Member Cathilea Robinett Speaks: Getting Personal? Go Professional

The Challenge:

The situation at hand was brought by a business leader who was experiencing a challenge with a long-standing employee. They were seeking insight into next steps to maximize value for both the employee and the organization.

If you were in this situation, what would you do?

It's easy to forget that everyone, regardless of seniority or experience, needs a roadmap to stay on a meaningful and rewarding path. If I were in your shoes, I would establish a professional development program with a performance evaluation structure and a compensation framework to accompany it. Yes, one might call that basic. But it’s amazing how often companies neglect to maintain this process for their employees, especially the veteran team members.

Repetition and consistency have been key for me: every year, every employee receives a review and sets goals that are tracked and discussed in regular check-ins as the year progresses. This grounds the employer-employee relationship in real data with measurable performance. When it comes to compensation, it can be risky to assume the “free market” has everyone at their appropriate compensation levels. Some managers will advocate for their team members well, while others may not. Therefore, it’s important to me that we do annual market salary reviews. Knowing what my employees’ skills are worth on the market is invaluable insight and helps create fair and effective compensation discussions. For my employees that have topped out their base salary, there are always bonus incentive plans that can further stimulate above-and-beyond performance. Financial incentives for achieving longer-term goals should be designed to reward the value created, as well as the retention demonstrated by the employee.

In my experience, I’ve found that the benefits of a solid professional development program include strengthened long-term employee engagement and stronger alignment in the business. Growth is an ongoing, career-long journey for everyone. Best of luck!