In this video, learn how to run simple pilots that help create pivot-friendly organizations. Don't wait for company-wide opportunities—see what you can start with on your team.
- Establishing a culture of career conversations is a strong start, but not sufficient. Career development must go beyond talk, and to the realm of action and real opportunities. Individuals will soon hit a frustrating wall if their desire to develop within the company is met by red tape when they actually try to make a move. One unfortunately common refrain is it's harder to find another job within my company than it was to get hired in the first place. Career conversations are most beneficial when accompanied by internal mobility programs that support them, making employees even more likely to stay long-term.
If your company doesn't yet offer the types of programs that you would want to see, I encourage you to take the lead in starting one, or see how you might pilot a smaller version. Don't assume that just because it doesn't exist yet, it never will. In keeping with the Pivot Method, consider the following questions. Plant. What is your organization already doing that's working? What would success look like in terms of creating a culture of engagement and mobility? Scan. What are other managers, teams, departments, or outside organizations doing that interest you? What ideas stand out as particularly achievable, or that would make the biggest impact? Who else could you partner with inside or outside of the organization? Pilot.
What small experiments could you try with one team or department before rolling it out to the entire organization? How will you evaluate these pilots? And finally, launch. What resources would be required for a bigger launch in terms of time, team members, and tools? When would you launch this program? And how would you measure its success? You can also initiate pilots for internal mobility programs. Here are a few creative ideas, many of which are adapted from programs cited in Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For.
Guest speakers, authors, industry experts, prominent public figures, and musicians hosted at lunch and learn sessions or special events. Many companies even stream these events live to other offices and record them to post on public channels. Or consider an on-site library. SAS, a business and analytic software company has more than 16,000 books, research resources, business tools, and loaner equipment that help employees work toward their professional and personal goals. Zappos also has a library of favorite books in the lobby.
Employees and visitors are encouraged to take one on their way out, or read and return it. Externships. Wegmans facilitates externships for employees, hands-on learning opportunities outside of the company. Job-specific certification programs. Whole Foods provides job-specific development opportunities such as the American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional training and exam, and the Produce Warrior Program. Or maybe it's company-wide volunteer initiatives. Encourage all employees to volunteer during the same day or week of the year with time off that is company sanctioned.
How about a fund a goal program? Lululemon promotes a culture of goal setting and accountability asking all employees to identify business, health, and personal goals for one, five, and ten years. They've even created a fund a goal program for high performers to contribute money toward aims such as running a marathon or attending yoga teacher training. Perhaps it's reverse mentoring and lunches. General Electric pairs senior executives with younger employees. The junior employees mentor their counterparts in technology, social media, and emerging trends, and the senior employees provide more traditional career advice, and guidance, and organizational mentoring in return.
You could also experiment with project-based teams that disband once they're complete. One mid-sized defense contractor launched an internal talent market to increase productivity, collaboration, and engagement by connecting employees with excess capacity to leaders who have short-term development opportunities. Many of these initiatives can be rolled out in a cost-effective manner led by anyone with a passion to do so within the organization. Do not wait until you have the perfect solution to try something that sounds interesting. You'll probably never feel like you have enough time, budget, or resources.
So what's something that you or your team could prototype in a low-key manner, even without all the tech tools and set-up. If you're not sure where to start, ask. Listen to your team members, either in open all hands meetings, during office hours, or with a suggestion capture tool or internal survey, and choose just one key area to tackle first. Better still, recruit impactors looking for leadership opportunities to lead the charge.
- Optimizing your current role
- Identifying your strengths
- Crafting a one-year vision of success
- Making connections to "friendtors" and one-off mentors
- Creating a skill-building game plan
- Identifying small experiments and stretch projects
- Embracing smart risks
- Mapping next moves to make a greater impact