Business & Talent. Aligned.

How you manage talent spells the difference between success and failure. To gain a competitive edge, leaders must be prepared to address shifting economic, social and demographic trends that impact workforce performance. Stay informed with research, insights and advice from our leading industry experts. The world of work is changing. Is your company ready?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bad attitude! Who, me?

Leading in today’s ever-changing business climate can come with frustrations. Change is constant and often implemented at break-neck speed. As a result, employees who are finding it challenging to adjust and adapt quickly often begin to exhibit negative behaviors. And worst of all, negativity is contagious. It’s important to address as soon as you see signs of it in your workplace.

The signals to look for include criticizing others not present, gossiping, power struggles, lack of teamwork or collaboration, tardiness, absenteeism and even a lack of healthy conflict through withdrawal. People are either unskilled or reluctant to have those difficult but crucial conversations -- critical to a productive environment. When employees are bewildered by change and floundering as they try to cope and adapt -- and in the absence of straightforward methods to deal with growing negativity -- productivity and morale can decline swiftly.

Employees express negativity with statements such as “it will never work,” or whining, sarcasm, or sighing, and even outright complaining. As a leader, the worst thing you can do is to remain silent and permit or tolerate bad attitudes and negative behaviors.

Here are some tips to help you eliminate negativity:

--Start with yourself and check your language and behaviors.
--Persist in showing zero tolerance for negativity.
--When negativity could escalate easily, smile…choose not to react in that moment.
--Stop the cycle of a lack of appreciation.
--Don’t collude with the negative employee - Be careful not to validate or encourage negativity just to make the individual feel better.
--Lead by example. Identify and authentically communicate the positive aspects of the situation.
--Offer recognition when deserved and for specific behaviors and results.
--Ask open-ended questions, listen and help develop solutions.
--Counsel the complainer and challenge negative and pessimistic thinking and beliefs.
--Set expectations. Don’t permit others to complain without first suggesting possible solutions.

As a leader, you are in a strong position to break the cycle. At the end of the day, you can’t please everyone. But you can do your best to educate and inspire those around you. Is your negativity level growing? Do you have the skills and motivation to turn yourself and others around?

If you’re interested to learn more on this topic, Manpower is hosting a webinar on Creating Positivity in the Workplace on September 29.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stretching to new heights

With flatter organizations and leaner resources, we need to make the most of what we have. Often, staff cuts necessitate the assignment of new roles and responsibilities to existing employees. Stretch assignments can be a productive way to develop employees and also meet the business demands you’re expected to deliver on without adding head count.

Research reported in Fast Company revealed that 68% of Emerging Leaders said that stretch assignments had the greatest impact in accelerating their development. For High Potential employees, 57% reported the same.

To make stretch assignments successful for all parties, it’s important to set realistic goals at the outset. Engage employees in discussions to make sure the new projects are aligned with their skills and interests, as well as those needed for the business. And once underway, schedule regular reviews to discuss progress and track results.

Stretch assignments provide numerous benefits, broadening both the individual and the organization to achieve new heights in performance. As Elliott Masie cites in a recent Great Leadership blog: “Unfortunately, organizations do not use stretch assignments often or strategically in their leadership development efforts.” He continues with listing the multitude of benefits, including lower cost development, bonding with the organization which bolsters retention and engagement, and career path exploration for high potentials.

There are also some limitations to factor in. Stretch assignments are custom for each individual and are not a one-size-fits-all initiative. If you want the latter, send your leaders to a workshop. As a leader, you need to be hands-on in actively supporting the assignment and your employee. This includes coaching or mentoring throughout the process and committing resources to provide employees with the experiences that will hone their skills.

Yes, stretch assignments can be complicated. But the return far outweighs the risk when implemented properly.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Take a break...and get a productivity boost

The sad reality is that most of us senior leaders don’t take all of our allotted vacation time each year. And if we do take a break, we remain plugged in to the 24/7 service culture we have helped to create. We remain completely accessible to any and all who want us. As leaders, what we need to understand for ourselves and also impart to our employees is that no one is bigger than the company. If you can’t leave work for a few days or a week, then there is a serious problem that will result in an unsustainable situation.

There are tremendous benefits to taking a break. I’m not going to focus here on the obvious benefits of being refreshed and recharged. I’m talking about the value to your team and your co-workers. Believe it or not, taking a vacation and being out of reach can actually boost productivity. You give your team a break from worrying about all the things you throw in their way when they are trying to get their work done. You also give them the chance to shine and be more visible by stepping up and taking on some of the responsibilities you need covered. It’s also a great way to develop people and expand their experience. But the trick is to not undo all they did while you were out, just because they did it differently.

