3 Tips – Guarantee your Talent Performance & Succession Management

Mixed race woman climbing ladder in clouds

“In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product and profits. Unless you’ve got a good team, you can’t do much with the other two.”

~ Lee Iacocca ~

Dylan is responsible for the succession management of his large company. “Sometimes the results have been frustrating,” Dylan says.  “We plan. We prepare them. We check the past performance of our top employees.

“And still, when they step into that leadership role, sometimes the ramp-up takes far too long.  Sometimes they are less than what we expected.”

Dylan decided to use more quantifiable tools to help him gauge the talent performance of those within his succession program.  “I thought if I could learn some triggers or some key performance measures beyond the standard reviews and recommendations, maybe we could do better.”

Dylan’s goal was to increase the success of those stepping into management roles.

1. Personality.  Dylan determined that personality plays a key role in predicting the success of promotions. “Of course other factors are important,” Dylan said. “But all things being equal, personality matters.”

It wasn’t just that Dylan wanted hard-chargers at the top.  But when he understood the personality of the candidates in the succession management, he had a better feel where to place them.  Some departments would respond better to a consensus builder and cheerleader.  Others required a firm take-charge attitude.

To check this out, Dylan explored tools like the traditional Myers-Briggs interest inventory as well as newer personality assessments with labels of colors and gems.  He found many of them gave the broad-brush assessment he needed.

“For example,” Dylan said. “My R&D department needed someone who was patient with the facts and science and yet willing to encourage and be open to exploration.  The past leader really pushed for results and was impatient with explanations—excuses, he called them.  It didn’t bring out the best in my scientists.”

2. Skill Sets.  Dylan worked to find tools that could accurately assess the skill sets of the rising talent.  Of course past performance was measured.  But often new skill sets were needed for the future job.

Dylan had current leaders assess the skills needed for their jobs.  Then he found ways to measure the abilities of those selected for succession. He sometimes gave them a project that called for these skills.

On key abilities, Dylan asked a co-worker or mentor to evaluate the worker for several weeks. He asked them to look specifically for that talent or skill, and assess the employee’s mastery of it.

When there was a gap between need and skill set, Dylan worked to train the employee in that area before the promotion and the need to have that skill arrived.

3. Drive.  In the past, management had gathered to discuss who they felt should be part of the succession plan.  “I know this is important,” Dylan said. “But I thought we needed to add another element.” Dylan wanted those interested to “raise their hands.”

“I wanted those motivated enough to step up and say, ‘Pick me,'” Dylan said. “I think that extra measure of confidence, initiative, and drive matters.”

In the review process, they added a series of questions.

  • Where do you hope to be 2 years from now?
  • What steps do you plan to take to get there?
  • What is your next step right now?

As Dylan implemented these tools in his succession management, he saw the talent performance of the newly promoted rise. “I’ve been very pleased with the results,” Dylan said. “I think matching personalities, analyzing skill sets, and assessing drive has helped us step up our promotions.  At this point, I feel very comfortable with our succession plan.”

Do you want to make sure your talent performs up to expectations when placed in your succession management?  If so, contact Joel for assessment and coaching.

Talkback: What extra steps have you taken to see that your top talent is properly prepared for the succession slot they are expected to fill?

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5 Tips for Recruiting & Retaining Managerial Talent

Female Manager

“If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings—and put compensation as a carrier behind it—you almost don’t have to manage them.”

~Jack Welch~

Client Mindy Asks: Our tech company is growing and expanding. We’ve hired some managers in the past, and it hasn’t worked out the way we expected it to. I need to learn how to recruit and retain managerial talent. I want our people to stay with us and produce the results we’re looking for.

Coach Joel Answers: Mindy, you’ve hit on two key points.  When you recruit well, the second issue—retention—becomes much easier. So let’s start with some recruiting tips to ensure that you are recruiting managers who will be more likely to stick around.

1. Determine your needs.  First, it’s absolutely critical that you have a thorough understanding of what you expect from your manager.  You need to know not only the duties he or she will perform, but the intangibles, such as emotional intelligence.  Even if your new hire comes with great technical skills, if they don’t have people skills, vision, and motivation, it will be difficult for them to manage.

