World-class organizations understand that their people are their greatest asset, and therefore pursue aggressive strategies to constantly improve the overall talent level of their employees as a means of achieving lasting competitive advantage in the markets they compete in.
Following are some strategies that your organization can employ, as part of an integrated and effective talent management program that recruits, hires, trains, and retains top talent.
1. Always Be On the Lookout for Top Talent:
Your organization should constantly be on the lookout for potential new hires, even if they don’t meet an immediate, short-term staffing need. You always want to be on the look out for talented people to bring into your organization. The most successful companies all maintain a constant vigilance in their search for top talent regardless of their immediate needs. Their philosophy with respect to staffing is, they can ALWAYS find a place for these stars who have established a clear track record of success in generating revenues, reducing costs, and improving organizational efficiencies for other organization.
2. Conduct a Human Capital Audit:
To unleash the many untapped talents of the people working in your organization, match every employee’s core competencies to their job descriptions. Your management team and Human Resources should always be on the lookout for the talents that are NOT being used by all their employees, as well as key areas for each employee to receive additional training and development.
3. Develop a Reward & Recognition Plan:
Nothing builds up long-term employee morale and their loyalty to their organization more than rewarding and recognizing them for their work and contributions. Many short-sighted, poorly run organizations seem to think that recognizing an employee is giving them a paycheck. They fail to recognize their people’s contributions and commitment to their organization. When the economy turns, people that have been overworked and under-appreciated will leave your company. Do you know who they are? How many are your rising stars who hold a key to your company’s long term success?
4. Develop a Coaching/Mentoring Program:
The most effective way to leverage the talents of your more recent hires and longer term employees is to pair them up for formal coaching and mentoring. Your less tenured employees will have their ramp up time in learning the Ins & Outs greatly reduced, and will benefit greatly from the collective experience and insights that your more seasoned employees can share. Your more tenured workers will receive the benefits of feeling connected, contributing to your organization’s success, and feel respected that their past experiences and knowledge are appreciated and still relevant in terms of training your future leaders.
5. Create a Idea Generation Lab:
In order to ensure your organization’s long-term success, you should constantly solicit ideas from your staff, esp. those employees that are closest to the work processes, systems, clients, vendors, partners, and other stakeholders. Create a program to actively seek ideas from all of your employees. Reward employees or the ideas that have the greatest positive impact on your ability to serve clients, create/launch new products, come up with new service offerings,reduce costs, etc. This will improve morale and employee retention as positive side effects.
6. Employee New Venture “Intrapreneur” Program:
An excellent strategy that you can employ in order to prevent your best people from leaving to start their own entrepreneurial efforts is set aside funding to have them pursue new ventures while they (STILL) work for you. This is an exceptional way for your organization to retain your top talent, while building your company’s intellectual capital portfolio of patents, trademarks, copyrights while simultaneously benefiting from your people’s desire and knowledge to develop new product/service offerings.
7. Leadership/Management Development Program:
Create a formal program to develop your key people’s leadership skills, and provide them with the tools, resources, knowledge and skills they need to manage others for success. This may be the single greatest potential to positively impact your bottom line. Rather than having to recruit outside talent to fill key leadership roles or recruit for new managers, cultivate the talents of your existing workforce and provide them with lasting skills to position your organization for success.
8. Develop a Succession Plan:
Create a formal strategy to identify the top talent in your organization that should be groomed/prepared for future leadership and/or management roles. This is especially vital for family run businesses or organizations led by someone that possesses most of the intellectual capital needed to run your organization over the long haul. Think of Jack Welch at GE when he identified Jeffrey Immelt to take his place, Bill Gates, Steven Jobs, etc.
9. Training and Development Program:
Create a formal plan to identify areas for each employee to be trained and develop their skill sets and knowledge base. Employees should have the skills they need to exceed in their current role as well as have a clearly defined action plan for managing their long-term performance, and a clear future career track within the organization.
A final note to owners and managers…
If your people are important enough to hire, then they can and must be leveraged as your greatest asset to achieve long-term success in the markets you compete in. Far too many businesses take the approach of pursuing massive layoffs during trying economic times. This is a cop out and very myopic strategy that costs significantly more to the organization in the long run then taking care of your workforce.
Far too often organizations hire consultants to come up with strategic recommendations and one of their first strategies is to suggest layoffs. This is a surefire path towards self-inflected long-term damage. Rather, take ownership in determining how your people can be leveraged. Expand their skills, provide them with additional resources, give them a greater stake in your organization’s success, challenge them to come up with solutions or make changes.