The question most commonly asked in an interview is whether there is room for growth. The growth potential in a company is the most important consideration for candidates when choosing a job. It beats money and working hours.

Employers are often keen to employ someone who sees themselves growing in the organisation. And employees are keen to grow, Yet, exit interviews reveal that lack of growth is the number one reason why employees leave companies. Why is growth so highly desired and yet so hard to achieve? When employees don’t grow, both parties miss out – the employer doesn’t get increased value and neither does the employee. How can HR practitioners help employees to grow?

Let’s take a closer look.

Employees are looking to HR managers to help them understand how to grow and be promoted in the organisation. HR managers are often too removed from the day-to-day operations at departmental level and have too little insight into the employee’s actual ability and performance to help the employee with any practical advice on how to grow. Here’s a tool that will help HR practitioners and employees get to grips with that elusive thing called growth.

After a year or two in the same position, employees may start thinking about the next step in their career. Chances are they are looking for a promotion and a bit of a salary increase. They might feel stuck because there is nowhere to grow – their manager isn’t leaving anytime soon or the gap is too big. Perhaps the company has a flat organogram with little upward growth potential. Or they’ve applied for several internal positions but you keep being declined. Either way, they feel stuck and they don’t know how to get to the next level. It is quite reasonable to expect growth – they feel they are really good at their job, they’ve been doing it for a while and they feel a pay increase is not warranted.

The problem is that the employee often wants to see the employee’s growth first and will then give them a promotion. The employee wants to see the promotion first because for them that is growth. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation, hence the impasse.

Furthermore, we don’t see growth in the same way. Employees often see growth only in the form of promotion (a vertical movement up the corporate ladder), while the employer often sees growth as the acquisition of new skills, knowledge, ability and responsibility (horizontal growth). Employers want to see their staff take on more responsibility before they promote them. And employees want to be promoted as a means of getting more responsibility. Chicken-and-egg … get it?

Who must give first? The employer or the employee? I say it’s all in the hands of the employee – there is no need to wait for growth when you can leap into action and make your own destiny.

Here is the best model for growth I’ve ever learnt. It was taught to me by David Salyers from Chick-fil-A, a company renowned for their remarkable culture and approach to staff training and development.

The CCCP-model is an easy and fool-proof model for growth. It stands for:
• Competency
• Capacity
• Contribution
• Promotion

First, make sure you are really good at your current job. Work towards being completely competent at your current role. Be great at it.

Then do that job, at that level, in 80% of the time. Figure out how to work smarter and do your job in less time. Your aim is to create 20% extra capacity in your day.

Use that 20% extra time you’ve got to take on more work. Pick something you love doing – something you’re really good at. Make sure you work in your ‘sweet spot’ and that it adds value to your organisation. You are now contributing more than you were hired to do. Well done.

This behaviour will naturally lead to promotion over time. Once promoted, you start at ‘competence’ again.

If you are an employee, we encourage you to try it. If you are an HR practitioner, we encourage you to share this model with the staff. It helps to have everyone on the same page, speaking the same language. The language of growth, development, value and progression.

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