According to a recent study, 87 percent of employers rank employee retention as a top priority for their business. This statistic comes as no surprise considering the cost to replace an employee now stands anywhere from 16 to 213 percent of the base salary. To combat this issue, today’s employers are looking for effective ways to improve retention company-wide.

Some employers are increasing salaries and benefits with the hopes of enticing their employees to stay longer. A recent Gallup poll, however, shows that a higher salary is not the only motivator your employees need. In fact, according to this poll, the number one thing that employees want is career growth and promotional opportunities.

Unfortunately, it’s just not possible to promote every great employee you have. So, businesses must find a way to identify those high-quality employees that have leadership potential and work with these employees to provide career growth opportunities. Here are some tips to help you identify potential leaders in your workforce.

Skills and Experience

Certainly, you want to promote employees who have the necessary skills and talents to perform the leadership role. Consider the employee’s previous work experience, whether at your company or a former employer. Also, consider any specialized training, certifications, and degrees the employee has earned over the years. The data can give you a better look at the employee’s current skills and experience.

Anyone, however, can look good on paper. Just because an employee has the right experience and training doesn’t necessarily mean that they can transition these skills into a leadership role.

Job Simulations can help you assess vital leadership skills, such as problem solving and multitasking. A simulation assessment also allows candidates to audition for a demanding, fast-paced work environment.

Past Performance

You’ve probably heard the phrase that “the best predictor of future performance is past performance.” While this statement doesn’t always hold true, you can’t overlook your employee’s past performance record. When considering an employee for leadership be sure to analyze various employee performance reviews, attendance records, and any special recognition or awards.

Employee performance reviews can be very subjective.

It’s important to keep in mind when reviewing these records that some of these measurements, especially employee performance reviews, can be very subjective. The results may be based more on the evaluator’s personal opinion of the employee rather than actual performance levels. While these records can provide some valuable information about an employee, you should never solely rely on these types of documents when making promotion decisions.

Leadership Qualities

If leadership success could be based solely on experience and past performance, identifying employees with leadership potential would be quite easy. But this is not the case. Past performance does not necessarily equate to leadership. A different skill set is needed for leadership, and not everyone has them, nor are these skills easy to teach.

This skill set includes soft skills, such as communication, motivation, integrity, time management, adaptability, and dependability. To make matters worse, it can be challenging to assess these types of soft skills just by reviewing past performance records and resumes. The best way to evaluate these types of leadership skills is with employee assessment testing. These assessments provide data-based, unbiased results that can help you determine your employee’s future leadership potential before offering a promotion.

Don’t risk losing your best employees to the competition. Instead, develop a program using these tips to help identify those employees with true leadership potential.

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