We have a visibility problem!
Mid-to-large sized organizations suffer from various disconnects. You don't see the big picture of your work, communications, feedback, skills and aspirations since they are managed in a disjointed manner. Due to organizational silos, you don't have visibility into opportunities or people within the organization who can help address your career aspirations. Having access to this information could help to improve your
team's performance and your performance as well as career progress.
Team performance - Let’s say you are a manager and your team has a few interesting ideas to explore or initiatives to execute. Often, your team either does not have the bandwidth or the skills to test these ideas or to take the initiatives forward. However there are other colleagues within your organization who may have the bandwidth and the skills available when you need them. What if you could reach out to all colleagues within your organization and check if some of them have the skills and bandwidth to help your team on a full time or part time basis
Your performance - Whether you are in Marketing or Project Management or any other function, you can always improve your skills to be more effective in your job. While you can participate in classroom training, there is no substitute for learning by doing. There may be colleagues within your organization, not necessarily in the same function or geography, with the expertise to help you improve your skill. What if you had visibility on:
all such colleagues in your organization who are considered experts in your field, and
available opportunities to work with them using a few hours a week
Career progress - Let’s say you are in Product Management and you want to try out roles in Business Development. Or you are in Engineering and want to explore Product Management. A typical roadblock to such career changes, especially as you get more experienced, is related to a couple of unknowns:
you would not know whether you will enjoy this role and whether this is a role you can perform your best in
the hiring manager would not know if you can translate your strengths from your current role to the role you are being hired for
What if you had visibility into short term & part-time engagements within your firm related to this new role. That way, by investing a few hours a week, you could test the new role to check your interest and ability. And build a track record related to this role through multiple short term assignments that any hiring manager could reference in future.
If you are an employee of a mid-size or a large organization, chances are that you have no sight on opportunities within the firm and on your progress. Let’s do a quick test. How many of the below questions would you answer positively to
Do you know how many skills you have improved or added in the last 6 months?
Do you know how colleagues other than your manager perceive your skills
Do you know how colleagues other than your manager perceive your contribution
Do you now what opportunities are there across your organization to improve a particular skill or to help you explore alternate career paths
Do you know if there are people across your organization with the skills and experience you are looking for to to test an idea or execute an initiative
Perhaps you answered positively to just a few or even to none of the above. Creating the transparency on the above information would contribute to higher performance and greater employee engagement. So what can you do to create this clarity and help people within your organization achieve more?
As a first step, you can start by creating transparency in one or more of the following areas:
People's interests in roles they would like to explore, skills they would like to improve, locations they would like to work in or people they would like to work with
Opportunities - short term assignments or time bound initiatives - that teams are interested to get support on
Feedback (anonymous or public) from colleagues on other colleagues in terms of their skill level or contribution to a particular initiative
You could do this by setting up a team of volunteers who can gather and keep this information up to date. You could start with one function as a pilot and then expand to others. The manager of the function needs to be on board. And the volunteers need to communicate regularly with updates and achievements to get more colleagues engaged and participating in the initiative.
Beyond the initial steps, you can create mechanisms to create greater connectivity between the various aspects of work that make up the big picture - work, communications, feedback, skills, aspirations, opportunities, sentiments and reports.
You don’t necessarily need a solution to get started. You can leverage a spreadsheet and the organization's intranet for a start. Once you have traction, you can consider using one of the available solutions for employee engagement or talent management