You might be just starting out on your career path, but that shouldn’t stop you from looking far ahead to your career goals. Unlike most entry-level employees, you might already be imagining yourself in the c-suite, surrounded by high-powered business leaders making important big-picture business decisions. If that’s the case, you need to be positioning yourself at the right company for you, even at this early stage.
Different employers treat employees differently, as you might already know. Some employers couldn’t care less what their workforce wants as long as they remain productive and profitable. Meanwhile, some organizations pay closer attention to the wishes of their workers, striving to support them and elevate them as much as possible. To get where you want to go in your career, you obviously want to find employment with the latter category.
However, insensitive employers often masquerade as caring and compassionate, making the true golden workplaces difficult to find. If you want to accelerate your career and become a business leader fast, here’s what you need to look for in your employer.
A Formal Leadership Development Process
You are likely familiar with the concept of job-hopping, in which you move from employer to employer every couple years to climb the career ladder. While this has been shown to increase earnings and responsibilities faster than staying in one place, that is mostly because indifferent employers find it easier to bring on outside hires than promote from within. It is much more work for you to re-engage in the job hunt every few years, so job-hopping should be something for aspiring leaders to avoid.
That’s why you need to look for employers boasting formal leadership development programs. These programs provide training or resources for employees interested in climbing the career ladder. Through a program like this, you can receive assistance in pursuing advanced business education, so you can reach MBA jobs faster and more affordably. You can usually find an employer’s attitude toward leadership development on their website, or you can talk to the HR department or hiring managers about these benefits.
CEO Commitment to Leadership Development
The CEO him- or herself should be committed to leadership development to encourage the rest of the organization to participate in the cultivation of business leaders from within. You should be able to detect CEO commitment through interviews and articles produced by the CEO as well as reviews of the business published by current and ex-employees. Additionally, you can inquire about CEO feedback to leaders through the hiring manager with whom you have contact.
For example, IBM’s Chair/CEO Ginni Rometty pays close attention to the existing and aspiring leaders within her organization. Through “Chairman Reviews,” she marks their development and holds in follow-ups, to ensure leaders and employees are productive and engaged.
Percentages of Internal Candidates in Leadership Roles
Perhaps a more difficult statistic to dig up, the percentage of internal candidates in leadership roles will tell you, straightforwardly, whether an organization prioritizes promoting from within and is therefore worth your time and effort. Overall, across all employers, 66 percent of positions are filled by external hires and only 26 percent are filled internally. It will be nearly impossible to find a business with 100 percent in this category, but you should be able to do better than the average.
You might be able to find this information online, or you can ask existing employees for such data — but you should be wary of ballpark numbers provided by employers. These could be inaccurate or misleading, so you should try to find the percentage without alerting hiring managers or HR.
Recruitment Rate to Other Companies
Another good number to find is how sought-after an organization’s employees are. Organizations that often have employees poached likely devote more resources to employee training and leadership development, which is exactly what an aspiring leader needs. Plus, job-seeking is tough, but being recruited by another organization can put you in a great position to negotiate for the responsibilities, pay and perks you desire. Usually, an organization will have a reputation for a high recruitment rate, but for specific numbers, you might contact recruitment firms in the industry.
In addition to these attributes, you should also look for businesses that are stable, demonstrating years on-end of high profits and success. You should likely also prioritize employers who offer employees some flexibility in work schedule and/or location, as these are generally a bit more forgiving and supportive of their staff. By looking for the right employer, you can catapult yourself into leadership sooner than you might have imagined, so it is worth spending the time researching and reviewing your options before you agree to just any job.