Another key step that successful firms employ
has to do with training and mentoring. Firms that
develop and employ both formal training, as well as
some form of mentoring, elevate themselves in the
eyes of their staffs by emphasizing the importance
of connected and valued employees. Firms that get
high marks in this area typically provide a combination of defined, formal tools and methods to develop
skills and understanding as well as create individual
mentoring opportunities for more junior staff. This
helps junior staff benefit from the prior experiences
and wisdom of those at later stages of their careers.
Combining these approaches underscores the importance of developing the team in all respects.
In much the same way a professional sports team
provides formal skills development during practice
while also simultaneously encouraging senior players to spend time counseling younger players on the
bench, firms can implement formalized training programs while also encouraging one-on-one senior-to-junior employee engagement. This is critical to helping the collective team members continue to grow,
develop and encourage connectivity and collaboration.
PROVIDE “STEP UP” OPPORTUNITIES
Finally, firms that find success in engaging and
supporting connected employees continuously aim
to identify and provide real opportunities for their
employees to “step up.” Formalized training and informal mentoring are important, but so are opportunities to be able to experience the real world on an
individual basis. Firms that can identify and support
employees in using new training and/or jumping off
of received mentoring lessons in live client engagements are meeting an equally important need.
Identifying and managing these types of opportuni-
ties must be closely coordinated—you don’t put an un-
drafted rookie quarterback with no live game time into
the Super Bowl. However, finding opportunities for
that rookie to take snaps with the first team in practice,
or to lead the first team in the fourth quarter of a game
that is already well in hand, can provide the experience
and confidence needed to succeed. The same is true for
finding real world opportunities for junior team mem-
bers—this experience is far greater than classroom or
textbook examples and use cases could ever provide.
As a result, providing junior staff with responsibility for a portion of an executive presentation with
a friendly client, or designating ownership of an important internal initiative to a junior staff member
can also provide real world experience for that employee in excess of any run of the mill experiences
they might otherwise have to rely upon to further
develop their “step up” muscles.
HAVE A TEAM-DRIVEN CULTURE
Organizations that create and follow these approaches can effectively develop and curate a team-driven culture that promotes collaboration, mentor-ship and mutual support. A team-driven culture helps
both individuals and the organization at large achieve
key goals and milestones time and time again.
While there are certainly examples of organizations
that may achieve short-term success by focusing on
developing star players rather than star teams, organizations that place an emphasis on and develop a team-driven culture and methodology generally experience
longer term sustainable success. That success is invariably the result of a deep sense of connectedness
and satisfaction from the organization’s team-member
employees and is derived from the value they know
their organization believes they bring to the team.
Adam Cummins is a director at Pace Harmon an employee-owned business transformation and outsourcing advisory
services firm providing guidance on complex transactions,
process and operational optimization, and provider governance.
“FIRMS THAT DEVELOP AND
EMPLOY BOTH FORMAL
TRAINING AND MENTORING
ELEVATE THEMSELVES IN
THE EYES OF THEIR STAFFS
BY EMPHASIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF CONNECTED
AND VALUED EMPLOYEES.”