So look at your corporate climate.  What social, communication, and team building skills do they need as well? Enthusiasm and motivation can go a long way to ensure the success of the new manager.

2. Advertise broadly.  Your ideal manager may be working within your company.  Or they may be working for your competitor.  Make sure your open position is made known to a wide range of prospects.  Can it be filled by someone just out of college?  Is the market so tight you need to look to pull someone out of retirement?  Don’t lose your best talent by limiting your scope when recruiting managers.

3. Sell yourself. What does your company offer to attract the kind of managers you want to hire? Being transparent about the type of company you are and what you have to offer is the key to retaining the managers you hire. A mismatch results in your managers not hanging around long.

What is there in your brand that will resonate with the recruit? Are you eco-friendly? Consensus building?  Highlight your cross training or the value your company places on its employees.

4. Show them it’s true.  What is there in your recruitment process that illustrates the strengths of the company you’re selling to your new hires?  If you tell them your company values employees, will your prospects find a helpful HR office?  Will they find that your online presence reflects your promises to them?  Is the application process easy and straightforward, or convoluted and full of hoops to jump through?

5. Offer sufficient training.  Once you have your new managers in place, you must provide them with the training they need to do their jobs well and to advance in the company. Retaining managers is easy if you can do these three things:  Keep them happy.  Keep them fulfilled.  Keep them engaged in and with your company.

One way to ensure you retain your managers is by ensuring they have a full range of training to orient them properly. Have a mentor to help them understand the company culture.  Offer frequent feedback where your manager can feel confident he or she is on the right track and he or she feels free to ask questions. Work together to create realistic milestones for integration and achievement.

Recruiting and retaining managers are closely linked together.  When you know how to attract your ideal hire, you increase the probability you will keep your manager for a long time.  However it’s important to continue training, support, and open communication on an ongoing basis.

Are you looking for ways your company can recruit and keep excellent managers? Contact Joel for insights you might be missing.

Talkback: What has been one of the most important factors you’ve seen as you recruit and retain your top talent?

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Use Talent Management Articles to
Super-charge Your Company’s Human Resources

talent management

“If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings—and put compensation as a carrier behind it—you almost don’t have to manage them.”

~ Jack Welch~

Carlos oversees the human resources department for an expanding oil company. As part his goal to educate and improve abilities of HR and the staff to manage human capital, he decided to find and share great articles. “I wanted a resource that would be of value for our employees and managers,” Carlos said.

“I wanted our people to understand that they could have more control over their advancement,” Carlos said. “It’s not just HR that controls talent management, leaders and workers have a say, too.”

Carlos researched talent management articles for human resources he could draw on for information to share. “Often I’ll ask the writer of a great article if I can repost it for my people,” Carlos said. “I know it’s unethical to just lift it from the web without permission.” Even without permission, however, it is acceptable to quote excerpts and provide a link back to the original article.

Great talent management articles can offer education and value nearly equivalent to semesters of coursework. Carlos looked for articles with depth and vision.

Ten Ways to Keep Your Star Employees is a great example of the best kind of article for his managers. “It fit right in with both empowering employees and managing talent, Carlos said. “Look at some of the points it covers!”

  • Empowering employees use their own gifts.
  • Discovering tasks your top talent loves to do.
  • Focusing on what workers are doing right in feedback and less on what’s wrong.
  • Communicating effectively so each person- management and staff- understand the task, the company policies, and what’s expected.
  • Helping your employees work smarter, not harder.
  • Offering quality of life enhancements—even when the tough economy doesn’t let you pay them more.
  • Letting employees focus more on what they enjoy.
  • Looking for advancement opportunities for your employees and helping them find those openings within the company for themselves.
  • Coaching and mentoring as a way to increase skills, value to the company, and chances for advancement.

Carlos also found cost effective ways to improve employee morale with this article: How Managers Can Improve Their Workplaces for Employees. The article covered the value of:

  • Keeping lines of communication open so employees feel their comments matter.
  • Adjusting work schedules with flex-time and other ways to keep talent that might otherwise leave the workforce.
  • Recognizing accomplishments—which have been show to add satisfaction to workers.
  • Developing programs and plans for workers to increase their skill levels. This increases the talent pool and makes the job of human resources easier.

