Do you have upward mobility in your organization? Most people want to do their job well and learn from their experience so that they can move ahead in the company. The question is whether you have such a climate in your company for someone to get ahead, or do they have to leave and go somewhere else to advance their career?
Most large, well-run organizations have a formal career path that is well laid out by HR. Those people who have advancement potential are given new tasks to broaden themselves with progressively increased responsibility. This path can be in a management position or a senior technical position. This is called the dual ladder concept.
In many small to midsize companies, employees have to fend for themselves and find a way to advance on their own and there is no helping hand to guide them. They learn as much as they can and go elsewhere to get to the next rung in the ladder. This is indeed unfortunate as the company has lost the investment they made in that person often because they are simply looking if that person is paying for themselves instead of how much more they could do for the company with guidance. Planning for personal growth does not happen by accident, it takes a dedicated effort and involves a well-orchestrated approach including a variety of issues from: funding and resources, to training and continuing education, mentoring and cross training, providing financial incentives and perks, chemistry and organizational issues, building bench strength and hiring trainees, just to name a few.
Well-managed companies devote 20% or more of their time to figuring out how they will improve their various tiers in the organization. Those that do not do this find themselves continuing to lose their best people to the competition. Succession planning is a never-ending process and no one keeps, or wants to retain all of their people as one wants new ideas to be coming through. The more dynamic a company and the more competitive the environment they are in the more effort they need to devote to this process.