Still in doubt? Read this terrific article on 10 Reasons to Go on Vacation for further inspiration.

As a senior leader, no one expects these days that you will completely disconnect while you are away. Technology is driving around-the-clock work cultures. The traditional work and play boundaries are blurred. Empower your people by letting them know you are “leaving it in their hands.” Use the opportunity to grow your team.

When is your next vacation planned?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Knowledge is power...before it walks!

According to recent research from the Manpower group of companies, employers and employees are not in sync when it comes to company loyalty in the coming year. Employers may be the ones to pay the price for this disparity when employees – the keepers of their organizational knowledge – walk out the door.

So it’s important to identify critical knowledge and make sure all that information doesn’t sit with just a few key people. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon, especially given reduced workforces. When someone leaves, you run the risk of being left high and dry. Knowledge transfer seeks to organize, create, capture or distribute knowledge and ensure its availability for future users. It's more than just a communication problem. If it was merely that, then a memo, an e-mail or meeting would accomplish the knowledge transfer.

You can approach knowledge retention and transfer strategy from many angles. Some companies carefully document job roles. Some identify employees who have been cross-trained and can fill in when employees leave. Others use succession planning strategies to identify critical positions and key performers who can be developed for leadership roles. All of these are good strategies that should be implemented to ensure a smooth transition when turnover occurs.

The solution lies in creating processes that foster and enable the transfer of knowledge. This starts with identifying the knowledge holders within the organization, motivating them to share, and then designing a sharing mechanism to facilitate the transfer and application of that knoweldge. Common practices include teaming, pairing or shadowing on assingments, mentoring, and literal narrative transfers. For more ideas, review this list of suggested knowledge transfer strategies.

Every phase of the employee life cycle — from the time an employee is recruited and on-boarded to long-term retention and eventually to promotion or exit — presents an opportunity to share knowledge. There are many advantages for employers who are aware of the importance of protecting institutional knowledge. It helps new employees to become productive more quickly. It leverages developmental investments within the organization. And when executed successfully, it can create a competitive edge.

However you approach it, transferring knowledge is a complex workforce management process because knowledge resides within people. The trick is to harness, leverage and share knowledge to not only protect your investments, but elevate strategy execution and enhance business performance.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pushing Philanthropy Beyond Writing Checks

Many companies these days are using their commitment or investment in corporate social responsibility (CSR) to elevate their brand in the minds of their stakeholders and prospects. Any effort in this direction is positive. But sometimes it’s a bit ambiguous how a company’s culture and brand are aligned with their CSR efforts.

It was refreshing to learn how one of our clients, Panera Bread – the bakery-cafĂ© franchise – is doing what they do best in a way that truly demonstrates their brand value, culture and commitment to CSR. They are leveraging their expertise and products to serve the community. In this innovative experiment, they have opened a nonprofit restaurant, which is essentially an eatery where people pay what they can afford.

According to the article which ran in USA Today, Panera’s cashiers tell customers their orders' "suggested" price based on the menu. About 60% to 70% pay in full. About 15% leave a little more and another 15% pay less, or nothing at all. A handful of customers have even left big donations, such as $20 for a cup of coffee.

At Right Management, we partner with Chicago’s Cara Program, a non-profit dedicated to helping poor and homeless individuals prepare for the job market and find permanent employment. We commit our own professional staff, company resources and job hunting expertise to help people get back to work. We do mock job interviews, give individual coaching, help with job hunting on the Internet, and do whatever else may be necessary to help Cara’s students achieve their career goals.

With so many companies jumping on the CSR-bandwagon, it begs the question: how can you really use this commitment and investment by truly adding value? How can you leverage what you do best and align your company’s CRS activities with your brand, culture and expertise?

As some might say: it’s about “eating your own cooking” or “walking the talk". I say it’s about pushing philanthropic efforts to be more than just lip service. Take it to the next level and ensure employees and clients are aware of your efforts and confident that the organization is committed and acting responsibly in the best interests of the community.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Surprise Meeting

You’ve been meeting your numbers. You’re within budget. Your recently trimmed team is focused and flourishing. Then your boss arrives for an impromptu meeting. You’ve been let go!

Anger, shock, denial. All of these reactions rush through your brain. How could this be?

