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If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably looked at your calendar at some point in the last few days and thought to yourself, “How are we already nearly 4 weeks into 2017?” It’s a question that is even more perplexing because you just caught yourself writing 2016 on a document yesterday.

You’ll get it right by sometime in March. Hopefully.

No matter how your brain may be lagging behind on the actual date, though, the reality is impossible to ignore… the holidays are over, your employees are starting to get back into a regular work routine, and it’s time for you to start picking up momentum.

I have a suggestion for just how you can do that!

Far too often, I’ve noticed that hiring managers have a way of reacting to unexpected job openings instead of planning for future positions. This is only natural; of course the VP who just gave his notice is going to warrant prioritizing over the possibility that someone in accounting might do the same. You work to fill the positions you have open now, not to plan for filling the positions you might have open 6 months from now.

But what if you could do both? What if you could begin to plan ahead, rather than simply reacting in the moment?

The truth is, most companies already have a powerhouse of talent within their ranks. And with a little planning, they could begin to establish their leaders of tomorrow… making those unexpected openings a little less stressful to fill.

One of the best ways you can bring your company to the next level of success is by utilizing the resources you already have. Now is the time to take stock of your current employee roster and to identify the rock stars you already have on your team who are worth nurturing into higher positions. Who can you see leading the company 5 years from now? How about 10? Who should you be preparing to step into their supervisor’s shoes? And who should you be mentoring into a future role?

Promoting from within is one of the best ways to cultivate employee loyalty, reducing turnover in the process. This can come in the form of providing tuition reimbursement, hosting certification courses, and linking up current employees with members of your leadership team who might serve as excellent mentors.

Yes, the unexpected openings with immediate fill needs will always have to be at the top of your priority list. And even when you are promoting from within, you will still find yourself with vacancies that need to be filled. But spending some time this year focusing on how you can build up a reserve of employees ready to make the next step on their career ladder will lessen the urgency of needing to fill those higher up positions. It will garner employee loyalty. And it will ensure you always have a team of people keenly aware of how your company works, ready to assist in leading that company to success.

It’s a new year with new opportunities, and perhaps the biggest opportunity available to you now is the opportunity to recognize the resources already working within your company; and to figure out how to best utilize them for the future.

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