When you first start your business, every member of the founding team—i.e. you and your first employees—is crucial to its early success. As your business grows and changes, there may come a time when you feel yourself starting to outgrow those original employees.
If you want to retain these valuable team members, you must ensure they’re evolving in their roles with your business. Otherwise, it may be time to phase them out and look for fresh talent.
To help you navigate this situation, we asked 10 Young Entrepreneur Council members how employers can assess employee growth and ensure they’re evolving in step with the company.
1. Conduct A Nine-Box Assessment
Involving your HR department to teach managers how to do a nine-box assessment of your current employees can help identify who is growing with the business and who may need to change roles or move on. There are several software solutions that can help or you can make your own as well. This exercise will also help identify your next group of leaders so you can continue growing into the future. – Josh Awad, Flywheel Commerce
2. Use Specific Performance Metrics
To assess employee growth, it’s important to hold regular meetings to check in and see how they’re performing. These conversations are vital to ensure that they’re on track and evolving alongside the company as it grows. It’s also important to track employee performance through specific metrics to make sure they’re keeping up with the pace. If they can’t adapt to changes or simply don’t want to change their original processes, then it might be time to hire those who do. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
3. Gauge Their Resistance To Change
Gauge your team’s ability to challenge their own assumptions and their willingness to change up existing processes. Employees who are resistant to change and happy to maintain the status quo may have plateaued a long time ago. However, this doesn’t mean they’re no longer a good fit for your organization. Instead, you might want to hire new talent to either work alongside them as peers or above them as managers to help provide new perspectives or even coaching to break out of their existing mindset. Some folks are eager to change, but they just need help facilitating the shift as it’s easy to just maintain course when you’re operating in a vacuum. – Firas Kittaneh, Zoma Mattress
4. Evaluate The New Responsibilities They’ve Taken On
You have to take tenure out of the equation to an extent. You can’t just be satisfied with an employee because they’ve shown up and worked for the last several years. Evaluate them to see how they’ve grown over the years as far as taking on new roles and responsibilities, and if you see where they can grow more, challenge them to do so. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
5. See How They Respond To Training Opportunities
Employees who are ready to grow and willing to put in the effort will respond well to training and educational activities. So, to assess whether your existing employees will grow with your business, take a look at how they respond to training opportunities. Also, once they undergo training, find out how well they adapt and whether they have a flexible mindset. This is an important way to ensure that you are working with people who are willing to grow over the long term. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
6. Analyze Who’s Moved Up And Who Hasn’t
It’s common to change your job position at least once if you’ve been working with one company for a long time. An ambitious employee will often be upwardly mobile, whereas other employees might acquire skills over time that make them more useful in other positions. Do you have an employee who’s been with your company for a long time and remained in a low or mid-level position? This can sometimes be an indicator that they aren’t willing or able to grow with your company. – Bryce Welker, Beat The CPA
7. Send Out Regular Surveys
To assess employee growth and ensure everyone is growing alongside the company, you can send out regular surveys to see how your team is handling changes. Depending on their department and tasks, you can even personalize the surveys to ask relevant questions using a conversational survey. Conversational surveys ask questions based on the previous answers and operate more like a conversation between two people. That way, it’s easier to receive the most honest, straightforward answers. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
8. Hold Performance Reviews
As your business continues to grow, you should make sure your employees do too. Set up times for a 1-on-1 with each employee, even if it’s just once a year, to help them assess their current role and what they want out of their career. Create a plan with them on how they can achieve those career goals. This might require new responsibilities, continuing education or even department changes. – Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff
9. Create An Accountability Chart
We went through the process of creating an accountability chart versus an organizational chart. The difference is that with an accountability chart you are focused on what responsibilities each person has, and not their title. We discussed each leadership role and whether the person had the skills, the passion and the capacity to handle what was on their plate, and then shifted some responsibilities accordingly. This process is great to do every couple of years as the company evolves and leadership roles change with it. – Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.
10. Discuss Everyone’s Goal Progress
Change in any organization is inevitable, and it should be welcomed too. From time to time, it’s important to bring your team together and discuss where everyone is regarding their goals in the company. I think that doing a session on rediscovering core company values and the values of your employees will help you assess if everyone is on the same page. To help facilitate this, try working with Simon Sinek’s books Start With Why and Find Your Why. They have powerful and practical information to help you grow your entire company in the same direction. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner