately ensure the success of the organisation.
There are two things you need to get started. An identifying system outlining desired characteristics of your next generation leaders, and the creation of an exceptional mentor. (This is most likely going to be you!)
In order to create great Leaders, you must become one, and ultimately lead the way for others to follow. Communication, from your side is key. You will never find a potential superstar hidden in your organisation if you don’t make the effort to communicate with them. Invest that little bit of time getting to know your team, find out what they’re working on, listen when they discuss their career goals and personal aspirations and ask questions about the skills they would like to learn going forward.
Your rising stars will soon emerge just in time for you to put the second part of your plan in place – your identifying system.
Remember you are not necessarily looking for an ‘employee of the month’ or someone with an impeccable attendance record. You need to dig deeper than that, and look for key characteristics that show real superstar potential.
You need to find employees with a natural ability, a finesses, or flair for doing their job exceptionally well, coupled with a desire to grow and learn. A word of warning, don’t get caught in the trap of potential versus performance. Certain employees will perform incredibly well within the organisation, but will not have the ability, or desire to take their role to the next level – and that’s fine, not everyone was born to be a leader
Your rising stars will be open about their own personal development and career progression, not simply to win brownie points or to impress you, but because they really CARE about how they are performing and developing. On top of this they will see their own personal success as a win for the entire organisation.
If you notice an employee going above and beyond on a project or task knowing that it will benefit the organisation, you’re definitely onto a winner, and this is a person who you need to keep a close eye on and nurture.
Another way to find out if your rising star has leadership potential is to discover if they are a team player. Are they empathic, good at maintaining relationships, and willing to offer advice/assistance to their colleagues? Employees who work well with colleagues and who are willing to help others for the greater good tend to perform very well as leaders and therefore should factor in your rising star criteria.
Your emerging talent must also have excellent communication skills. If they can communicate well, explain their ideas effortlessly, and have the ability to listen, you are definitely onto a winner.
Good communication skills is truly at the heart of good leadership, and if your potential star is already a gifted communicator, developing their communication skills even further is a must for the future of the organisation. During our own emerging talent programme, we focus on delivering advanced communication skills like pitching, advanced presentation, media training and producing effective meetings as we truly believe that these skills are vital when it comes to performing as a resilient and effective leader.
Are there employees in your organisation who have the ability to simply make things happen? They will stand out as the ones capable of making decisions, are excellent at putting a plan in place and will stop at nothing to achieve tangible results. They are potential stars.
Potential talent are also not afraid to take on extra responsibilities and will put themselves forward for committees, speaking engagements and networking events to show their commitment to develop personally and professionally. If you think you may have found a potential star, why not give them an extra task or two and watch how they perform? People with true leadership qualities are able to handle multiple tasks at any one time, and will relish the opportunity and challenge.
I hope this article has made you think about your own organisation. You may by now have an idea of 5, 10 or even 20 (lucky you) potential candidates within your organisation who have some, or all of the qualities listed above. And if you’re really serious about developing your emerging talent, it’s time to put your plan into action now!
Start communicating with your potential stars, schedule those one to one mini meetings, perform a gap analysis and learn about the skills they would like to improve on. Find a department, project or role which allows them to shine, develop a training programme with their needs in mind, and don’t forget to communicate your vision for their future with them – they need to know you’re invested in their career progression as much as they are!