Tag Archive: leaders

Where Our Best People Are Going

September 1st, 2020

In the last month, almost every client has had some sort of challenge with talent. Most clients and contacts have lost a high-quality person. All have experienced a lack of talent or the appropriate skills to meet customer demand. For example, finding temporary resources has proven quite the challenge. Watch our video on what we’re seeing in the market. Are you paying attention?

 

       

One Tip to Implement This Week:
Since people are on the move, there is NO DOUBT that we must get on top of our human resources. We cannot prevent people leaving because they want to change careers or industries, but we can prevent those who are leaving due to leadership. After all, people don’t leave companies, they leave people!

The good news is that you can improve this situation immediately.

Focus on your people.

  1. Have you clearly communicated where you are headed?
  2. Have your leaders talked with each direct report individually about how he/she fits into the future?
  3. Do you have a performance check-in process quarterly, at minimum?
  4. Are you providing career advancement? Ex. promotions, additional responsibility, training and/or mentoring, etc.
  5. Are you upfront with your people? Communicate what you are able to communicate. Tell them what you cannot communicate but make sure they know you will tell them immediately as you are able. Anytime leaders keep things from employees, employees make up FAR worse stories. Good people exist. Weak people stay and become disgruntled.
  6. How effective are your leaders?
  7. Of course, this assumes you are taking care of the basics such as safety, quality, COVID, etc.

Read more about navigating and successfully emerging post COVID-19 in my free eBook Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19. Please send your feedback and stories. I will incorporate them in an article, video or interview.



Future-Proofing Your Skills Gap

February 17th, 2020

Since talent has become a strategic topic for any executive who wishes to thrive in 2020 and beyond, it should top of mind for every manufacturing and distribution business owner or executive. Have you put time aside to think about this critical topic with your top team? If not, stop now and do it!

We have recently re-surveyed manufacturing and distribution executives, hiring managers, and related trusted advisors.  There is unanimous agreement that the skills gap remains. We also talked with business owners and executives from a wide range of manufacturing and distribution industries.

Talent is a hot topic for several critical reasons:

  1. Demographics – As baby boomers retire, it is leaving a gap in experience and expertise. It is a struggle to absorb or replace adequately.
  2. Technology – With the increase in technology required to run our businesses while providing not only a superior customer experience to grow but also with high levels of profitability and working capital, having talent with the skills to maximize the use of technology is essential. It is also changing the makeup of the talent required.
  3. Skilled Trades – There is a significant gap in the skilled trades such as CNC operators. There hasn’t been enough focus on the high school and community college career path into the sector. Those that find a way to bridge this gap have a leg up on the competition.
  4. Leaders – Whether high-tech or low-tech, leaders play a pivotal role in performance. It is FAR too often we see executives trade down to save money instead of looking at the return on investment over a multi-year period!
  5. Complexity – We live in a global, complex world with increasing rules and regulations to navigate.

How can we future-proof talent? There are a few priorities we should pursue immediately.

  1. Think Ahead: Don’t hire, retain and train for what is needed today. Instead, focus on where you’ll need to be in one year to thrive.
  2. Partner: If you need skilled trades, technology savvy resources and the like, consider partnerships. Successful executives have set up programs with local community colleges, partnered with trade associations such as the Association for Supply Chain Management (APICS – listen to the video below), collaborated with a makerspace academy such as Vocademy, brought in trsuted advisors, collaborated with competitors and more.
  3. Evaluate Technology: Evaluate which technology will provide a return on investment and spur profitable growth. There is no need to chase shiny objects but you should think prudently about how to accelerate success.
  4. Mentor: There is little better than establishing a mentoring process. Although training can be effective, people learn quickest through behavioral change modeling and feedback.
  5. Be attractive: You are in competition for your talent – both retaining top talent as well as finding new talent.

Proactively addressing this Skills Gap and future-proofing your manufacturing operations and extended supply chain is cornerstone to growth plans.

Lately, we’ve seen an increase in interest for an organizational structure and talent assessment to ensure the organization is shored up to deliver performance plans. If you’d like assistance in evaluating your readiness to meet business objectives, please contact us.

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Future-proofing Your Manufacturing SuccessEagle Eye Strategic Focus

 



Who Are Your Stars?

July 21st, 2019

In our 14 years of consulting experience and almost 30 years of working experience, we have found that 80% of executives spend the majority of their time with the 20% of employees who do not achieve results. Unfortunately, this means they don’t have time to spend with the stars who achieve 80% of the results. Do you fall into this trap as well? As executives commented in our 2019 predictions document, talent is a hot topic in today’s tight labor market. If you aren’t paying attention to your stars, they will jump ship to someone who does pay attention.

People don’t leave companies. They leave bosses!
As an executive, stop to think about what questions you are asking. Do you ask your direct reports about their stars? Could you identify the future stars of your organization? Or are you just addressing issues as they arise? Key customer issues. Board questions. Performance problems. Etc. If so, undoubtedly, you are receiving information from stars or they could be working behind the scenes, invisible to you. We find that these stars can be easily overlooked because they might not like the spotlight or they are likely to be the person to bring up unpopular topics. Does your culture support these stars or encourage them to stay hidden?

