If the aspirations of your people were met then 70% of those who leave would stay. It therefore makes sense to ensure you are regularly reviewing progress and discussing individual aspirations. The great news is we know many more organisations are aware of the importance of this and are putting robust plans in place to make sure it happens. In our poll last month, 77% of our Purple:online readers have discussed their next career move with their managers.
It’s just as, if not more important, to ensure that these aspirations are fulfilled or managed however. Under promise and over deliver doesn’t just apply to customers, clients and guests; people have a right to know where they’re going and how they can get there. A frank and honest discussion with people regarding their future with your organisation, or finding out if you’re a stepping stone for them to reach their goals elsewhere, can make succession planning an easy task.
When having the conversation it is imperative to be realistic (after all, not everyone can become a leader of the business), encourage people to drive their own progress and for leaders to make strategic plans. Whilst we’re don’t generally advocate putting people in boxes, using potential vs performance, plus asking questions around their ambition can enable a business to map where people are and plan for the future using a nine-box grid which is simple, fair and consistent. The larger the organisation the more useful it is to get this online.
Below we outline our nine box grid and the definitions as used by De Vere Hotels and Village Urban Resorts, Orient Express, Lexington Catering, Bourne Leisure and Tragus Group to name but a few. Achieved through our Talent Toolbox system, it creates effective talent management by organising employees into appropriate categories to help optimise performance and engagement levels.
Box one: need attention
- Definition: these employees are showing low potential and also low performance. They under-perform and aren’t currently showing any scope for improvement. They are likely to be disengaged: at best they are adding little and at worst could be sabotaging the organisation and causing others to feel demotivated.
- Actions: here management has to take a tough decision; either challenging them to improve their performance; or taking action which may ultimately move them on.
Box two: need help
- Definition: these employees have average potential but show low performance. This could be due to disengagement; moving too soon, inadequate induction or development, not coping with manager, colleagues, change or culture.
- Actions: they have the potential to perform better if given the opportunity, motivation, support and development.
Box three: need intervention
- Definition: these are employees who have a lot of potential but simply aren’t performing. They are a wasted resource and intervention is needed to find out why they fall into this category, They are either in the wrong role, wrong organisation / culture or not responding to their current team or manager (who has failed to harness their potential), or they have other issues that, for the good of the employee and the organisation, need to be explored.
- Actions: a ‘heart-to-heart’ between the employee and a third party (and possibly with the line manager too) is required.
Box four: effective
- Definition: these are employees with specific talents as they show higher performance when compared to the their potential. They may have reached their full career potential so need recognition for their contribution together with effort around keeping them engaged, focused and motivated to get the desired results.
- Actions: they may require personal development or progression via a project that might not be directly related to the role or the organisation.
Box five: core
· Definition: these employees perform just up to the potential of the role though they may be capable of out performing if given the required motivation or challenge
· Actions: if they are ‘coasting’ it is worth exploring why, e.g. disengagement; lack of challenge in the role, unchallenged or demotivated by job content, team, change or culture. If they are happy in their role and performing consistently at this level, continue to engage them and celebrate their loyalty
Box six: need challenge
- Definition: this category compromises employees who constantly show high potential but their performance is not up to that standard. They may not have sufficient motivation or inspiration to move forward. The organisation should recognise the value of this talent and work out how to obtain the best from every employee.
- Actions: these employees can become great assets for the organisation, though they need to be kept challenged and receive recognition as they achieve their goals. To increase performance levels, ensure they have the confidence, tools and freedom to achieve.
Box seven: specialists
- Definition: these are trusted professionals who perform at much higher levels than their potential because of some special talent they have. They could be people who for reasons of work-life balance or other circumstances have taken a less senior or complex role. Or they are very engaged and prepared to trade off challenge against the ability to stay within your organisation.
- Actions: they should be valued and efforts made to retain them by rewarding and recognising them. If possible, allow them to pass on their skills and experience through mentoring other high performers / potentials.
Box eight: high impact
- Definition: these are performers who, with grooming, direction, development and / or motivation, can become the future leaders. They may have lost motivation, direction or pace with the changes in the organisation. They are similar to the ‘need help’ and ‘core’ employees, but they can be among the top talent.
- Actions: the organisation needs to ensure they keep engaged, motivated and challenged and that they receive recognition for their contribution.
Box nine: future leaders
- Definition: these employees are the leaders of the near future and are the current best possible options for succession at senior positions. They demonstrate leadership qualities and produce results. They have influence and people look up to them and seek their advice. They get the job done and have broad experience and knowledge.
- Actions: they need to be nurtured and every effort made to challenge and engage them. They also need to be rewarded appropriately. They will need to progress (personally and within the organisation), so ensure that there are opportunities to grow through promotion or other high-profile challenges. If there are no opportunities available it may be advisable to help them find a secondment or a new challenge in a non-competing organisation, leaving the door open for a future return.