From crisis to resilience : Is there greener pasture out there?

25 February 2013 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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by Lionel Wijesiri

How do you keep good talent on your team? This is a question for any manager with quality employees. If a team member is really good at his or her job, it is not just known within the company – the competition likely knows it, too. When things get uncomfortable for that employee or the grass starts to look greener outside, you might run the risk of losing that great employee. With workforce management in place, however, you will be better equipped to create an environment in which these individuals can thrive.


Three tips
Here are the top three retention strategies that will minimize the likelihood of someone being wooed away by a competitive industry.
#1- Young employees want ongoing relationship, real time feedback and continual contact. In other words, you got to ‘show them the love’ on a consistent basis. If you have a sales person who works in the field it is a lonely job- the leader needs to be reaching out frequently to ensure that that person feels supported, respected and valued. If you value the employee, they will think twice before leaving.

#2- You need to be proactive in your communication about being headhunted or approached by other industries. At hiring and at interviewing, you need to be honest and explain that there are headhunters out there who are going to approach them. Have a comparison chart prepared to show them the pros and cons of working in your workplace and the pros and cons of working in the competitor’s workplace.

#3- Young employees are looking for a career path, a success plan and other opportunities in the industry. There are enough job opportunities in other locations that will give them the new learning and growth that they are seeking. Focus on keeping talent within the organisation so that you are protecting the talent pool.

Remember, it is predicted that by the year 2020, we will have a huge talent shortage problem. Not enough skilled workers to fill the job openings. We need to be proactive now, investing in training, partnering with training institutes, creating our own in-house training for specific skills training.

Does your current leadership strategy include a major strategic focus on attraction, training and retention? If you are focused on it, are you factoring in the demographic realities affecting the market? If the answers for either question or both questions are “no,” talk with higher management and find solutions.



High performance culture
Utopia for business owners is when employees are driven, engaged, skilled, fairly compensated and successful. It is when workers unite as a team in shared values and behaviours and the productivity and value of individual employees is maximized, resulting in a collective boost to company performance.

This might sound straightforward but in order to build a high-performance culture, businesses need to identify the types of workers they are dealing with and implement talent development plans that engage those employee types accordingly.



Star performers
To be truly successful, an organisation needs to be able to identify its star performers. Generally, they are the top 15 percent to 20 percent of employees, those who produce quantifiable results that regularly exceed expectations. This group is likely to yield an organisation’s future leaders. It is critical these employees are first retained and then motivated and developed into leadership roles.  

Business leaders need to acknowledge the value of their star performers to the business, share company objectives and strategy and compensate them fairly for their contributions. They should also make certain that the top management understands their paths for career advancement. This means ensuring they have the development tools and learning resources they need to achieve success.

Through mentoring or rotational assignments, HR or senior executives can give star employees visibility in other parts of the organisation. No single manager should hoard their valuable resources. After all, despite their current successes, star performers might have undiscovered potential.



Median lot
Generally considered to be the middle 70 percent to 75 percent of the employee population, standard contributors are vital to the business. Without their steady efforts, most companies would not survive long.

The primary objective with this group should be to identify skills gaps and develop competencies in order to increase performance and productivity. Business leaders should direct these workers to hone their skills and look for new areas where their contributions can help meet organisational demands.

They need to start by identifying practical ways to get the most out of these employees. What are their performance goals? Can these be better aligned to company objectives?

In short-term plans, business leaders need to consider how they will expand the roles of these employees to fully engage them and grow their potential. They should then confirm career paths for these workers as the year progresses.

The long-term plan should be to conduct ongoing evaluations to ensure these employees are in the right roles for their skillsets. While an employee may be underdeveloped for their current position, they could have the necessary skills for greater productivity elsewhere in the organisation.

Businesses must focus on helping this group of employees increase their value and seize their opportunities. They also need to identify workers with strong potential, ramp up their motivation and give them the tools they need to become the organisation’s newest stars.





Bottom few
Businesses need to figure out why this group - typically the bottom 10 percent of an organisation’s workforce - is underperforming and fix the problems quickly.
The immediate priority will often be to implement performance improvement plans (PIPs) that help employees better define goals and focus their activities. Companies should clearly communicate expectations, so workers know precisely what they need to do to succeed. Performance issues need to be identified and addressed proactively.

In the intermediate term, poor-performing employees should be given the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to meet expectations in their current positions. This means providing appropriate training and ensuring relevant resources are available. Regular progress checks should be conducted.
If the desired results are not being seen, the next step is to explore other options. Are there other roles in the company that provide a better fit for the individual and the organisation? Ultimately, poor performers should not be allowed to stagnate. If they become a detriment to team morale or productivity, the business should cut its losses and part ways.



Culture
Talent development can be an intricate process when you consider the variety of workers most businesses employ. Some individuals shine naturally, while others require significant hands-on management. And some employees seem to perform only what is asked of them, without a drive to extend their skills for the good of the company.

If managers want to encourage a high-performance culture, however, they must work to pull their workforce together by segmenting employee groups and then managing them accordingly. Overall, the objective will be to leverage a unified approach to talent development - one that includes learning, performance and compensation management - to maximize the productivity and value of each individual. Not only will the employees feel more loyal and engaged, but the business will benefit too.



Training
According to Nick Shackleton-Jones, the BBC’s Online and Informal Learning Manager, informal learning - where staff share their own learning through online discussion boards, video-postings and instant messaging - is the future. Speaking at a presentation to a group of business delegates, he said, “We’re witnessing the death of training as we know it.”

He added, “Top-down courses are history. Rapid development tools, incorporating knowledge sharing, are the only way ahead. Staff don’t need to retain information any more, they just need to go somewhere where they can reference it. Organisations have to help people share information. The trainer of the future is someone who helps people to share what they already know.”

(The writer, a corporate director with over 25 years’ senior managerial experience, can be contacted at lionwije@live.com)

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