Talent management 2011: Perception means everything
Yet, when we go under the cover of this external perception of quality talent, we find that most organizations are struggling internally with the challenge of promoting cost reductions while at the same time ensuring they continue to be attractive to highly talented individuals. This is especially challenging since today’s workers are knowledge workers.
To remain competitive, today’s organizations need to recruit and retain highly qualified workers that have the ability to not only provide technical knowledge but also be adaptable to change. This also means that organizations need to get to know more about their employees than simply their name and address.
Start by doing skills assessments of each and every individual. You will be pleasantly surprised to find the number of hidden skill sets that exist in your organization. For instance, you might note that a factory floor worker with a defined job in your organization acts as a volunteer treasurer of a $1 million church fund. This person probably has other unexplored skills that could be applied to your organization. I have seen this countless times and encourage you to look at skills rather than job titles.
Next, conduct an audit of your current and future skill needs. Assess whether or not these skills are available internally, and/or if they can be acquired through training and development and/or special assignments. Prepare a training and development framework and implement your plan over the next few years.
Examine the strength of your leadership team. To ensure consistency of leadership philosophy and culture building, implement a program such as Results Centred Leadership which is delivered once every three weeks over a longer period of time. This program ensures that goals and objectives apply directly to the organization and are monitored through personal coaching.
Plan your recruitment strategy to include filling specific skill gaps but also focus on the importance of organizational culture fit. It doesn’t matter how talented the candidates are, if they don’t fit the culture, they will not be successful. At the same time, take time to identify at least one person for every job that would have the capability to move into specific jobs should it be required. Having a replacement planning and succession map will make sure you are always prepared.
Engage your senior leadership teams in team building and then cascade this strategy throughout your organization. Teamwork will be key to success. Start by conducting a communication and personality style assessment to determine each person’s strengths and areas of challenge. Share this information with the teams and conduct training on how to work with each person’s strengths. When adding new people to the team, seek out people who have strengths in the weak areas of challenge to assist newcomers.
Another strategy that few organizations utilize is the application of career planning. While many leaders feel this type of training encourages people to leave an organization, my view is that it helps people to fully understand who they are, what they are good at and what they want to be doing now and in the future. Those who best understand themselves can envision how they can contribute to your organization and will do so. Of course, there will be some that realize they don’t fit and they will leave for other opportunities. The result is a highly qualified team, an energetic and well functioning team, high team spirit, and excellent customer service. This alone will attract more highly talented individuals and will help to build your success brand.
Perception means everything and the way to manage this is to learn as much as you can about your employees, build up their skill sets, plan for succession and recruit additional talent to your organization.
About the author
Paul Croteau is Managing Partner of Legacy Bowes Group, Manitoba’s leading Talent Management Solution. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org://www.paulcroteau.com
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