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Will Your Essential Leaders Advance Within Your Organization or Elsewhere?

The employees most likely to leave? They’re probably the ones you most need to stay. Here’s what you can do to keep and inspire them.

There was a time when some analysts were predicting that the Turnover Tsunami would be a short-lived event, a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic that would recede as life and business returned to something-like-normal. Unfortunately, such upbeat prognostications have not borne out.

In October 2021, the most recent for which federal data is available, 4.2 million people left their jobs. Although this represents a slight decline from the record 4.4 million resignations the month before, historically high attrition continues. But it is not spread equally across the workforce.

An article published in the Harvard Business Review, ‘Who is Driving the Great Resignation,’ highlights where companies are most vulnerable. And unlike in years past, it’s not with younger workers, whose quit rates have actually fallen of late. Today, mid-career employees are resigning most frequently:

Employees between 30 and 45 years old have had the greatest increase in resignation rates, with an average increase of more than 20% between 2020 and 2021.

This presents a particular challenge for businesses. As damaging as it can be to lose large volumes of entry-level workers, the impacts of mid-level employee turnover can hollow out an organization’s ‘strategic execution force,’ the cadre of experienced managers who do much of the heavy lifting to translate C-suite plans into market realities. As mid-career employees also lead others, losing seasoned managers who’ve built trust and rapport with their direct reports can have a substantial ‘trickle down’ effect on retention and performance on the front lines.

Company executives have every right to be frustrated right now. Only the most intransigent business leaders are ignoring worker feedback or refusing to experiment with retention strategies. The vast majority of senior executives and HR professionals I work with are striving to address the many valid issues employees are raising, but few have found the secret recipe to ease experienced managers’ current wanderlust.

Professional Development: A Solution, with a Hitch

As we’ve argued elsewhere, professional development can provide the opportunity for growth, challenge, and advancement many mid-career managers are seeking, at least as much as they are pay raises, bonuses, and incentives.

The question is how to build out an appropriate, engaging training infrastructure, especially now when late-stage pandemic adaptations, supply chain complications, and other difficulties continue apace. If current professional development programs aren’t having desired impacts on turnover, or if few or no initiatives exist, how can an organization find the time, expertise, and resources to devote to their design, improvement, and roll-out?

Against this backdrop, Advancing Leaders from Vistage offers an especially attractive alternative or complement to in-house training. This immersive cohort-based program gives businesses a turnkey option to introduce or enhance their professional development efforts using Vistage’s proven formula, which has been more than seven decades in the making.

Importantly, Advancing Leaders can inspire and re-engage some of your most valuable contributors. That’s because it’s designed specifically for experienced and advancing managers who execute the company’s strategies.

Leveraging application-based learning, participants gain vital skills they can use in their current positions and as they rise through the organization:

  • The ability to think beyond their own expertise by raising questions, deepening understanding, evaluating options, and adopting new strategies

  • Effective communications skills that foster a culture of understanding, support, motivation, and clarity among internal and external stakeholders

  • Collaborative capabilities to link people, strategy, and operations; seek new perspectives, increase cross-functional integration; and achieve shared goals

Meeting every other month, Advancing Leaders integrates prominent speakers on business-related topics and introduces ‘issue processing,’ a group perspective-broadening and problem-solving approach. Personalized leadership development plans and a focus on working cross-functionally within the company during ‘off months’ ensure that Advancing Leaders delivers both immediate and long-term results for the rising leader and the employer company.

Emerging Leaders Graduates AND Other Experienced Managers

Advancing leaders is the second level of professional development within Vistage and a natural follow-on for Emerging Leaders graduates. We at Imprint Talent Readiness just completed a full, two-year Emerging Leaders cycle with more than a dozen rising stars participating. We cannot say enough about the great strides these new and early-career managers made in becoming confident, capable, effective leaders and are pleased that several of them are now enrolling in Advancing Leaders to continue their professional development journey.

The cohesion between Emerging and Advancing Leaders is a plus for CEOs who are looking for a seamless development solution for a wide range of pre-executive talent. But this doesn’t mean Emerging Leaders is a prerequisite for Advancing Leaders. The program offers advantages for a variety of individuals with a background directing teams or departments.

If you have experienced, mid-career leaders you’d like to inspire, develop, and prepare for larger within the organization, contact us. We can provide more information to help you determine if Advancing Leaders is the right fit for your professional development and retention needs and a match for the key up-and-comers you have in mind.



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