This is the fifth article on my experience coming into a small company as their first Human Resources leader.
Talent Management in a Small Company
At a recent conference about employee engagement, a speaker from Fuel 50 said that “employees who were very satisfied with their career development opportunities were more likely to plan to remain with their current employer.” Makes sense, right? But what happens in a small company where there are not limitless levels for growth?
This was one of the challenges we faced in my new company as we were trying to stabilize our workforce, and develop career paths that would help us retain Millennials and keep every employee engaged and challenged. Like any small company , we have a mix of entry-level positions, mid-level management positions, and Senior level positions. Just not a lot of any of them.
Taking a step back, one of the first things we did when I joined the company, was create a clear hierarchy of responsibilities. We updated all the job descriptions, and job titles. We identified the right job levels for the employee’s skills and experience, and then made sure their salaries were in line.
Once we had a working Org Chart that was clear and organized, we could talk to people about what short and long term career paths were available to them. You might come in at a Coordinator level, then get promoted to a Specialist, then Senior Specialist, then Manager. We also talked to them about where they wouldlike to be, and where their passion was taking them.
Our goal with any member of the team is to grow you and develop you as much as we can. If you hit the ceiling here, then we want to help you get to the next position that furthers your growth. Even if that means you go to work for another company!
Our goal is that every employee bring passion every day, be genuine and humble, and deliver results. (Our values.) We also want every employee to know that if that is not true- if they aren’t excited to jump out of bed most days to get into work- then we want them to be honest with us, and tell us that. We will do our best to get them back to that place, even if it means they are not working for us.
We had an employee that started as a Customer Service/Clerical employee, and had worked her way up to Marketing Specialist. She had been with the company about three years, when she came to us and told us that she had lost her passion for the position she was in, and did not see a future with us. She asked for our help in getting her next position, and in return, she would still give 110% until she left.
We all took turns mentoring her, introducing her to our networks, and advising her on potential jobs. She was true to her side of the bargain, and gave us her all until she eventually found a great new job. We all won, and all the other team members saw that we were true to our word.
By keeping the goals of the company AND the goals of the employees in mind, we have been able to support career growth with our team. We meet at least twice a year to formally discuss their long-term goals and how they are evolving. We want them to grow professionally and stay with us as long as it works- for both the company and them.