Value your specialists: Far too often high performing employees are encouraged to take up management positions, regardless of whether they make good managers or not.
The highest performing and most engaged organisations in our 8 secrets study all demonstrate a strong commitment to adequately supporting their employees. Such organisations are more aware of the employees on the front line and, are even more aware of the employees that are involved in the work that the organisation exists to do. Every effort is made to help employees achieve optimal performance, and those on the front line are constantly encouraged and supported to become the best at what they do.
Making specialist positions attractive
One of the added benefits of supporting employees is that when the adequate support and encouragement in specialist positions is on offer, the positions become more attractive. For employees, seeing that specialist positions are adequately supported and valued makes such positions at least as attractive as management career paths.
The most common mistake that we see in organisations is that high performing specialist employees are often nudged into a management career path. The decisions for this vary, but mostly it is because management career paths are often seen to be more attractive to employees. Whilst this can yield successes, employees that are specialists in their field do not always make outstanding managers.
In our previous research, the essential guide to driving employee engagement in Europe, we uncovered four employee survey statements that have the biggest influence on engagement and commitment. The four statements are:
- I feel that I fit in at my organisation
- I feel that I am appreciated by my organisation
- My manager motivates me in my work
- The work of my team contributes to the success of the organisation
As the above shows, one of the four most influential survey statements directly concerns managers. In addition to this, managers have a considerable impact on a further two of the four statements. We can therefore deduce that managers play a vital role in employees’ engagement and commitment.
When specialists are put into management positions not suited to their abilities, it can be disastrous for the employee’s engagement and commitment, as well as a number of other employees under his or her stewardship.
By making specialist positions attractive to employees, organisations can ensure that specialists are in positions that they are happy with and furthermore, are in positions that are best suited to their abilities. In doing so, it creates a win-win situation for both employers and employees. The employee is happy with and well suited to their position within the organisation, and the organisation has a high performing, specialist employee.