Steady Contributors – What Comes Next?

Recently, I outlined several questions to consider to further develop high potential talent. The concern is that we often go through a talent review process, identify high potentials, and then fail to take additional action. We don’t do anything differently than if we had never gone through the time and effort to complete a talent review. It is important to develop specific plans for the high potentials—so they are further developed, remain challenged and engaged, and contribute in ways that add value.

But what about another group that is identified through the talent review process? What about the steady contributors? These are employees whose performance is good; they are properly placed in their role; however, they do not demonstrate the potential and/or interest to help lead the organization to the “next level.” We need these folks. They contribute day in and day out. So what comes next for these individuals?

For each steady contributor identified through the talent review process, it is helpful to answer the following (provide specifics, seek feedback, and verify as need be):

• Are we keeping this person challenged and engaged?
• Are we continuing to acknowledge and reward steady contributors (do we let them know they are appreciated and valued)?
• What tasks/projects can we add that will provide a sense of accomplishment, especially if/when the job is dominated by routine, repeated tasks?
• How can we provide new/different responsibilities that stretch the employee; tasks that enable the employee to continue to learn and develop in their current role?
• To what extent can we increase the level of freedom the employee has to choose how or when tasks get done?
• How can we push decision-making down—increasing the number of decisions the employee makes, or the number of actions s/he can take without management approval?
• Are we making assumptions about their interest to “do more” or do we need to challenge our beliefs?
• Does s/he receive candid feedback about strengths and development needs?
• What specific next steps should be taken to further develop this individual?

While it is useful to differentiate the time (and investment) that we give to high potentials, we don’t want to ignore the contributions of steady contributors. And, it is helpful to position development as something that we all need. This positions us for continued success—now and in the future.

Related Articles: Talent Management – Harness Potential; Talent Review Discussion Worksheets

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