That’s the message Scott Blanchard shares with readers in his latest column for Fast Company magazine. Drawing on exclusive, primary research that shows Growth as one of the lowest-rated employee work passion factors in today’s organizations, Blanchard shares what individuals, managers, and senior leaders can do to improve growth perceptions inside their organizations.
For individual employees, Blanchard recommends first and foremost, to focus on doing a good job in your current role while you look for new opportunities inside the company. As he explains, “Growth beyond your current job is a privilege usually reserved for people who perform in an exemplary fashion. When managers get requests for growth from people who are not performing at their best, it may feel to them like they are stepping on a treadmill with an employee who may never be satisfied in his or her current role. Most managers will avoid this, because they suspect it will become a never-ending process.”
For managers, Blanchard advises facing growth conversations head-on—even when you don’t have traditional next steps up the corporate ladder to offer. As a manager, keep your eye out for new opportunities and new projects that may come up. Know which people on your team would consider it rewarding to get involved in a project that is different than their normal job.
This could potentially be a lateral move, or even a move to completely different part of the organization. Some of the greatest opportunities for growth are found in areas that integrate what’s happening between two departments. For example, a project following up on leads could bring the sales and marketing departments together, while refining and solving a business problem could integrate the engineering and sales departments.
Good managers look out for their people and think beyond the day-to-day. When they have someone who is really working hard for them, they go out of their way to help that person grow.
For senior leaders, Blanchard reminds executives that good people always have opportunities. His recommendation? Conduct an assessment to find out how employees view current growth opportunities in the organization. Make growth a priority. Your best people are not going to wait patiently for opportunities for advancement—even in a slow economy. If you are not providing them with growth opportunities, they will go elsewhere and they will take what they learn from you and use that to build their career at another company.
You don’t want to be the person at a top employee’s exit interview who hears, “The headhunters seemed to care more about my career development and growth opportunities than this organization did.”
Growth is just one of 12 important factors employees evaluate in their work environment. To see Blanchard’s latest research on the topic read Employee Work Passion Volume 3: Connecting the Dots. To read more on Scott Blanchard’s specific strategies for creating an engaging work environment check out his other Fast Company articles.