“As I looked at talent management articles, some were particularly appropriate from a human resources perspective,” Carlos said. “3 Reasons to Invest in Leadership Development added to my understanding of the value of outside coaching in ways I hadn’t considered.” It said:

  • Coaching and training is cheaper than bringing on new recruits. The cost of training them and bringing them up to speed is much higher than training or coaching current employees.
  • Outside coaching relieves a burden on managers and allows managers to focus on their company job. Plus, you have an expert trainer teaching your employees, instead of a manager whose skills lie in a different direction.
  • Talent development benefits both the company and the employees. The company creates a succession plan of rising leaders and keeps proprietary information within the company. Staff knows they are valued and appropriately challenged.

“I found great value in reading talent management articles to help me with my company’s human resources,” Carlos said. “It also gave me insights into breaking news and new ways of using traditional strategies.” Carlos likes the fast learning that comes from articles and plans to continue mining top articles for more valuable information to help him retain his company’s top talent.

If you’re looking for articles on leadership, management, and work issues, visit Joel’s website. For assistance building your company’s human resources, contact Joel.

Talkback: Have you read a great article? Let us know so we can all enjoy it.

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What’s It Worth to You?

Valuing Human Capital

“The biggest tragedy in America is not the waste of natural resources, though this is tragic. The biggest tragedy is the waste of human resources.”

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes ~

Patrick is facing a major challenge. As the HR director of a mid-sized manufacturing company, the recession has hit him hard. Attrition is high and hard to rein in. Management is pressuring him to make some major policy changes in the way the company manages and retains talent. But he doesn’t even know where to start.

According to estimates, the service sector is witnessing an attrition rate of 40 per cent, pharmaceuticals about 30-35 per cent and manufacturing more than 20 per cent.

Do you identify with Patrick’s dilemma? How is your company dealing with the recession? Are you compromising on talent? Do you have enough leaders to fuel future growth?

After some research into best practices being implemented by other companies, Patrick developed a three-point strategy to discuss with his CEO:

• Generate recruiting excitement
• Emphasize accountability and rewards
• Create a supportive workplace

1. Generate recruiting excitement. Attracting and retaining key talent takes creativity. In an economic downturn, too many companies are focused on putting out fires and struggling to stay afloat. Instead of buying into the struggle, Patrick focused his energy on rebranding the company’s image by revamping its attitude. He instituted company-wide “conversations” with both internal managers and outside advisors and coaches. He asked his C-level managers to commit to a policy of transparency, sharing openly about where the company stood and where it was headed. Soon people were talking about the company’s possibilities rather than its problems. They were telling their friends that the company was a great place to work.

2. Emphasize accountability and rewards. People need a reasonable level of autonomy and responsibility in order to feel challenged. And with autonomy comes accountability, which leads to rewards. Patrick knew that monetary rewards would be slim in the still-recovering economy so he asked a team of employees to come up with a list of non-monetary rewards. Their recommendations included more public recognition for ideas and accomplishments, as well as small incentives such as extra vacation days and gift certificates to local restaurants.

3. Create a supportive workplace. Patrick recommended that the company focus intensely on creating a work-life balance culture. After agreeing on core working hours, employees were encouraged to set their own schedules. He set aside space in the building for quiet rooms where employees could read, meditate, or even nap during breaks. He set up a cafeteria-style training and development program where employees could choose from a variety of online courses, off-site seminars, and in-house trainings. He set up a quarterly all-hands meeting that featured motivational speakers on a variety of topics.

A study published in CMA Management indicates a strong correlation between the valuing of human capital and creating shareholder value, both short and long term. Over a five-year period, the study showed total return to shareholders was nearly twice as much for high-valuing companies (103%) as for low-valuing companies (53%). What’s it worth to you? Lower turnover, higher productivity and results that show on the bottom line.

If you would like to discuss possibilities for valuing human capital in your company, contact Joel today for some suggestions.

Talkback: Have you tried shifting your company’s internal culture in a way that worked? Share your experiences here.

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