Factor Number Thirteen: The Talent Management Challenge
54% of executives say that hiring and developing appropriate talent is imperative in order to advance their business strategy. An effective business strategy comes from analyzing the market, what clients want and need, and a present analysis of how you stack up with your offering, your story to the market, how you access the market, your ability to sell and serve, and your analysis of competition. Recently, we asked over 500 executives what human capital issues their company is most concerned about, and leadership development was rated number one (34.9%). Why? Because leaders have to execute the business strategy through their talent. Once thought out and planned, your team has to have the capacity to execute it. If you don’t have the capacity, leaders will have a tough time making any strategy work.
As well, the increased competition for talent is causing firms to focus on creating ways to keep staff motivated, engaged, keep morale high, get highly paid talent producing, improving their productivity, and creating a continuous learning environment. This is, of course, possible. The world has changed so it takes a simple and clear talent management strategy that fits today’s employees.
Current reality: As always, employees want a chance to move up the ladder, fair pay for performance, interesting work, challenge and a feeling they are doing something important. What is different is the way management addressed motivation in the past doesn’t work as well today. Ambiguity, keeping staff in the dark about where they fit in the organization, not talking in an encouraging way about their possibilities, not involving them in decision making and innovation projects, weak interpersonal skills of the managers, not clearly defining expectations, not using good personal supervisory and management skills, keeping poor performers around too long but expecting everyone else to produce, poor delegation and not giving enough thought as to how work assignments can build people and communicating it that way, not giving enough feedback, not using outplacement systems – are rarely tolerated by today’s modern employee. They’re all looking around and are quick to leave.
It’s imperative when you’re hiring that you screen out those who don’t like the demands and expectations of the job, and you find those who have the drive, energy and ambition and not just intellectual capabilities and technical skill. All the while there is a scarcity of talent and the millennials will be dominating the workforce. They demand to be in a motivational environment and to continually improve. Also every new hire expects high wages. If you have to pay more you need to focus on getting the most productivity you can out of your highly paid team. And if you’re attracting the best, your retention and talent management strategies better be thought out and executed as well as your market strategies or the best ones will leave.
The talent management strategies could include: using paraprofessionals, improving productivity, rapid skill building, people management skills, increasing the value of your offering to your team, coaching, training and mentoring. Most companies talk about these strategies but rarely act upon them. What’s new, as we see in our research, is the pressure to fully implement them. Those who rethink their strategies and act will not only win more business and grow share but constantly improve their capacity to reach higher goals.
Here are three possible actions from our research:
1. Strive to be a desirable workplace – improve benefits, motivation and morale, supply coaching. Select your key performers and make sure they know they are key players.
2. Provide a training and development plan for everyone, especially key performers. Don’t allow them to coast on their past merits. Create an environment of continuous learning. 52% of our respondents indicated they were planning to be continually investing in their employees’ development and/or were going to increase funding in 2016. Hire outside trainers/coaches for strategic and “soft” skills and appoint inside trainers for technical skills. 53% of executives prefer instructor lead experiential training (make them develop habits), followed by coaching (working out the kinks and bringing out the best talents of each employee). Have an appointed internal mentor for them – someone to listen, encourage and kick them back out the door to produce. Use training, coaching and mentoring as a strategy to drive hiring and retention strengthens the employee while improving the capacity of the company to grow.
3. 30% of our respondents were moving toward increasing flexibility in work locations and schedules. Allowing for virtual employees, flexible work hours, and improving training improves the employee experience. Attracting and retaining the best talent takes recognition of what matters to employees.
Thriving in today’s economy and world of business takes commitment to strategies that ignite the market and employee.
Next week – the last and most important of the fourteen factors that can prevent growth of a service company.
Have a great week!
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