Here are ways to find your stars:

  1. Pay attention to who your leaders go to in order to get information. There is always a star behind the scenes who has the information when you need it. It is likely this person could be several layers below you and so you’ll need to pay attention.
  2. Have you asked old-timers for information or ideas lately? Ask employees who have been around a while. If they feel overlooked, they aren’t going to offer ideas and information until asked. However, when valued, you just might be surprised with some amazing results. We have had countless numbers of clients with this sort of hidden gem! Typically there is at least one person like this in every organization.
  3. Look for someone who might be unpopular in meetings because they’ll bring up issues. Frequently, there is someone who is willing to speak up about issues who becomes unpopular because the rest of the team doesn’t understand or think the issue will occur. This person is also seen as delaying the process. Sometimes, these folks are just problem employees but often they can be your stars. Stars are willing to speak up about issues, and if you listen to them, they will save you from all sorts of problems. Of course, if it was only that easy! Typically these folks might not be the best communicators, so they aren’t seen as stars by their managers. You’ll have to look hard.
  4. Look for the influencers. Although not typically in a position of power, the masses will follow them because they trust their judgment. This isn’t obvious because leaders aren’t involved. Look for who employees go to with questions or look for who they will go to if issues occur.
  5. Ask each employee about his/her ideas and/or create small group discussions. Once you gain trust, you’ll rapidly identify your stars.

Since your stars are responsible for 80% of the results and are the go-to people for any project worth doing, there is a dramatic ROI in finding your stars and embracing them. It certainly seems worth the effort of checking in on a few employees each time you walk through the office. Don’t stop and talk with your favorites or those with which you have common interests. Instead, stop at the first desk that wouldn’t part be part of your routine. Be interested and listen. We’ll bet you learn compelling ideas rapidly. Let us know how it goes and what strategies you find the most successful in finding your stars! We are always interested in this vital topic.

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Employee Performance: Do Not Ignore Your Stars

People Rule!



Are You Retaining Top Talent?

July 19th, 2018

 

Several clients have been short on top talent. With virtually zero unemployment, the traditional job search programs yield virtually 0% talent.  Even with an executive recruiter, you may be prone to lose your candidate at the last minute when his/her current job figures out they need to do a better job of retaining them and they take action.

 

To give you a few sagas from recent client examples:

  • I was helping a client determine what he needed (skills, aptitudes, behaviors). I agreed to review resumes to see if potential fit exists and to interview candidates.  Although he received lots of resumes, less than 1% were even worth a phone interview. My guess is less than 1% of those would be worth hiring. Talk about a SLOW road to filling an immediate gap.  
  • Within the last month, two clients used a recruiter (thank goodness as we didn’t have to take the slow boat to China).  They found a great candidate and lost the candidate at the last minute to an offer from the current employer who figured out they didn’t want to lose their employee.  Frustrating!

Instead of either of these scenarios, why not retain your key performers?  Start with the following:

  1. #1 People work for people; not companies.  Who are your leaders? Are you developing them?  In the last six months, this too has arisen. That’s an exciting part of consulting – you get to see it all!  In this case, it wasn’t good. Good people left a new ‘leader’. Think about the productivity of the ones staying to finish that ‘last year before retirement’.  How awful!
  2. Provide training opportunities.  People want to develop skills and advance their career which can be a win-win in terms of gaining skills to help you achieve profitable growth.  Check out APICS-IE’s classes for starters.
  3. Mentoring. The only way to improve behavior is through trial and error and modeling behavior.  

What are you doing to retain your top talent?

 



Who Gets the Talent?

April 13th, 2018

The Talent War
In today’s era of growth, talent is in short supply.  Clients are finding that they do not have the talent required to support profitable growth, and so they are searching.  They are in a tough spot because stealing talent away from current employers has proven quite the challenge. Employers are offering incentives to stay put.  The bottom line – there is a war on talent. Who gets the talent?

Qualified Talent
While recently assisting a client to find top notch, technical talent through traditional on-line sources, we can definitely say it is an exercise in frustration.  Although they received many potential candidates, less than 1% were worthy of an interview – AND less than 1% of those were viable to hire.  It certainly isn’t the path to success.

Although it dramatically improves those percentages, hiring a recruiter doesn’t guarantee success either. We have seen examples of three potential employees given offers only to back out after getting a counter offer from their employer.  

The Answer?
So, who gets the talent?

  1.  Good leaders – People work for people; not companies.  Have you been paying attention to your leaders and whether they are attractive to work for?  You better!
  2.  Interesting work – Working for a paycheck is definitely not enough.  What interests your employees? Find a way to tie that into their work.  Give them opportunities to expand their reach.
  3.  Pay for performance – Will your employees receive an incentive for improving the company’s customer service, helping to grow the business, increasing profit or reducing inventory?  If so, they will be more interested in what will directly impact their pay.
  4.  Good reputation – Does your company and your leaders have a positive reputation?  Employees will know. Potential employees will find out. Everyone can look you up on social media channels, talk with colleagues at civic and trade association events etc.
  5.  Develop people – Do you offer mentoring and training opportunities?  Those who do entice employees to learn, contribute and stay.

Why not focus efforts in these areas?  Money and time invested in these pursuits will provide a handsome payoff – and an engaged workforce.