WI SHRM: What to do with a talent anchor?

(note:  Whenever I speak to groups I provide cards to them in case they have a question I cannot answer during our conversation(fyi:  I call all my presentations ‘conversations’).   My commitment is that I will blog answers in 2 weeks.  This question was submitted to me after my Talent Scorecard presentation at the 2011 Wisconsin SHRM Conference in Madison.  I do not edit questions – because my commitment is to answer what is asked.)

Question:  What doyou do if your most successful sales employee and shareholder is the one costing leadership to lose money and sleep?

One of my core beliefs since working with many smaller businesses is that loyalty matters, and being slow to let someone go is okay.  As I read your question two things come to mind:

  1. How is success defined for this person?
  2. When their performance is evaluated – are they judged based on WHAT they accomplish, as well as HOW they accomplish it?

I think back to a situation where the top technology person at a company struggled for years with alcoholism that caused multiple missed work days, missed deadlines, and bristled work relationships as he relapsed repeatedly at company parties, sales events, etc.  All of this, and he stayed in place for many years.

One key habit that is critical for any organization is the CEO going down the list of their people and talking through each person in terms of what they provide, what success looks like for them, and how they are performing from a metrics as well as a culture standpoint.  The key people/key role discussion that is described in the Talent Scorecard is critical to bringing focus to this issue.  Since doing this with an internal HR person is often difficult, it should be done with a board group or an outside consultant.  The value is a safe place to process information and ask yourself some tough questions.

Finally, the book SWAY made a point about irrational decisions.  In studies of people, if they looked at a situation from a net loss perspective, they were less likely to make a rational decision.  An example is investing:  When people say to themselves – If I sell today I will lose 10% of my initial investment – then the are more likely to ride it down lower, even if the outlook is grim.  People are the same way.  When they start looking at people and saying – if we let this person go then our sales will suffer, or the knowledge they have will go away – then we keep them, even if all the other evidence points to it being a bad decision.

Anything to add based on your experience?

Wisconsin SHRM 2011: My presentations

As promised to those who attended, below are the links to the presentations I gave at the 2011 Wisconsin SHRM conference.  As I reflect back on the questions and the conversations around each topic, I am especially drawn to the feeling around talent management that their needs to be more top down practicing of these habits.  The economic environment is Wisconsin is comparable to Michigan because of what has happened to manufacturing, and yet imagine the untapped potential of the people who are working that DO NOT have development plans.   In my resilience presentation a majority of the attendees were worried about the commitment and attitude of a workforce that is pretty battered.  At the core of talent management is a conversation to build/rebuild trust and invite people to start looking towards a better future.  It is important AND it does not have to be expensive.  Remember that I detest expensive initiative!  🙂

Look for trUTips #15 to talk about how to create a great development plan – no matter what your performance evaluation looks like.

I made the 2011 SHRM WI Promotional video!

My Wisconsin SHRM Talent Scorecard presentation:  http://www.thetrugroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Talent-Scorecard-WI-Final.pdf

My Wisconsin SHRM Resilience presentation:  http://www.thetrugroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Resilience-Wisconsin-Final.pdf

WISHRM 2011 – Revisit Development Plans?

(note:  Whenever I speak to groups I provide cards to them in case they have a question I cannot answer during our conversation(fyi:  I call all my presentations ‘conversations’).   My commitment is that I will blog answers in 2 weeks.  This question was submitted to me after my Talent Scorecard presentation at the 2011 Wisconsin SHRM Conference in Madison.  I do not edit questions – because my commitment is to answer what is asked.)

Question:  Do you recommend revisiting development plans with performance or not?

Remember that the goal of this is to build a rhythm(see truPerfor around tasks that do not need to be thought about every day, but are important to revisit.  You will know you have created a rhythm when you begin to get feedback from people that they were refreshing plans at eval time, not recreating them.  Remember that the individual owns the plan, so it should be revisited quarterly to see how things are progressing and make changes as needed.  The benefit about using evaluation time to make major changes is many evaluations are timed to happen around the time leadership teams are putting plans in place for the coming year.  If it is truly working, some of those goals are making their way back into the plans.  For example, if a division can see an expansion coming that will require leaders to lead teams in different locations, it might be good to start doing it on a smaller scale?  Maybe covering leadership of another group that will be without one for 6 months?

There is a voice in this discussion that would say split development plans into a separate discussion from reviews.  With TIME being the #1 complaint I hear from leaders around being able to do these at all, I think doing both in one discussion is more realistic.

I know there are other HR leaders reading this.  Any comments to add?

 

Do we need a Talent Management Initiative? No . . . Part I

I created a Talent Scorecard to help leaders think through what they have been doing around connecting with their people to make sure they are focused, understanding their challenges, getting their needs met, and receiving feedback on their progress.  In the human resources world we call this talent management.  To most of the rest of the world this is called leadership, management, or friendship.

The first set of numbers shocked me.  Here they are and remember that I asked HR leaders to fill these out as if their CEO was doing this survey.  The only two measures are 100% and <100%, because those are they only two measures that matter.  100% means you are doing the right things.  <100% means that there is a person out there with a name, friends, bills to pay, skills/talents, and goals . . .  that is not getting their needs met.  These are basic needs.  Here are the numbers.

 Key Habits for Managing Talent

  100% <100%
I delivered all of the evaluations on time. 36.7 % 63.3 %
I have one-on-one discussions with each member of my staff at least once a month. 63.3 % 36.7%
I have reviewed all the evaluations of my team’s staff. 51.7 % 48.3 %
Each person on my team has a development plan. 27.6 % 72.4 %

Too many people are getting late evaluations and do not have any sort of development plans. 

Remember the Gallup Q12?  The first two questions are:  I know what is expected of me at work and I have the tools I need to do my job.  On-time performance conversations and frequent one on ones to hear progress, identify needs, and solve problems make these questions a reality.  The development plan is critical in getting people thinking about the future and helping them grow.

Based on these numbers, it is not happening enough.

For a quick look at a performance conversation tool/development plan that works see trUTips #13.

I can’t afford leadership training right now . . . what does that mean?

I see a great trend happening, organizations starting to get back to the routine of developing leaders – both current and future.  It is good for people and for leaders.  It is a nice trend.

My only concern is the mindset that focus = money in the minds of many leaders.  I know real priorities receive budget and headcount, but let me offer some competing thoughts.

  • Importance = time
  • Importance = presence

Let me explain.

Your best people are not looking for more compensation or awards, they just want new challenges, engaged teammates, and a chance to do what they love.  Uncertain of my compensation claim?  Read Drive by Daniel Pink or chapter 7 in Sway by Ori/Rom Brafman. Not buying into what high potentials need?  Read trU Tips #2 that I published.

Instead of starting with a pay per use leadership program or hiring a Director of Talent Management, step back and ask yourself “Are we doing the basic things that will drive the right development conversations regardless of the economy?”  Here is a guide for your self assessment. 

Developing your leaders for today and tomorrow is not about spending money, it is about investing time into:

  • Conversations that let people know they matter
  • Conversations that help you understand what people want /need
  • Conversations that help create a target for people to strive for
  • Conversations that let people know that you are watching, willing to help, AND that you care about their success

Great talent management is about investing time. 

Budget does not replace time.  If you can only do one – – – start with time.