People Helping People
At the core of any professional services business, people are helping people.
Consultants help customers.
Consultants help each other.
Leaders should be helping consultants.
Leaders of professional service businesses need to embrace the fact that if you populate your business with the wrong people, or do not actively develop, reward, and recognize the value of your people, the business will suffer.
So how do you build, grow, and evolve your people in a sustainable, scalable way?
Consider making People Development a core objective for everyone. While experienced consultants may have more insight to share with new consultants, new consultants can be there for their peers. Building a sense of community helps with satisfaction, productivity, and retention levels.
Business and Practice leaders certainly need to be teaching across the organization, at all levels. Formal mentoring and high potential development programs can be used to add structure to People Development, but encouraging informal development is a force multiplier.
Also consider People Development for yet to be hired people. Grooming a virtual bench of people, that are interested in joining your business, can reduce costs and onboarding time. It is also a way to engrain a People Development cultural imperative early. Grooming people outside of the business also provides an opportunity to vet out people that are just looking for their next job, instead of people that are interested in joining your business.
People are not exactly interchangeable, and good ones are hard to replace. So just like customer retention, put as much effort in to building, growing, and evolving your people.
I hope this helps.
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