Building a successful loss prevention career has always been predicated on the commitment to professional growth and development. Working in a business as dynamic as retail, it is essential that we remain flexible in our methods and progressive in our approach to a global retail market. As the business moves forward change comes quickly, and our skills and abilities must evolve to meet the needs and expectations of a new professional standard.
But true growth must be built on a solid foundation. Especially when we consider the pace of change, we find that success is largely based on the refinement of the fundamental principles that anchor our skills and our decision making. By expanding on our foundation of knowledge, we give ourselves a stronger and more stable base to build upon. We reinforce our futures by broadening our opportunities.
Leaders open doors for their team members; they don’t fight to keep them caged. If a member of your team has the ability to take your place, you should help get them there. If their interests and passions fall in some other aspect of the business, you should help them get there as well. If their abilities and aspirations are otherwise limited, that’s fine too—as long as you’ve taken steps to help them reach their fullest potential and they remain an effective part of your team.
Encouraging opportunity is an important element of effective leadership. Most loss prevention associates enjoy (or at least appreciate) leaders who can help make them better and can help them to move forward. Most individuals want to be given the opportunity to do a good job, contribute to the team, and be recognized for a job well done. The effort and enthusiasm, the trust and loyalty will be rewarded with greater productivity and will create a spokesperson for your entire program.
The ability to evaluate talent is a key element in any succession planning program. Properly assessing the pool of talent and matching those talents with the future needs of the organization cannot be understated. Not having the right talent in place greatly impacts our growth and productivity, and limits our departmental and business potential. Effective succession management is a vital resource in steering the strategic direction of an organization by helping to find, assess, monitor and develop the professionals necessary to drive the future of the company.
While talent assessment is typically not a transparent process (individuals who have been designated as high potential are seldom directly told of this designation to avoid raising expectations), most employees receive feedback about their developmental needs as well as suggested activities for further growth in their loss prevention career. Best practices emphasize the importance of specific, individualized plans for each employee to include coaching, training programs, special assignments and online loss prevention courses. Individual plans emphasize those developmental activities that are best suited for the employee, making the process simpler and more efficient to implement, monitor and adjust when necessary.
Long term retention never hinges solely on money, and there are a variety of factors that come into play when making such decisions. The working environment, how much we enjoy our jobs, how challenged we feel, the opportunities that are available and our personal and professional quality of life will all influence our decision making as well. The most important factor in succession management is to successfully match the current and future needs of the organization with the talents and aspirations of the individuals on your team.
The best way to keep talented people in LP jobs (or any jobs) is to provide them with viable growth opportunities that keep them challenged and focused, stretching their potential and keeping them moving in a positive and productive direction. Understanding the developmental needs of your employees, discussing their career paths, focusing available resources on the right programs staying aware of potential growth opportunities and communicating effectively with your team will pay big dividends in the long run. They will appreciate the time, attention and energy that you are investing in them and help you develop and maintain a superior staff.