The reality is that it can happen to any of us at any time. A change in business strategy, a merger or acquisition, or even a divestiture or restructure and… bam! You’re joining the ranks of the unemployed. No one is invulnerable.

While there is no secret recipe to dealing with the emotional response to job loss, it can’t hurt to always be prepared for what the future may hold for your career. It is up to you to be prepared.

Here are some best practices to help you stay one step ahead:

1. Take time off to re-assess your career and determine what you want to do next. Immediately following the loss of a job, many people are not completely prepared, are still too emotional, and have no comprehensive plan to launch an employment search. Assess strengths, identify goals, focus on the future and create an action plan before moving forward.

2. Use your network wisely. Successful networking means gathering and sharing ideas. A helpful attitude and a genuine desire to be a useful contact or resource for others will make you a valuable connector of people, ideas, and information. Our research shows that networking is the #1 method for sourcing new opportunities.

3. Be Prepared. Most employees can typically expect to be displaced from their jobs at least once during their careers. Keep your resume up to date. It should describe you at your highest level of accomplishment. It should tell the story of your career, how you can help contribute to an organization, and provide solutions to their needs.

No one is really emotionally prepared for the surprise meeting that involves losing one’s job. But you can be active in managing your own career.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Unhappy Promotion

Let’s face it: you are good at what you do. In fact, you are so good that you keep getting promoted. While the promotions were exciting and re-affirming to start with, you may now have been promoted so far away from what you enjoy and do well that you are no longer happy in your career. This is a story we see time and again with many of the executives we coach and seems particularly frequent with those who previously held roles as technical professionals or individual contributors.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, maybe it's time to consider moving back down the ladder – perhaps scaling back, a lateral transition or a new venture that will help to bring back your spark. It’s a matter of doing some self-assessment… what is it that you value, do well, are interested in and find immensely satisfying?

Valuable insight can be gained from assessing what work you most want to do and what work environment would best suit you. To achieve this insight, you can systematically analyze your career experience and ask yourself: What was satisfying? What was not?

Career satisfiers are those things that get you excited to get up and started in the morning. What parts of your career are the most fun, exciting, fulfilling and meaningful? On the other hand, career dissatisfiers are those aspects of your career that you simply tolerate, including duties and responsibilities that you would rather avoid if you could. Don’t limit your analysis to just the tasks you complete at work. Consider also the organization and its culture, too.

As Jack Welch, former CEO and Chairman of General Electric, said so well: “What is important yesterday may no longer be important today.”

How satisfied are you with your career?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Improving Customer Service to Accelerate Organic Growth

In today’s hypercompetitive marketplace, we are all looking for an edge to fuel growth. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal piqued my interest. The focus was on using customer service as a growth engine. Sure, at the heart of growth is the need to retain customers and spread the word to reach new customers. But how can we make sure each and every customer experience is extraordinary? How can we channel customer service to accelerate organic growth?

Great customer service can take an undifferentiated product and send it through the roof. It can help to grow your business through referrals and cross-selling. These results are driven by the experience the customer has from working with your employees and your solutions. The key is to equip and empower employees to consistently deliver great customer service and exceptional experiences.

Happy employees translate to happy customers. Tracking employee engagement levels can provide insight into the customer experience. We know from our client work that there is a direct link between high employee engagement scores and favorable customer experiences. By isolating the key drivers of employee engagement and focusing on developing programs that boost engagement, our clients can directly link their employee engagement scores to customer satisfaction, and ultimately, to bottom line profitability.

To do this requires connecting and aligning all employees to the overall business strategy. Employees need to understand their role in driving success, be given an active role to play and be empowered to offer and act on ideas to improve the business. It’s about creating an organizational culture where employees want to work. These people need a compelling reason to work with you beyond a paycheck.

In an environment where companies are holding on to cash and deferring investments, customer service can be the growth engine to accelerate performance. What are you doing to improve the experience your customers have?

Leadership Development Making a Comeback

After several years of employers cutting spending on training, Bersin & Associates reports that half of the companies they surveyed plan to increase leadership development budgets and almost one-quarter plan to increase spending by more than 10%.

What’s behind this change in investment strategy? Many companies fear an exodus or shortage of qualified leaders as the economy picks up and customers re-engage. Their pipelines are weak or non-existent. Executives across most industries are having a hard time finding strong managers to fill vacancies. The result is that leadership training is gaining urgency amid the stronger economy.

