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Growing Employees from Within: How to win in the war for talent

Culture | Posted on August 2, 2012 by Madeleine Lee

Savvy organizations know that investing in talent management is essential to a company’s future success. In the war for talent, a great amount of research shows that employee development programs are becoming an increasingly vital weapon to improve employee commitment, business performance and retention.

In a recent study conducted by assessment and development consultancy Cubiks, 93 percent of respondents said they would stay longer with an organization that invested in their development and 97 percent of respondents agreed it was important to develop people who could lead the company in the future.

Here at Softchoice, we want to create an environment that nurtures the potential of our employees and allows us to grow our talent from within. Employee development is core to helping us do this, and we offer various programs that range from department specific training and development to personal and professional leadership development options. 

One program in particular, our Management Assessment Program (MAP), allows us to take high-performing employees and develop them for future Management roles within Softchoice. The program originated in our Sales organization, and thanks to its success, we expanded it into other areas of the company.  So, I sat down to speak with Ashley Thibodo, one of our Human Resources Supervisors and a main contributor to the MAP program, to find out more about the program’s success.

Ashley, can you give me a quick summary of what the MAP program is all about?

MAP is designed to identify and develop leadership from within Softchoice. We launched the program in April 2011, with the purpose to create a repeatable recruiting process for fast and proactive management and leadership selection. Managers nominate internal employees once per year, and they are then interviewed by HR & business leaders to assess the individual’s readiness for MAP.

Once accepted, candidates are taken through a detailed development plan based around their own individual development needs & career goals. Upon finishing the program, candidates are selected from an internal talent pool to fill managerial vacancies based on experience and completion of the program.

Over the course of 12 months, what type of training do these potential managers go through?

Program participants are expected to learn and work both individually and in a group environment. In the development phase, students are assigned a MAP Buddy and MAP Coach. They follow an individual plan which focuses on their unique identified strengths and weaknesses. The individual plan includes mentoring from their current manager, online research, and job shadowing. As a group, aside from working with their MAP Buddy and Coach, all candidates participate in a monthly group call led by subject matter experts concerning either Program Competency or Management Theory sub-topics.

  • Program Competencies fall under three sub-categories: leading self, leading others, and leading business. Underneath these sub-categories, our senior leadership team has identified the following seven core competencies as very important for managers: self-awareness, credibility, forging synergy, communicating effectively, change management, taking action/making decisions, and problem solving.
  • Management Theory is the “nuts and bolts” of the program – an overall package of skills we expect from our mangers. We cover topics like Talent Selection, Performance Management, Total Rewards and Employee Engagement.

The exact length of the program depends on each unique department and each individual candidate, but usually ranges from 12 to 18 months.

How do you know the program is effective?

We’ve seen a tremendous amount of positive feedback from our students. Employees have personally returned to us and said the MAP program really helped them get the position they wanted. Since starting the program last year, out of our 11 students, 7 of them have been promoted into a leadership role! It shows we’ve had great success in tapping into our internal talent, speeding-up and augmenting the recruitment process.

What do you think about development programs? Got any tips or insights into what other organizations are doing and how they develop their employees? Share them with us here!

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