During the course of my executive recruitment work, I have had the opportunity to observe and review a large number of corporate security organizations globally. There are two typical scenarios that occur more often than not:  1) The individual leaving due to retirement or career advancement feels certain their “Number 2” is the person their current organization will choose to lead the program upon their departure, and their company has a very different view; or 2) There is no talent development structure in place at their enterprise, so the role is filled with an experienced, externally-sourced candidate.

One of the best legacies you can offer your current employer is to develop a sustainable program now that results in external talent replacements only selectively in the future. Following are several actions you can take to help build and improve your staff development process:

  • Assess your team’s professional and soft skills. As you think through your staff development process, it’s critical to do an internal assessment of your department, where it fits into the corporation now and what to plan for in the future.

  • Take advantage of or create opportunities for staff to interact with senior management.  Give your team members the opportunity to interact with and observe processes at more senior levels.

  • Encourage cross-functional project participation or assignments.  It is also important to facilitate integration across the whole organization and culture so your staff feel like they are an integral part of the corporation and not just the security function.

  • Make use of internal training. As a security leader, look within your organization for opportunities to send your staff to internal training. Human Resource departments often offer a wide variety of development programs.

  • Consider external growth and development programs where possible. There are many external programs that deal in managing personal growth. In these programs your staff members will complete self-assessments that can help management identify gaps in skills, understanding and perception of responsibilities.

  • Don’t neglect international employees. It is important for corporate functions to identify emerging talent internationally and to take an opportunity to develop those individuals. Bringing field staff to the corporate home country even for a short while will help to ensure they feel both wanted and needed and demonstrates they do not need to jump to another company in order to develop and advance their career.

Many of these steps don’t require any investment beyond some thought and time. The return on this small investment can be a lasting legacy for you and offer continued growth and profitability for your department, organization and team members.