September 28

Developing Internal Support: Placing an employee on the fast track


By Chuck Coker

The key to approaching this process is to remember that you must lead your employees, not just manage their tasks. Make sure they see you are trying to help them by positioning them where they can learn and grow from others who have knowledge to share.

Remember that employees (in general) are somewhat independent and require personal attention. However, you want to make sure the attention is positive, based on their individual aspirations, and positioned so that they seem to be gaining position and stature as they build stronger industry relationships.

The primary issue you face is building your employees: capacity. While competence is what most marketing managers must ‘acquire’ in order to meet task demands, it is often within their reach if they knew what to look for in their people, or those from other departments.

If we acquire data and use it properly we get better long-term results. Each person wants the capacity to grow, develop, and better themselves through the use of their natural abilities.

So, how do you as a leader and manager identify who and what to develop? We start with the theme established in January. As we learned at that time, jobs are easier to measure than people – they do not carry the ‘human factor’, and can be broken down into critical job elements and tasks.

If you are trying to build your department, the first step is to perform a work environment study (WES), or benchmark the behaviors and mindsets necessary to perform the tasks of every position in the department. You will want at least 4-5 people providing input.

The second step is to identify future needs that are going to require attention. Complete your studies or benchmarks on those prior to filling the position. Establish what is necessary for success in that position, so there is no doubt what you are looking for.

Once the process is complete, the third step is to take the data you have on your present employees and see how closely aligned they are to the scores needed for the position. If you have someone in the department at a junior level who possesses those attributes, they can be moved into the new position after training a replacement, saving the company money and illustrating capacity development in the process.

If you are solely trying to develop the capacities of each employee in your department you will want to slightly modify the process. You must always start with your work environment studies or job benchmarks to identify the requirements of the present positions. Your new second step will be to take the data and compare it to the profile of the individual performing the task.

You should see a fair amount of similarities. If you do not see similarities, you are possibly having challenges with this employee. In most cases you will see some variances that will provide you with insight as to why they struggle with certain tasks. If you do find this to be the case you have several options:

  1. Move the employee into a position that is more congruent with their behaviors and mindset.
  2. Shift some responsibilities to another employee who has a better ability to handle what will be challenging for this employee. Whatever is divested, can be replaced with other responsibilities.
  3. Institute direction and focus (perhaps a personal developmental plan) on learning the skill sets needed to enhance their present behaviors and mindsets through either internal or external developmental resources.
  4. Provide or be a coach/mentor/peer to assist the individual in acquiring the appropriate mindsets needed for their present responsibilities or future roles.

Developing the synergy and internal support for ‘fast-tracking’ each employee

Building the 4Cs into your department can occur more efficiently than you might believe. Depending on the size of your organization, integration can happen within several weeks to a few months. You may want to have a corporate executive introduce the concept to your team and then you can explain the steps that will be occurring as the process is implemented.

During this communication you want team members to understand the purpose and reasoning behind this new focus – their well-being, growth and development as well as excellence within the department.

This program does not need to be expensive. You may already have the data you need, but just may not be aware of it. Even if you have to spend money, in the long run, you may end up saving the company many times more than the investment. Here is your outline to fast-tracking your department:

  1. Meet with HR and identify any pertinent data gathered during the hiring and developmental processes.
  2. Use your personal files, semi-annual and/or annual review information to complete as many other aspects of the matrix as possible.
  3. Identify psychometric tools that will quantify data that is missing from any or all of the 4Cs. If you cannot afford any investment at all, there are a myriad of free assessments on the Internet that may help. Even if you have no data, some of the best tools available are very reasonably priced at $200-$400.
  4. Assess the accumulated data and it determine what changes need to be made in departmental or task alignment. Develop your (departmental) strategic plan.
  5. Assess the accumulated data on each employee and determine what path will be appropriate for their management and development. With their help develop a strategic plan for their progress.

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About the author 

Chuck Coker

For more than 30 years, Chuck has focused his career on people's development. He has implemented proprietary Personal Formation, Human Capital, Talent Management, and incentive-based programs across a broad scope of Fortune Companies, regional organizations, and educational institutions.


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