Companies have been tested over the past few years as they experienced heightened levels of economic turmoil and unpredictability. Weaknesses in leadership capabilities are showing. As many as one-in-two managers fail. Not just at the top of the house, but for many firms leadership bench strength is proving to be shallow.

Looking for a quick fix, many companies opted for short-term approach to declining revenues by cutting costs during the recession. Companies are now restructuring and changing their models to include leadership development as they are struggling to find managers well-equipped with the leadership capabilities and behaviors needed to handle the kinds of changes we are experiencing at an ever-quickening pace. Engagement, retention, productivity and performance are suffering as a result of poor communication, lack of customer focus, ineffective strategic thinking, and the inability to link one’s workforce with the business strategy.

As your business levels start to pick up, consider the investments in leadership development you need to make to build a pipeline of ready-now leaders at your disposal, regardless of what changes might come your way.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Engagement: "It's Not My Job!"

As many as one-in-three organizations don’t hold their managers accountable for employee engagement levels. Forty-six percent try to do so, but they don’t have any formal systems in place to monitor. Meanwhile, our research and many other knowledgeable sources reinforce that a strong correlation exists between engagement levels and leader behaviors and actions.

Not everyone believes that managers impact engagement, as noted in recent article in Employee Benefits News. Some managers believe that keeping employees engaged is not part of their job description.

Employee engagement is a complex issue. It is true that engagement is driven by many factors which both include and exclude a managers’ influence. And it’s a natural reaction to feel frustrated about being held accountable for things that are often ill-defined. However, some of the top drivers identified in our global research are actually directly aligned with those behaviors cited in the Employee Benefit News article as those for which a manager should be held accountable, such as providing employees with guidance, necessary tools, empowerment and respect. These behaviors have been shown to directly influence engagement levels. The issue isn't just accountability, but understanding how strategy, leadership, processes, culture and customer service factors correlate with engagement.

Employee engagement can’t be dismissed by managers with a “not my problem” attitude. It has to be addressed through management where challenges to engagement levels can be reliably linked to actions or inactions. However, the other factors outside the manager’s influence that drive engagement levels need to be understood and contextualized for each organization so that accurate and effective action plans can be developed and implemented. If you don’t know what drives engagement in your organization, it’s impossible to create an employee engagement strategy. It’s different for every organization, country and industry.

One of the common challenges many organizations face is that managers are often not provided with the coaching or support to develop the behaviors that are important for driving engagement. Many managers are focused on “managing” and getting things done, with little effort on leading and empowering others.

Do you know the engagement drivers for your organization and are you providing the leader development needed to foster engagement-related management behaviors?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The benefits of being insubordinate

As marketing guru Seth Godin writes: “What’s the opposite of insubordinate? I guess it’s subordinate. Which is better, I wonder. Is it preferred to do exactly what you’re told, to be clearly subordinate to the system, to the boss, to the short term demands of the organization - or are we better off doing the right thing instead?”

In my opinion, there is tremendous value as a leader to having at least a few insubordinates on your team. As senior leaders, many of us have witnessed CMOs who are surrounded by “yes” people where he/she gets too much agreement and too little candor. Often even the CMO recognizes it and doesn’t know what to do about it.

The challenge is to encourage every team member to speak up, to facilitate more back-and-forth, even if it means dissent from the CMO’s point of view. This also means enabling them to take action without “checking all the boxes,” letting them do what they think is right and allowing them to stake their reputation on it. Insubordinates are often the ones most responsible for moving the company forward – sometimes taking back doors to get stuff done – with the best interest of the company in mind. Insubordinates are the ones who tell it like it is and aren’t satisfied maintaining the status quo. I appreciate it is hard to do this if your organization has a culture that punishes people for pushing back or for taking calculated risks. But there is great value and a need for people who are prepared to challenge and push at times without dancing around the issue or flowering the delivery.

Senior leaders today are inundated with information and competing demands on their time. They are flooded with data, torrents of email and unplanned requests. So team members sometimes find they’re not actually accomplishing anything, but merely passing messages back and forth, waiting for decisions to be made. Make sure the vision is clear and keep the culture productive and high-performing by embracing a little “insubordination”.

