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Strategies to develop your top talent

Archive for the ‘Employees’ Category

Speaking the same language

Managers continue to miss the sometimes subtle but often-times obvious ways that they are failing to communicate with the employees they manage.

This came home to me in a fresh way back in April when I was training a group of about 50 managers with China Telecom.  They were gathered from across different cities in China and they were at different levels in the organization, some front-line supervisors of employees and some of them director-level managers of other managers.

China Telecom (more…)

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Recruit and develop talent

A recent article put out by Gallup had some interesting things to say about how talent–and the way companies manage it–separates top performing companies from the rest.

Here’s the bottom line about companies that lead in growth: they have a relentless focus on talent. It is intentional and the executives who lead these companies have created systems that nurture it.

Here are the five elements singled out as success components.

1. A succession plan that works

2. An audit of your talent pool

3. Raising the bar in recruiting and hiring

4. Breakthrough experiences for high-potential managers and leaders

5. Ongoing development, engagement, and performance management

The Gallup research behind these findings is pretty compelling.  If you want to read more, go here.

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Talent Shortage

I shared some insights about the talent shortage in China and Asia Pacific at an executive briefing yesterday at the Four Seasons Hotel-Shanghai.

Big picture economics are of course part of the picture.  The labor market is also facing challenges.  The cost of labor and talent is getting inflated and competition is increasing.

Typical responses include using money to retain talent (comp and benefits), providing additional training and development, expanding campus recruiting and even getting experimental with non-traditional approaches.

When it comes to motivation and engagement, companies tend to over-rely on financial incentives and assume it is the most compelling motivator for talent.  Our own research with over 2000 managers in China shows that fewer than 1/3 list money, compensation or benefits as their top motivator.  There is a mismatch here.

What are effective companies doing?  Smart recruiting, culture transformation, and targeted skill development for their talented workers.

The roundtable discussions with executives after the presentation added more context to the big picture, and it demonstrated that many organizations are strugglin with exactly these issues.

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Is employee training-at the enterprise level-an expense or a benefit?

It is very illuminating to look at how different organizations view what they spend on employee training.  At the highest level, training usually gets accounted for as a type of payroll expense or an employee benefit.  Some forms of training are certainly that (tuition reimbursement comes to mind).  Other companies count training as a cost of doing business, especially if they operate in an industry where safety and/or regulatory compliance are important parts of the business.

Apart from how CFO’s might count or classify training, it’s even more instructive to look at how the top leaders of an organizations think about, plan for and implement training as part of enabling the success of their business plans.  Those that do regard training this way are likely to see it as an essential business investment.  Those who don’t are more likely to see training as a perk or optional benefit that they can afford when there is extra cash.

The basic way that the leaders of a business view training comes through in their discussions and decisions, especially around planning and budget time.

However you view it, it’s worth examining your assumptions and actions about how valuable training is for the overall organization.

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Top talent in China

Companies doing business in China face several challenges today.*  On the macro level they face the ongoing global financial instability, questionable consumer demand for their goods (especially in export markets), price pressure from competitors, and the uncertainties of government policy.  Weighing these factors, the dynamic market in China is still a vibrant place to do business today.

That presents its own problems.  Because the market is growing and the activity level is high, there is plenty of competition among companies for scarce resources.  Attracting and retaining talent in the form of qualified employees and managers is a top concern.  Maintaining morale and high productivity is clearly another.  (more…)

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leadskill-website

Do you know how hard your online employees are working?  Did you say you don’t have any employees?  If you have a website, blog, Facebook page, eBay store or any other kind of online commercial presence, I suggest you do have online employees, and it would be in your interest to think of them that way.

I was coaching another consultant today who does not have a website but who said she wanted one and knew she needed one.  She’s not super-savvy on web technology, nor does she care to be.  I suggested that she think of building a website/blog as if she were hiring an employee.  Here’s how the logic works… (more…)

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Making change stick

McKinsey published an interesting paper earlier this year titled ‘The Irrational Side of Change Management’

It provides insight about traditional approaches to change management and how success or failure is is determined by execution and practical implementation of the approaches.  Organizational change requires the following four conditions for change:
  • a compelling story
  • role modeling
  • reinforcing mechanisms
  • capability building
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