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How to Send Your Young Professionals to Your Competitors

2019 was a stellar year for The Smith Consulting Group and a number of candidates that we placed in the 3-8 year experience range made changes for a surprising reason. They didn't leave because they were unhappy with the work or the culture or their coworkers; they left because someone else made a more compelling argument that they would provide better mentoring and career development.

I just read a great article touting some high-profile famous people who read an hour a day, the so-called "5-hour Rule". Highly successful people such as Warren Buffet, former President Obama and Bill Gates all are voracious readers. Bill Gates reads a book a week. The article went on to quote Buffet's long-time friend and business partner, Charlie Munger, “In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none. Zero.” In this day and age, even the so-called "non-readers" can download audio books that can be can absorbed while you are commuting into work, running on the treadmill at the gym, walking your dog, or even eating lunch.

We are all in control of our own professional development. To blame someone for not getting what you need would be disingenuous at best considering that we all have access to more information at our fingertips than at any other time in history. It still begs the question: why do some firms place an emphasis on professional development and others do not? Some of the candidates we spoke with had no formal mentoring program, were not encouraged to become active in professional associations and felt there was no real career track or advancement path for which to strive. Many said they were so busy "making the donuts" and it was just not a priority with the leadership of the firms in which they worked.

Here comes my sage advice:

  1. No one is going to take care of your career like you can and should do for yourself. If you don't have a mentor, seek one out. If your firm doesn't support joining a professional association, join one, pay for it yourself and consider it an investment in your future.

  2. No one is going to take better care of your employees than you can unless you let them. If you don't have a mentoring program or a defined career development program, get one. Encourage and support your staff to join and become active in professional associations. If not, you may just be teeing up your young professionals to go work for your competitors.


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