What’s the ratio of subordinates to insubordinates that surround you?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Harnessing the intrapreneur

Rather than making history for its deep recession and record unemployment, 2009 might instead be remembered as the year business start-ups reached their highest level in 14 years, reports a recent New York Times article. Many individuals affected by the recession are now seizing the opportunity to reinvent themselves and pursue their own business. Organizations that are seeking to reinvent themselves in the new economy are also now in a position to leverage the intrapreneurial spirit that may lie within their leadership and workforce talent. Such companies can reap the benefits of this opportunity by identifying, recruiting and developing employees who have entrepreneurial motivations and competencies.

Such savvy intrapreneurs are the types of employees who regularly pursue new business opportunities. They network and build relationships with clients and potential business partners. They take action on profitable and mission appropriate opportunities, and they demonstrate a willingness to experiment and pursue risks to further the vision. When harnessed, these intrapreneurs can drive organic growth and innovation. When misaligned, they can be hard to manage, too independently minded, and out of sync with the company’s strategy. So, it is important to identify and align these intrapreneurs efficiently and effectively.

All entrepreneurs/intrapreneurs are not created equal. As companies continue to evolve to meet the dynamics of today’s ever-changing market, some leaders may no longer “fit” their current roles and could potentially become “blockers” or engage in high-risk and unaligned initiatives that divert company energy and strategic direction. The rules of the game have changed and the players may need to change, too. If they haven’t or can’t change, then organizations will need to move them out and replace them with leaders who hold the right skills.

It is prime time for organizations to assess the leaders they have today and the skills and capabilities needed both now and in the future. Do you have the right people in place to grow, innovate and prosper? Are you tapping the potential of your own intrapreneurs?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Do you ask or tell?

We know that leaders can inspire or undermine employees in their everyday activities. So it was refreshing to read Dan Rosenweig’s comments (CEO of Chegg) in the New York Times recently, commenting on his own leadership style: “I try very hard to be descriptive about how we want to define success and not necessarily prescriptive on telling them exactly how we want to do it — because, frankly, many of them are a lot smarter than me at what they do.”

Many of us struggle to build high-performing organizational cultures as we battle the challenges associated with allowing employees to take risks and potentially fail, or giving employees too little latitude to find their own way to the solution, leaving them ill prepared to be effective decision makers or make significant contributions to the success of the organization. Competitive pressures and cost containment leave us with little room for mistakes. What’s the best approach?

If you’re being prescriptive, then you may as well be doing the job. As a leader, I subscribe to the Just Ask leadership approach of asking before telling. Great leaders know just the right questions that direct employees in a way that helps them to find their own way to the solution. Descriptive leaders provide overarching direction and guidance, yet empower people to achieve the vision laid out for them with their own skills and ideas.

Both leadership approaches have some merit depending on what is warranted for the specific situation. But descriptive leadership styles are likely to produce a talent base that is resourceful, can solve problems, is results-focused, empowered and independent.

Have you considered how often you prescribe rather than describe a project brief or desired solution?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Who's driving your career?

Recent research paints a very telling story of how employees are feeling about their work. According to Right Management polls, the majority of employees today: report their workloads have increased due to layoffs; have not used all their allotted vacation; are voluntarily leaving their jobs for greener pastures; and are being approached by other firms with job offers.

If there is one lesson to take from the downturn, it is that we cannot take anything for granted. This means that you need to be in the driver’s seat of your own career and be proactive with its management – no matter what the economy is doing and irrespective of your level of leadership.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article on how to conduct a stealth job search when you are still employed. But regardless of your level of interest in pursuing job opportunities, there are some things you should be doing on an ongoing basis to actively manage your career. Make no mistake about it: it’s a good career practice to take advantage of opportunities to showcase our skills. Social networking tools such as LinkedIn are terrific resources to not only highlight strengths and accomplishments, but, just as important, grow and manage networks. Keep your “status” updated so your fellow networkers know what you are working on and have a sense of how you add value.

Also, you never know when the perfect new opportunity might come along. Don’t wait until you need it. Keep your resume updated so you have your most important marketing tool at the ready. Highlight in your resume and during interviews how interpersonal and work skills will align with the company’s culture. Share examples of how your motivation or interpersonal skills helped you to overcome barriers or solve problems. Look for opportunities to share how your values are aligned with those of the organization.

As a final word of advice, whether you are pursuing a new opportunity or diving deeper in a current role, be sure to build and maintain a strong professional network. Networking, time and time again, proves to be the best source for identifying new opportunities.

When was the last time you questioned what direction your career was taking?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Re-recruit your top talent

Linda Heasley, who heads up The Limited, was recently quoted in the New York Times as saying she “re-recruits her team every day”. In these times, not a bad business strategy!

