Continuing with the Council’s topic of the month, Managing Operations Talent, this week I want to focus on the importance of developing employees – in particular, high performers who have the potential to grow to the management level within Operations.

Given the volatility we’ve seen in the industry over the last couple of years, we’ve found that many Operations employees have become increasingly concerned about their careers.  Across financial services, growth has slowed tremendously and opportunities for career paths aren’t as clear as they once were.  One issue which compounds this problem is a far-too-common practice of promoting staff based solely on technical expertise or years of work experience in a siloed business area. This tends to lead to managers who are highly skilled in technical competencies or in a specific area, but who don’t have the breadth and ability to work and manage across other groups of Operations.

That’s why we like a best practice from an institution we call Lewis FinancialAt many organizations, employees start their careers within a certain Operations group and work their way up the ladder with limited insight into how they can progress their careers and explore opportunities with other units.  Lewis, recognizing the pitfalls of this approach, develops a career pathing model that exposes employees to various process areas in Operations as they progress from entry-level roles to managerial ranks, and then enables employees to move through different business areas, which they call “job families”, as they progress through vertical ranks.