Vail Daily column: Celebrate employee success
A key tenet to organizational success is providing opportunities for people to succeed.
Consider the case of Cincinnati Bengals assistant coach Vance Joseph; both the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers hoped to hire Joseph, currently the defensive backs coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, as their defensive coordinator. Joseph is an up-and-coming coach and is well thought of in league circles.
The Bengals proceeded to block Joseph’s career growth by denying him the opportunity to accept a promotion to defensive coordinator of the Broncos or 49ers. Certainly this is within their right, as he has a contract in place and there is nothing preventing the Bengals from blocking the promotion.
Nothing, that is, other than the fact that it is counter-productive to block the growth of your employees. Nothing, that is, other than the fact that holding back opportunities for employee growth — outside your organization if needed — is detrimental to both individuals and to organizations. Nothing, that is, outside of the ethical responsibility that employers have to do the right thing by their employees.
The same holds true in the National Football League and in small communities such as ours.
We Want to Hire You
Successful organizations, regardless of size or scope, for profit or nonprofit, local or national, are filled with employees that others want to hire. A key component to management and organizational leadership is to train, support and coach employees in such a way that others clamor to hire your team away when they have openings.
What does that look like here in the Vail Valley? Employers can support the growth of employees by allowing them a stipend for continued education opportunities, perhaps at Colorado Mountain College, or even access into a community organization such as Rotary Club, Young Professionals, Vail Valley Business Women or Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International. Employees who take advantage of such offerings are adding to their company’s successes and growing their professional skill set.
At the same time, successful leaders need to create organizational cultures that their employees don’t want to leave because they are given the support, training and flexibility to do their jobs in a meaningful way and to be successful. Examples include supporting professional development opportunities within your industry, honoring and recognizing individual employees, creating incentive opportunities or even simply providing a Merchant Ski Pass (and allowing time to utilize it on powder days!)
Getting Actively Solicited
I define my success as a leader in large part within these parameters. It is my sincere hope that anytime there is a job opening in the community, my team is getting called and offered positions. This may seem counterintuitive — do you really want your staff being actively solicited for positions?
As a community development organization focused on the economic vitality of the Vail Valley — providing business-to-business chamber of commerce services, helping drive destination tourism efforts and providing economic development services to improve the overall business climate — we are only successful if our members are successful. Our team focuses on collaboration, community engagement, service, integrity and responsiveness as ways to help achieve this goal.
It is common for organizations like Vail Valley Partnership to be perceived as a feeder ground or training ground for larger businesses. This isn’t unique to nonprofit organizations or chambers of commerce. Some organizations, like the Cincinnati Bengals in the Vance Joseph example, might view that as a negative and block the opportunity for their employees to grow. Successful organizations instead celebrate the career growth and success of their people and support their growth. Sometimes that occurs outside your organization, and that is OK.
Regardless of professional football or nonprofit leadership roles, your one real job as a leader is to create a work environment that supports the professional growth of your team, as this provides a clear path to sustained business success. It is incumbent upon leaders to build an organization that is so admired that recruiters and industry peers can’t help but try to hire your team away while at the same time creating an organizational culture that no one wants to leave, despite the constant recruiting.
Celebrate the success of your team and hope that they do their jobs so well that they are constantly receiving offers, but build a culture that ensures no one ever wants to leave. The alternative option of being an organization filled with people that no one else even thinks of hiring isn’t very appealing.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of Vail Valley Partnership