With baseball season in full swing, rosters have been set, and some teams are making strides towards being the frontrunners for their divisions. The core of these teams is the talent on the rosters that they’ve assembled. These teams are oftentimes comprised of all-stars, role players, developmental prospects and some players that are just filling roster space.
As is the case with baseball teams (unless you’re Billy Beane), it’s a common practice for a company to invest their resources heavily in incentives for the All-Stars on their business units. This is important as it can be especially damaging if you lose one of these employees to a competitor. Nothing can be worse than losing the talent and knowledge that has been built during their tenure with your organization.
Continuing with the analogy, companies will also spend a lot of time and money training their developmental prospects, or younger employees. They’ll also put some money into developing their role players in the hopes that they turn to all-stars, but oftentimes massive changes in the work output is not seen. As I discussed in my previous post, Training: Invest Wisely, it’s important to invest your training budget in an intelligent way. Investing in employees that will turn the training into added profits and productivity would definitely fit in this category.
The last group are the players that are just filling roster space. There are employees like this in every organization and it’s on the management team to either shift these employees into productive team members or cut their losses.
So with the knowledge that there are different talent levels on each team, what should a manager do with each of these groups?
- All-StarsManagement should do what they can within reason to hold on to these team members. They are the lifeblood of the organization, and they are often self-motivated employees who generate results and increase revenues for the organization. Especially in IT, these employees are often incredibly experienced or especially talented in their organization, and they are the hardest people to replace.
- Role PlayersThis group is a necessary part of any team as they can take on many different tasks. While they may not be at the same level as the all-stars, their roles should be focused on their core strengths and an organization should work to provide additional training and resources to keep them happy. These employees will be consistent in their production and pair really well with the all-stars on teams.
- Developmental ProspectsThese are the employees that are oftentimes described as being “green.” They are typically fresh out of college and looking to get their foot in the door with the organization. These can be interns or other employees that are eager to gain the knowledge to be successful in the field. These employees don’t always work out, but they are a complete wildcard in the sense that they can become any of the other three types of employees. Management should pair them with all-stars for mentoring, so they can see the best in action.
- Roster FillersThese employees are oftentimes the most dangerous to keep around. If a team member isn’t pulling their weight, they can bring the morale of the entire team down. It’s important to identify when any of your team members fall into this category, so you can make a decision as to whether it is worth it to invest additional time and resources into pushing them into a higher tier or if it time to cut them lose. Getting rid of team members is never an easy option, but sometimes a toxic attitude can poison an entire team.
Talent development is difficult, and identifying where each of your employees fall can be a bit of a tricky process. In IT, as is the case in any business unit, there sometimes are specialists that are difficult to peg into any of these roles. Deciding where your team members sit on this spectrum should assist you in deciding how to allocate resources and training.
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