Did you know promoting or transferring top performers into the wrong job can be the greatest hidden expense for many companies? Other high-cost risks include relocating employees geographically or offering them the opportunity to become a business partner. What seems like a great opportunity can become one of your greatest challenges. And yet most companies don’t take the time to incorporate objective information into their decision-making process and are surprised when the outcomes are not win-win. They fail to understand how moving top performers can negatively impact results.
What happened? Usually the boss was focused on rewarding a top performer or employees threatened to leave if they weren’t given what they wanted. During pre-move conversations, employees may conceptually understand their new role, but the reality can very different. Many employees rely upon their initial excitement and fail to ask enough good business questions before accepting the new assignment, and therefore don’t know what is required to succeed. After they are on the job, some may not wish to work that hard to develop the new skills required of the position (despite what they tell you), or they may lack the qualifications or “job fit” to achieve the required results. Believe it or not, some employees find themselves being offered new jobs because they said the right thing to the right person at the right time!
What’s missing? A clear directive and navigational guide on how to do it that works for them. Instead, employees are determined to do things their own way. Then, when things don’t work out, these once stellar performers feel forced to leave rather than return to their old jobs. Their egos prevent them from taking a reduction in status, perks, and compensation, or there are no other options available since the previous position was filled or is no longer needed. So they end up leaving with all the training, proprietary information, and on-the-job knowledge you provided them – many times taking other employees with them! Some pursue costly litigation. Meanwhile, your clients and remaining employees are concerned about how this impacts them.
As part of the decision-making process, use a qualified assessment to objectively clarify a person’s strengths and weaknesses. Contrary to some opinions, you can’t build a successful career focused on weaknesses. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you can fix and change the person to fit into the new job responsibilities —nobody works that hard. Put together a 180-day plan to keep newly promoted employees focused on critical areas for client interactions, critical goals, people and project management, and self-development while providing training to enhance these skills. Hire them a coach from outside the company— it’s a requirement to develop these superstars faster and more effectively. All of these steps can also prevent these top performers from leaving when inevitable challenges occur and no one knows how to manage them.
©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013
Jeannette Seibly delivers straight talk with immediate results to business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises, achieving dynamic results. Along the way, she helped create three millionaires. You may contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com to discuss your coaching challenges.