Too often, HR is associated with hiring, firing and managing conflict to keep an organization running on a basic level. The responsibility of building talent within the workforce is often relegated to business leaders — but leaders have so much else on their to-do lists that identifying and encouraging leaders from the workforce can fall to the wayside.
What if HR were tasked with cultivating leadership amongst employees? Is developing the next generation of company leaders a task that HR can shoulder effectively?
In a word: yes. Here are the ways any HR team can provide greater organization support by finding an organization’s talent and taking them to the top.
Because business leaders tend to be so busy, when an availability opens within the leadership team, leaders might be tempted to find an external hire who has already demonstrated their proficiency. Unfortunately, this leaves little space for employees within an organization to climb their career ladders, forcing turnover rates to increase as ambitious workers look elsewhere to advance. It also tends to weaken the workplace culture as leaders bring their own corporate cultural expectations in from other organizations.
HR can focus on filling leadership positions with employees who are eager and able to excel. In developing an employee-centric approach to filling leadership roles, organizations gain all sorts of benefits, to include leaders who are familiar to their workforce, leaders who understand the company’s past, employees who feel loyal to their employer and a strong, stable workplace culture that can support organizational goals and values.
Training and Development
Managers and executives do not automatically gain leadership skills as soon as they are promoted into positions of leadership. Leadership skills are developed over time, largely through experience in environments that foster certain abilities, but also through online leadership courses that provide a more structured approach to gaining the capabilities leaders need to excel. Ideally, workers should have plenty of opportunities to grow their leadership skills before they step into leadership roles — and HR can help.
HR can offer leadership training and development to current and aspiring leaders within the organization. Workshops, courses, mentorship and other programs can help leaders old and new hone their skills. These programs can also give HR and business leaders insight into workers who could be exceedingly valuable in leadership positions.
HR should be responsible for developing a promotion system that tracks performance and participation in leadership programs to allow prospective leaders to find their place within the organization. An effective promotion system weighs a worker’s skills and strengths, looking for abilities beyond technical skills that allow them to thrive in their current role.
In business, the Peter Principle is an observation that professionals tend to be promoted one level above their competency. If a worker is exceedingly proficient at their current job and shows little interest in climbing the rungs of their career ladder, there is little reason for them to receive a promotion simply because the system says it is time for that worker to be rewarded. Instead, HR should focus on training those employees who show an affinity for becoming business leaders.
Senior Management Collaboration
The members of an organization’s leadership team have the responsibility of determining business strategy, which means placing workers in leadership roles can have an impact on the success or failure of an organization. HR needs to work with senior management to understand how different roles contribute to organizational tactics, so they can groom workers with specific skills for specific positions. HR can also help to support new members of senior management during their transition and facilitate communication from senior management to other levels of the workforce.
We might be a bit biased, but we believe that HR is the most valuable field in business. The department tasked with finding and supporting an organization’s workforce certainly has ample power to affect the outcome of business efforts. By integrating HR into leadership development, companies can attract and nurture outstanding industry leaders that will grow their operations to new heights.