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You are growing! Do you want your employees to grow with you?

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Written by our partner Lesley Vanleke van Careercoach Network and Ingrid De Backer van HR Wheelworks.

Fast growing companies

This blog focuses on the specific people issues growth companies have to deal with.

Growth companies not only grow in terms of revenue, but also grow in terms of FTE. As a result, a lot of energy goes to external hiring. Together with Doris Sims (2016) we question if this is the best possible long term talent strategy.

While the company grows in terms of FTE, after a while, a number of issues surface:

  • there is no time to formulate a long-term talent strategy. This implies the risk that a short term solution will be sought for each vacancy, rather than an approach that takes into account the existing potential of employees already working for the organization.
  • managers usually have to manage bigger teams as the company grows. As a result they have no more clear view on the career ambitions and development needs of their team members, nor do they know of talents elsewhere in the company which might be perfect for their team.
  • employees get frustrated as no one really seems to be facilitating their development or their careers. Some of them leave, others become detached.

This really is a shame. To quote Doris Sims:

“Why focus so much time and money on attracting and hiring talent and then not focus time and money on retaining and developing that talent? This is like buying the freshest product at the farmer’s market and then letting it sit in the refrigerator until it becomes inedible and you have to throw it out.”

We think it would be useful to take a critical look at your Talent Strategy. Is there a balance between the external talent acquisition and the internal talent/career development focus? In other words: Don’t become addicted to your external talent acquisition!

Focus on internal talent

As your company is growing, you should focus on hiring, but don’t forget that focusing on the internal talent is equally important as it

  • Helps to retain & develop (top) talent
  • Builds culture
  • Retains industry knowledge
  • Reduces costs

Here are some tips:

  1. Define a talent strategy with all stakeholders. Set up a co-creative process which allows your company to make the right choices on how to grow your talents in the organization.
  2. Organize talent review meetings, so that leaders get an overview of the talent present in the organization and make decisions about how to facilitate the career & development of these talents.
  3. In the end, individuals are responsible for their own careers. Develop the skills to manage their own careers (link) in individuals through workshops or individual coaching.

You can rely on our expertise if you need support to realize these tips.

In conclusion, a talent strategy is the starting point for growing organizations to ensure that they do not only focus on short-term solutions for completing vacancies, but pay equal attention to the development and retention of existing talents.


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