A new malaise has hit our workplaces – people moaning about not experiencing ‘career growth’. As I wrote in my earlier post, a knee jerk reaction of making available career paths (with the fine print that they need to work hard and be patient to see results), does not help. People take one look at them, like a sick pet looks at its bowl of food, and turn away, still looking sad and bleary-eyed.

They do not want to see options. They are, usually, smart enough to have figured out the options already. They want something else – maybe a promotion, a different shift or department, some new learning or role. And they want it NOW!

Organizational Design experts will tell you that you need to design your org not just to get your work done but also to accommodate and care for your talent.

While the talent force of today is young & restless and craves for career growth, our org designs continue to be old-fashioned and traditional.

They do not provide nooks and crannies, in addition to the regular solid steps up to the castle. Places where the people can keep hopping to and fro till they get ready to place a firm foot on the next step.

What am I talking about? I am saying, Leaders, wake up and re-design your orgs. Don’t just have traditional ‘roles’ people can grow into: supplement them with:-

1)      Rota Roles – This is a new word I have coined which combines ‘rotating’ and ’roles’. Identify the roles in your orgs which can be rotated between various folks who have shown promise. These augment the current role (s)he holds.


For instance, if there is a role requirement for data analytics or the HR care for your department, do not set up a new role for it. Instead, provide it as a role-augmentation to people who can scale up. It makes them feel valued, helps them learn on the job, and voila, it prepares your talent bench.


2)      RevRoles – Let’s say the function is going through a change, grappling with a new challenge. Set up transition roles or 6-9 month durations that will contribute to the ‘Rev-Up’.


While the people continue doing their existing roles, they are handpicked to a new change management team, invested upon by the leaders, and they design and drive the change. In the process, they learn about a new function and get ready for taking it up at a later stage.


3)      Loan Roles – Loan out your promising folks as to another function on a part-time basis. This requires some org maturity and inter-departmental synergies. But, if handled well, it gives the people exposure, excitement about being the ‘chosen ones’ and cross-functional depth.


Do this exercise – think of a good talent you have in your team. You do not have the option of promoting him, or giving him a role that he wants at the moment. Can you apply one of the above to calm his restlessness? Think about it.

Retaining talent in today’s markets is tough. But, with a keeping your ears to the ground and being willing to try out new ways of engagement may solve some of that problem.  Your thoughts?