People First HR Services

Unleash the Potential

Bev Braun-Allard

What happens in organizations when they find a way to unleash the potential of employees? I’m sure you have some examples you could share. I’m fortunate in my experience to have seen some terrific outcomes as a result of internal career development initiatives.

Just last week I was working with a group of employees ranging in position from quite junior to supervisory, in age from 20 something to 50 something, and in tenure with the company from 1 year to more than 15. From the outside looking in, you might wonder how a group this diverse could find value in the same delivery material when they’re all at such different career stages.

That’s the beauty of career development. When you enlighten employees about managing their careers, each person walks away with a process they can use in a way that’s meaningful for them. The career action plan is easily personalized to each person’s unique situation and the actions they take can impact the organization one person at a time.

As an example, take one of the supervisory participants from last week. He’s decided he’ll use the process to up his game. His longer term goal is to move up in the organization but right now he’s determined to become a top performer in the role he’s in, and he has developed a specific career action plan in place to get him there.

On the other hand, one of the more junior employees just starting out in his career, has recognized the way he can best apply the process right now is stepping outside of his comfort zone to  build confidence in speaking in front of groups. This employee wants to have a voice in the organization so this week he volunteered to share something in a departmental meeting.

In a previous group, someone in their latter career stage recognized through the process that the way he could create meaning for himself and best contribute to the organization was through intentional mentoring of more junior employees.

What’s my point? Career development isn’t only for your high potential employees, though it’s important that you’re focused on facilitating and even accelerating their development. Career development is for your broader employee population as well. This is the group whose potential I encourage you to unleash.

Look for ways to encourage development opportunities for all – for those early in their career, mid-career, and latter-career, for those who want to advance and for those who are happy where they are but just want an opportunity to try new things or build new skills.

Beware of the results it can bring to your organization!