6 Ways To Develop Your People- So They Never Leave
April 19, 2017
Your life science company will no doubt already have a talent retention strategy in place, which at least on paper, relies heavily on the development of employees.
But is your company- and are you as a manager- making this happen;consistently?
The difference between mediocre leaders and great ones ultimately comes down to one thing: their ability to build talent. In order to retain your team, you must develop their talents- even (and especially) those key figures who you would prefer not to lose after they’ve up-skilled.
As Richard Branson says, ‘Train your employees so they can leave. Treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.’
Wise words indeed. But what does it mean in practice? Here are 10 ways to develop your people so that they never want to leave your organisation.
1. Treat coaching and development as your number 1 strategic priority as a leader.
It can be challenging for life science leaders to devote time towards developing their team, as they’re often understandably distracted by other elements of their management role- whether that’s project management of a drug trial or dealing with team challengers and targets.
All are important tasks as a leader though consider this: where will you be if one of the scientists on that trial leaves because they need a new challenge?
Or your top regulatory expert resigns because they haven’t been allowed to attend important conferences? Make time to coach and develop your team, or pay the heavy consequences.
2. Find out what they want in a one-to-one meeting.
Don’t assume your employees aspire to a management role, or that they must be pretty happy with the job they have now. Ask.
This is the time to find out if they’re content in their current role and what their ideal career trajectory looks like, or if there are obstacles standing in the way of doing their work properly.
Find out where they think their skill gaps are and develop ‘stretch goals’ together. And follow up regularly- definitely, don’t make promises for development and then not deliver, as this is the fastest way to disillusionment in the book.
3. Don’t put a ceiling on them.
Never limit their development in the hope that you’ll be able to keep them from moving on. No matter what you fear, develop them to their utmost. That is what great leaders do- and your success as a leader requires that they become the best they can be.
4. Make both development and motivational feedback a priority
Feedback is at the core of good leadership. If you want to support your employees to excel they need to know what they are doing well and what needs improvement. If you look at the reat leaders around the world, they all consistently work on their skill level.
Allow them to do their job.
This is a crucial form of development, in that by stepping back and only offering guidance and feedback where necessary, you’re allowing these people to stretch their wings in the role. It can be so tempting to step in and help- whether you’re worried they might do it wrong or think you’re assisting them by jumping in, but it’s not helpful.
If you notice someone stumbling with a task or request assistance, instead of showing them how it’s done right off the bat, instead ask searching questions so that they can try and arrive at a solution on their own.
5. Ignore those who don’t want to be managers at your peril.
We’ve written about this subject before and suffice to say that a lot of companies lose excellent employees because they fail to develop those who aren’t interested in becoming managers.
As such, these employees languish in their positions, getting bored, restless and feeling underutilised. You may need to consider training for lateral moves, or simply offering them ample opportunities to level up their skills while remaining in the role they’re in.
6. Bring in a ‘what I learnt’ briefing.
A learning culture is infectious (and highly productive) when everyone’s sharing information. Each week, employees should share something they learnt that others might find useful or interesting. This might be a game-changing regulation in the Asia Pacific market, an interesting research breakthrough, or a time-saving trick on the new office software.
Leaders tend to allocate less and less time and effort to developing their team as they climb the ladder. Don’t make this mistake; be disciplined in your coaching strategy. Set aside time. View it as an important, unbreakable appointment—as you would a meeting with senior executives. Your reputation as a leader depends on it.