(Originally published on http://www.avtarcc.com/newsletter/nl_jul_14/newsletter.htm as Engaging with fast trackers)
Fast trackers are ambitious. They are hungry for growth. They are calibrated in top box of high performance and high potential. There is a correlation between their potential and ambition. Whenever they are with your company they will add value to the business and they need frequent changes. Hence, their engagement is crucial.
Most of the time companies hesitate to take risk on fast trackers. If you tag somebody as fast tracker, your next step should be their development plan and action plan for engaging them. I have few suggestions for keeping these guys (read girls as well) engaged in your organization.
Compensation: Compensation isn't everything! Yes. True, but compensation is also important. You should have your compensation philosophy where you can position your fast tracker and high potential at specific percentile. Not necessary you pay above the market, but there should be reasonably good positioning as compared to your regular talent.
Development: Follow 70+20+10 rule. 70% development happens through on the job assignment, project assignment. You need to put your employees in the water directly. 20% development happens through coaching and 10% development through training programmes. Make the development plan based on this logic. You need to create it with concrete deliverables with timelines. Don't hesitate to put the person on the project, assignment whenever you find it for this group. Coaching always takes back seat. The issues are with time investment required by bosses and seniors. If company is really serious about the development of these guys, seniors have to take time for coaching them. You may take the external help of an expert coach, but internal coaches are always beneficial.
Mentoring: Assign mentor from top management like board member, management team, other functional leader or any senior member. Employee would have priorities where he would like to take the help of mentor on development areas.
Define the next career step: Most of the time, line managers are unaware on what should be communicated on the next career move for the employee. When you identify the talent, you should have the plan for this. It is ok, if you don't have next vacancies but at least possible move is always motivating for the employee. Whenever possible, try to define the career move and place the candidate whenever you find opportunities.
Long term incentive: I am sure, now every company has short term incentives like variable pay or performance bonus, but do you have long term incentive plan? ESOP or some other creative ways of rewards are necessary to engage the employees who are critical to your business.
Education: First assumption for identifying fast trackers is that they are future leaders. The question is how are you developing them as a leader and also improve their business acumen. Educate them in general management. Executive MBA or leadership programmes with top colleges is the top most motivation for these guys.
Shadowing of top management or functional leader: The most appropriate way to develop & also engage these guys is assigning them to shadow top management or any other functional leaders. By doing this they will understand the complexity of the job and skills sets required to perform the leadership jobs. Further, they will also get the exposure at top management level. Visibility and appreciation from top people always increase the engagement. You also need to be very critical while assessing this high potential and fast trackers. Hence, Identification of this talent group is always critical...