Tag Archive: talent

Do You Treat Your People as Critical Assets to Your Success?

June 24th, 2019

As several CEOs lament continually and as Steve Erickson, president of Corona Clipper, Inc. and UK Business Unit Group, said in our 2019 predictions document, talent is a hot topic in today’s tight labor market. Perhaps it is time to put a bit more thought into our talent.

As a consultant who works with organizations from a few million in annual revenue to multi-billion dollar conglomerates, it is quite clear that talent is an issue across-the-board. It doesn’t matter the industry, the size, or the ownership (private equity, publicly traded or closely-held). Talent is an issue that is top of mind of every executive interested in growth and innovation. The trick is whether you just think about talent or are willing to invest in talent. Which are you?

Certainly, those who invest are far more likely to retain top talent and develop new talent. In zero unemployment markets, there is something to be said about creating your own talent. If you aren’t focused on this topic, it is quite likely the competition will steal your talent away.

There are many ways to invest in talent:

  1. Provide mentor opportunities – If your organization looks for ways to support the growth of employees with mentors, you are bound to be more successful than the norm. In our experience, the best companies realize that people need to learn through practical application and mentoring provides this opportunity.
  2. Invest in leaders to encourage continuous coaching – aAyearly review is quite useless. Who can remember what happened that long ago and understand how to improve or build on a strength? Instead, I found that 90 day one-on-one performance conversations with a limited number of objectives do the trick. Continuous feedback and investment of time can go a long way. But let’s not expect leaders to know how to conduct these sessions if we haven’t invested in them. Remember, it trickles down hill.
  3. Provide training opportunities – Search for training topics that will supplement what your employees should understand. For example, any employee in operations and supply chain should take APICS courses to understand the fundamentals of supply chain and operations management and related principles. If nothing else, it will provide the body of knowledge and associated language.
  4. Provide experiences – In larger companies, there might be job rotations or overseas assignments.  No matter the size, there are cross-training opportunities as well as enabling visits and collaborations with customers, suppliers, systems and technology providers, consultants/experts and other partners.
  5. Allow the freedom for experimentation – To encourage new ideas and innovation, it is important to design programs that educate employees as well as provide a framework to try out new ideas. In our consulting travels, we find that employees who are allowed to test new ideas in a safe zone feel invested in.
  6. Address poor performers – Instead of ignoring your poor performers because it is an unpleasant task or you are worried about repercussions, proactively address them. Work with them to turn them around or move them out of the organization, and you’ll unleash your top talent.

Why not merely increase your engagement by investing in your already-existing talent? According to all the surveys, engagement is at horrific levels in the vast majority of organizations yet engagement is key to driving performance. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out investing in your people is not only common sense but it can do more good for your bottom line than almost anything else. The key is to not treat investment as throwing money at an issue but instead seeing it as a priority. Let us know what ideas you have to engage your most critical assets.

 

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

Are You Retaining Top Talent?

Profit Through People

 



The Talent Shortage – What to Do…

August 3rd, 2018

In every conference and almost every conversation with a CEO or GM, the talent shortage arises.  

It is on our minds! At the E-Commerce and Logistics summit, it was a consistent theme from our panel “Freight, Frictions and the Future” and it arose with each keynote speaker (President of Package Operations for UPS, Director of Worldwide Public Relations for Amazon, and an SVP at Colliers International).  

 

 

Several of the issues that arose in context of the summit include:

  • Lack of drivers (and lack of understanding what drivers have to go through!)
  • Lack of high-tech skills
  • Lack of understanding the value of the jobs provided by logistics.
  • Shortage of resources across-the-board

If you want to thrive in this environment, strongly consider:

  1. Your leaders – people work for people; not companies.
  2. What your employees think of you – everyone in their circle or on social media will know.  Is your company attractive?
  3. Your brand – it is what will attract people to you.
  4. How you stand above the crowd – would you want to work for you?

Attracting good talent is a competition. Are you ready?



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?

 



The Skills Gap Emerges as #1 at Prominent Supply Chain Conference

May 28th, 2018

At the Southern California Supply Chain and Logistics Summit conference, there were several keynote speakers from industry icons such as Amazon, UPS, Union Pacific and more.  One might expect quite a lot of interesting insights into the latest supply chain trends yet the most common theme among the presentations tied back to the skills gap. It boils down to having the “right people” for success – both in terms of employees and supply chain partners.

 

Several of the themes emerged the supply chain summit:

  1.  Automation: Friend or Foe? With the advances of automation in the supply chain, there is much worry over the impact on people. Yet, several speakers said they HAD to automate and leverage technology just to have a hope of keeping up with the expected growth over the next several years.  When adding in the retirement of baby boomers, will you have the skills to support your business growth?
  2. Someone has to be behind the robot – Even though some robots use artificial intelligence concepts, they aren’t programming themselves.  There is someone behind the robot – programming, maintenance and more. Are you preparing for a job that can be replaced by a robot or are you programming the robot?
  3.  Robots and people side-by-side-  There are some tasks that robots can automate and improve upon whereas there are others it makes sense to employ workers.  Are you preparing your resources to see value in both?
  4.  Matching skills with roles – How does your company stack up?  Another topic of much discussion – mentioned by panelists and attendees alike – the vast majority of executives feel they are falling short when it comes to gaining the skills they need to run their business at the “right” margins.  How clear are you on what you need to successfully run your business? Or are you living on hope it will all work out?
  5.  The rise of flexibility – With the rise of e-commerce, we have BIG spikes.  We need to be thinking about how to incorporate flexibility into our thinking. How flexible are you?
  6. Would you want to be in the role?  There are some jobs set up to be thankless (such as drivers in several environments).  If you wouldn’t want to do the job, how can you expect to keep your workforce?

Since having the “right” talent in the “right” place at the “right” time is #1 to success, investing in talent could be your most important investment of the year.  Do you spend as much time thinking about your people (whether current or new) as you do a major machine or technology purchase? You should!

 



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.