9 Ways to Groom Top-Performing Employees

Development programmes instill a global mindset in budding talent and help them acquire comprehensive knowledge of the business

Keyuri Singh

Talented employees are a valuable resource to any organisation. Identifying young talent and nurturing them for taking up important roles and responsibilities in future is the prime concern for many global organizations. High-potential workforce in an organisation helps in adding competitive advantage to any business by generating enormous dividends. Thus, top-notch organisations across the globe, including start-ups, take keen interest in grooming young talent by designing special development programmes.

These development programmes instill a global mindset in budding talent and help them acquire comprehensive knowledge of the business so that they can enhance their performance and deliver better value to clients. Moreover, development programmes prepare future business leaders to develop leadership in thoughts as well as actions, besides grooming them to lead big and small teams efficiently, at different levels.

Here are some ways and means followed by organisations for grooming talent for critical roles and responsibilities:

1. Talent Identification Programme: An executive working in an organisation today can become a business leader tomorrow. It is the responsibility of senior business leaders to identify future business leaders by keeping their eyes open for bright, high potential team members. Talent identification programmes are designed for targeting in-house talent so that they can be identified and trained methodically. Here are a few attributes that are taken into consideration while identifying the top talent in an organisation:

• Optimistic and go-getter attitude
• Ability and willingness to learn
• An entrepreneurial spirit
• Crisis management skills
• Analytical Skills
• Innovation
• Team spirit and leadership skills
• Decision-making skills
• Strong communication skills
• Strong work-ethic
• Proficiency in work
• Sincerity and integrity

Once an organisation identifies the primary attributes that will drive its business goals, the next step is to measure the performance of its employees on the basis of those attributes. This is followed by competency assessment programmes to assess employee competencies, their strengths and weaknesses, so that customised programmes can be developed for these young leaders. As soon as an organisation finds out employees with high potential, it implements talent development programmes to groom the young budding leaders.

2. Mentoring programme: Mentoring programmes also play a crucial role in grooming talent. Leveraging the knowledge of the senior leaders’ help employees learn through real life experiences of their seniors. Mentors or senior employees are experienced enough to offer expert tips to younger employees. They play the role of a counsellor, guide, and teacher and make younger employees aware of the different facets of corporate culture. The young leaders can spend time shadowing the senior leaders – sit with them in meetings to learn how meetings get conducted, what kind of crucial and difficult conversations take place at senior levels, and learn through experience. Besides this, mentors also help young talent by:

• Sharing their experiences and helping them learn business skills so that they can emerge as successful leaders by avoiding mistakes
• Providing vital insight and helping young talent to identify opportunities
• Teaching them the ways to climb up the corporate ladder
• Discussing business strategies and advising them on how ideas and strategies can influence the goals of business leaders in an organisation
• Supporting the talent as and when need arises
• Providing them with adequate exposure within the firm
• Understanding work-related obstacles faced by young talent and helping young talent find new opportunities
• Being a good listener and a trusted friend of the young talent

3. Leadership training: When it comes to leadership training, true leaders prefer to go the extra mile to groom young talent in the best possible manner. Leadership trainings are imperative as they provide talent with a broader view of the organisation.

In order to deal with the hyper-competitive market in today’s global economy, one needs to be adept in using the right perspective at the right moment, besides being flexible enough to deal with the changing economic situations. Only true leaders are capable of making quick and effective decisions during tough times. Leadership training goes a long way in grooming top-notch business leaders. Such training programmes impart knowledge on different business specialties such as sales, finance, business strategy and innovation. It enables in-house talent of an organisation to develop strong leadership qualities so that they can inculcate adequate confidence in themselves and take fruitful decisions during tough times. Leadership training also enables employees to know their strengths and weaknesses and help them in developing a specific vision and executable plan for emergency situations.

4. Time Management Training: Strong time management skills enable leaders to manage and accomplish projects on time. Time management is important because it lessens stress levels while enabling one to achieve more. Time is an irreplaceable resource and should be utilised wisely. Thus, senior leaders should teach the talented young employees, the art of mastering time management. The future leaders should know how to organise, prioritise and schedule their time-table so as to utilise time in an effective manner.

5. Business Communication Training: Without developing good communication skills, one cannot become a successful leader. A good communicator is one who is a good listener as well as one who knows how to put across his/ her insights effectively. Without good listening skills, a good business leader would not be able to easily connect with his/ her audience so as to make an influential impact. Only strong communication skills can help business leaders to achieve their goals in diverse business contexts. Many organisations provide business communication training to their highly talented workforce so that they can cultivate an effective communication style.

6. Attitude Training: Senior leaders must also address the need of inculcating the right attitude in young talent. Right attitude is an essential attribute of true leaders and no leader can lead efficiently without it. Right attitude enables leaders to confront big challenges with ease and achieve success in whatever they do. Employee attitude training programmes prepare talent to try hard for constant self-improvement. It trains them to build their strengths and downplay/reduce their weaknesses. Attitude training programmes also enable talent to unveil their hidden powers by setting free the leadership qualities concealed in them.

7. Flexible Work Environment: While developing team-leadership skills, organisations should offer employees with a flexible work environment, such as:
• ‘Work from Home’ schedules so that employees can maintain work-life balance
• Providing employees with smartphones, laptops and other gadgets to make them more efficient and portable

8. On-the-job training: No amount of training can help a person if the training is not utilised in the real world. The organisation has to give the future leaders difficult assignments/projects where they can utilise all their training and create a meaningful impact on the organisation.

9. Feedback: Both positive and negative feedback play critical role in developing people. All employees, and especially the younger millennial, want instant feedback. They wait for appreciation, as that is their biggest motivator. Timely feedback, including constructive criticism, can go a long way to making mid – course corrections if people are not growing in the right direction.

Providing grooming opportunities for talented employees enable organisations to thrive and grow. Besides growing profits, companies should also strive to grow future leaders by discovering the best young talent pools and grooming them by providing coaching and professional training. Once an organisation identifies such high potential workforce and moulds them into efficient executives, it should also find out creative ways to retain such employees and keep them engaged.

It is the responsibility of senior-level leaders to think about their organisations and envisage what lies ahead. It is not possible to establish a successful business without nurturing in-house talent. Thus, it is an important responsibility of leaders to act as role models and lead their organisation towards success by grooming high potential employees on an individual basis.

The author is vice president-HR at Infogain