The reality for employers is that 54% of organizations reported involuntarily losing high-performing workers during the first half of the year. Less than one-third were able to retain most of their top talent.

We know there are a lot of unhappy and dissatisfied employees coming out of the recession. But organizations must really focus on their top performers. Top performers are responsible for a significant percentage of the organization’s performance results and are more inclined to walk out the door than ever before. The real top performers in any organization will always have an opportunity to move. As business conditions improve, this will likely create more opportunities for high-value talent to pick and choose what suits them best.

Heasley’s advice is a good reminder that leaders should try to stay in tune with employees at both individual and collective levels. While engagement studies may provide insight into the sentiments of the overall workforce, it’s really important for companies to have a much broader enterprise-wide engagement strategy. One key component of such a strategy includes career discussions with individual employees. Managers need to know what their workers are thinking, what they want from their careers, and align this with the direction of the business.

An organization’s talent is often a company’s only differentiator. And high-performing employees are key to executing on business strategy. Business viability is at risk when workforce strategies and talent plans are ignored.

Employee engagement needs to be an active and ongoing part of your overall workforce strategy and part of leadership's everyday mindset. Do you know the engagement levels of your own workforce? And are your top-performers at risk of flight?


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Leading the Location Neutral Employee

You’re probably familiar with terms such as “virtual workers,” “telecommuting” or “working remotely”. The latest lingo for such workers is called “location neutral.” In essence, these are the people who can work from anywhere in the world and productively deliver what they need to for their employers. This segment of the workforce is growing in size and some remote and resort style communities have specific campaigns in place to attract such a worker.

Companies are embracing location neutral workers because of the cost and talent considerations that make the move towards virtual work logical. As organizations look to drive out costs from their structures and as property and equipment become fully amortized, it can make a great deal of financial sense to begin creating a virtual work world. Also, talent for certain types of jobs and roles is in scarce supply and high demand, so virtual work affords organizations the ability to cast a much broader net to secure hard to find talent.

But it’s not just about economics. Choices are also being driven by personal preferences and the pursuit of greater work/life balance. Many workers are seeking to work in environments where they can have greater flexibility around how they spend their time and when, where and how work gets done.

But not all virtual work or workers are created equal. Challenges arise around making sure the type of work being turned over to the virtual world can be done in that environment. Not every job can be accomplished virtually, as illustrated by the recent article in Fast Company in which a team lacking in detailed management collaborated to produce a dysfunctional Lego man.

The team leader’s role is paramount. Ultimately, it is the leader of the virtual team that must possess the right skills and understand key motivators to drive virtual team success. Among these is the ability to communicate very effectively without using visual cues as much virtual work is done through conference calls without the benefit of webcast video. This requires deep listening skills, the ability to clarify understanding when needed, the rigor to make sure messages about the work are very clearly understood and the motivation to set out virtual team accountabilities throughout the entire work process.

Do you have the right type of leaders in place to lead a virtual workforce?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What's growing in your greenhouse?

You’ve made significant investments. You’ve put the infrastructure and systems in place. You’ve cultivated, nurtured and multiplied. Now it’s time to reap the rewards as you harvest the wealth of all you have grown… from your workforce, that is. And the last thing you want to see is your investment walking out the door just as it begins to deliver returns.

Why does retention matter? Your workforce provides a critical competitive advantage. While some organizations feel many employees can be easily replaced, the truth is that there is no way to easily replace the institutional knowledge, customer relationships and business opportunities that walk out the door with them. Losing top performers leaves organizations in the precarious position of plugging gaps that can leave them scrambling to meet objectives. And given the mismatch between demand for talent and the skills available, it may not be so easy to fill those plugs. We know that those with sought-after skills can leave, by choice. Investing in employee retention efforts can be the fabric that enables your organization to thrive rather than fade away.

An organic talent development process enables organizations to promote from within. Promoting from within is an opportunity that can have significant positive impact on the organization’s future success. It maintains the integrity of the company’s brand, fosters strong corporate identify, and provides continuity of the organization’s culture. It also instills confidence in leadership, provides hope for career advancement with the same employer, and leverages shared knowledge and the investment made to develop that knowledge. And, just as important, it’s a valuable retention tool in your engagement strategy.

With a strong, “ready now,” committed and highly-engaged workforce, you are a force with which to be reckoned. Investing in developing talent also breeds a culture of high-performance – one that your competitors will strive to emulate.

What are you growing in your organization?