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Why Every Organization Needs a Leadership Development Program

by | Blog, Guest Content

EDIT: This article was originally posted on LinkedIn by Daniel Card, our then Director of Operations. As we sit back down to re-address this topic in 2021, many things have changed since 2019.

  • The National Unemployment Rate is LOWER than it was in 2019, with the most recent numbers at 3.9% in December 2021.
  • In November of 2021, there were a record number of resignations – totalling 4.5 million. As we revisit topics of engagement, leadership development and talent retention, it is more critical now, than ever for employers to listen to, and provide value to their employees if they want to maintain an engaged, productive and healthy workforce.

Originally posted in August 2019 — letsthink3d.com/think3d-blog

We work with organizations of all sizes in the Midwest and one of the most common expressions we hear from hiring and HR professionals is, “it’s hard to find good people…”

Why? Why is talent acquisition and retention, such a prevalent issue right now?

One of the most obvious issues we’ve seen is that most good employees aren’t always looking for a new job.

With a national unemployment rate under 5% anyone who wants a job — by and large — already has one, and having desirable candidates apply becomes the luck of the draw. Thus, many managers and HR professionals find themselves focusing more and more on recruitment, not engagement, development, and retention. This problem is even more prevalent in small cities like ours, where unemployment rates are even lower than what the national standards call “fully employed”. As an over-employed community, many businesses are feeling the pressure of not being able to find and keep the right people.

So aside from winning the applicant lottery, how can employers find the personnel that will help drive their organization forward? Odds are they may already have potential future leaders within their pool of current employees that just need development.

Building an effective leadership development program has abundant lasting benefits to any organization. Let’s briefly explore several of the advantages of having a tailor-made program that fits your business.

Retaining your talent / Reducing attrition costs

  • Studies have shown that anywhere from 50-75% of employees quit their managers/supervisors, not their jobs.
  •  Intentionally developing better leadership within your organization is an effective way to bridge this costly gap, and it can be accomplished in an environment that is sure to develop the knowledge and skills suited to your needs.
  • With the cost of attrition so impactful to any organization, the potential benefits from employee retention are an invaluable endeavor to explore.

Developing your future leaders

  • One of the most common—yet most detrimental—methods of making a leader is simply through a promotion. This often occurs when an employee who excels in their existing role is given the promotion and responsibility to lead others. While it’s beneficial to know the business, this does not inherently make them a great manager. With no development or preparation on how to effectively manage or coach people, this can more often lead to team dysfunction and stagnation—both of which create huge gaps where there should be opportunity within any line of business. Who is better able to help transform your organization and achieve your targeted goals than those who already know your business?
  • Building bench strength is an imperative need for any organization to achieve long-term sustainability and growth. Any setbacks from attrition can be easily offset with having the personnel in place to step up.

 Developing effective leadership styles

  • One of the key benefits of developing leadership competencies in-house is that senior leadership can ensure they are establishing a leadership style that matches closely to their vision and goals for the organization.

Increased employee engagement

  • When you develop better leaders, they are able to create better interactions with those they lead. This helps to build a more engaging work environment which pays itself forward in a number of ways—including morale, reduced absences, and attrition.

Increased productivity

  • As an organization works to build a more engaging work culture, the attitudes and perspectives of the employees begin to change. This pays itself forward exponentially from the initial investment it takes to build an engaging work environment.
  • According to a Forbes article, between 60-70% of employees aren’t working up to their full capacity. This directly reflects a gap in effective leadership: rather than motivating their direct reports to give their all, management simply expects them to naturally.

Forbes – People Leave Managers Not Companies

Impacting employees at varying levels, not just in leadership positions

  • One missed opportunity in most companies is in how they view leadership development. At its core, leadership isn’t about position, it is about influence. Anyone who can influence others has the potential to be a leader.
  • Influence is extremely beneficial when it is positive, but it can also be, and often is, poisonous when the influencer has a poor attitude or is unengaged themselves.
  • An effective leadership development program isn’t just about developing employees for future positions but also focuses on developing key leadership competencies in employees at all levels. Competencies that extend into both qualities and skills.

Building effective communication champions

  • At the core of almost every interoffice issue is a gap in communication. Where do most people learn to effectively communicate? Unfortunately, most people haven’t been truly developed or shown what effective communication looks like. The typical style of communication in parenting, schooling, and most businesses is that of one-way communication and expectations.
  • Developing effective communication and better understanding with one another builds a lasting foundation to constructively work through issues and take advantage of opportunities.

Additional benefits: 

  • Develops an overall better process of decision-making.
  • Facilitates collaborative partnerships at all levels of the organization.
  • Creates a culture of open coaching, feedback, and growth with positive intent.
  • Fosters a mindset of adaptability, which is imperative for any business to succeed in the 21st century.
  • Cross-pollination of best-practices and ideas among groups and furthers investment and a “one team” mentality.

Every organization has untapped talent and potential within their existing pool of employees. Without a specific and intentional plan, this talent may remain unrealized or be driven to seek external positions with an organization that is willing to invest in them. In today’s environment, people are at the core of influencing an organization’s level of success. Practically every organization has strategies built around increasing market share, developing and/or improving products or services, and how to mitigate risks. However very few have a plan to develop and maximize the talent required to achieve success in these organizational goals.

At Think 3D, we know that every organization is unique in their line of business, as is the people potential that lies within their employees. There simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that can effectively maximize the potential of your team. This is why building a customized leadership development program that fits your needs is at the core of our approach.

We help organizations build sustainable leadership development and intentional culture from within, and work hand in hand with their teams to create material, programs, and training that gets them to where they want to be.

We’d love to learn about your organization’s needs through our free consultation and assessment. Let’s talk more about how Think 3D can add value to your organization and help you reach the next level.

Written by Daniel Card

Dan Card is in charge of innovation, technology, and product development at Think 3D Solutions. He is passionate about helping people and companies perform at their best. Dan writes about organizational culture, personal development, and current workplace trends.

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