Recently, Markon CEO Matt Dean and I presented at a recent session on executive compensation and retention strategies, “Attracting and Retaining Key Employees.” In this blog post, I would like to highlight some key takeaways from this presentation.
On November 1, 2017, Markon reached our 10-year anniversary. Over this timespan, we’ve enjoyed year over year, profitable revenue growth. A significant enabler of this growth has been the retention of our key employees and leaders. By leaders, we are referring to not only our L1 & L2 (President and Vice Presidents), but our L3 Directors and emerging leaders as well.
Many firms in the government contracting space bring on ‘blue chip’ strategic hires with significant experience in the consulting field, a resume of top notch firms, and/or degrees from brand named schools. This is a good strategy that works for many. At Markon, we view this as a large investment that may not always pay off. Instead, we choose to develop our own leaders. While we are not altogether opposed to the idea of a strategic hire, at this time, our entire team of 15 Directors and above are all “home grown.” Not one has been hired above the title of Senior Associate, regardless of their experience or educational pedigree.
Many of our leaders who arrived at the firm with minimal leadership experience are now responsible for teams ranging from 20-50 people. They are successfully delivering to our key clients and have embraced and overcome many challenges. Additionally, other up and coming Markon employees remain motivated by the opportunity to become yet another home grown Markon leader. Our growth continues to expand the opportunities for these rising leaders.
Five years ago during a leadership offsite, the initiative was incubated to establish a leadership development program (LDP). That idea has blossomed into a robust and enduring program for Markon with tangible impact; retention among LDP alumni is 85%. Among our leadership team, all but one are either LDP alumni or facilitators, and average tenure in the group is 7 years – in a 10 year old firm! By any measure, the LDP has been a big success and we look forward to continuing to provide this opportunity at Markon.
Based on our leadership team’s feedback we are going to offer an ‘external LDP’ for firms like ours that would like to get the most our of their L3. We would love to assist other firms take advantage of their own home grown talent and reap the benefits of their investment in their employees.
Let us know your thoughts.
About the Author
Steve leads client delivery and portfolio growth at the Departments of Defense and Veteran’s Affairs (VA). He is accountable for the team’s professional growth and development, client satisfaction, and the portfolio’s success. He has served clients across the Intelligence Community, DoD, federal civilian, and commercial healthcare markets. With a passion for developing the next generation of leaders, Steve co-developed and facilitates Markon’s Leadership Development Program.
Prior to Markon, Steve supported clients for PwC, West Hudson/Cardinal Health, and several highly regarded management consulting firms. He received his MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and a BA from Louisiana State University, where he was commissioned through Air Force ROTC. Steve's military career includes service as an active duty Air Force Air Battle Manager, during which he flew missions in Desert Storm. He retired as a Colonel from the Air Force Reserves.
Steve currently holds the Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential and is a certified Myers-Briggs practitioner.
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