Small Business
Business INSIGHTS e-News for Manufacturers
Are You 'Brightsizing' Your Company?

Nurturing high-potential employees is important to your company's success.

In the day-to-day rush, you may not have taken time out for succession planning, not just for the CEO, but for all key positions. With the retirement of baby boomers imminent, you need to know where your supervisors and high-level managers will come from.

While you can make promotions the traditional way, based on seniority, your competitors may be identifying and developing their high potential employees instead. In a recent American Management Association study, 70% of respondents said their company is putting forth adequate to extensive effort to identify high-value contributors for the future. About 50% said their companies were using both systematic and informal approaches to identify these employees. Performance appraisals and management recommendations are often used, and companies are starting to perform talent assessments and use input from peers.

Steps You Can Take
In her article, "Manufacturing Exodus: Strategies for Survival," Michelle Giovannozzi of Clark College Corporate and Continuing Education recommends mapping out current positions and potential retirements to make your talent development program match your future needs. Identifying which of your employees could grow into leadership positions and which will need to be recruited from outside will make succession smoother.

To start the process, Giovannozzi recommends:

  • Gathering subject matter expertise from retiring employees before they leave and using it to train other workers. Record their knowledge in training manuals, standard operating procedures or e-learning platforms.
  • Develop a leadership and supervisor pipeline. Identify high potential employees and begin to build their skills.
  • Pair experienced workers with those who are less experienced to facilitate the transfer of knowledge.


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