In today’s tight labor market with historic levels of low unemployment throughout the U.S., it is imperative for businesses to hire the best people – and keep them! But how do you do that when so few people are looking for jobs, or maybe more importantly when so many can jump ship so easily just to get a quick bump in pay? There actually are several key elements in an employee’s life-cycle experience that can make a huge impact for your organization.
Talent Management is that business-critical function that marks the intersection between the needs of your organization and the hopes and aspirations of the people who sustain it. Having rigorous Talent Management systems and processes in place is essential to achieving peak performance because it enables you not only to hire the best candidates but also keep them engaged once they’re on board. All of your employees will experience the following “life cycle” events within your organization. It’s up to you to determine where they end up!
- Recruitment & Selection: Your employees’ experiences with your company actually start well before they accept their offers and come on payroll. They begin with your first efforts to recruit new candidates and continue with those early interactions you have with any prospective candidate.
Make sure your “HR team” – whomever that may be – and Hiring Managers put the best foot forward for your company. Give your Hiring Managers extra training to make sure their interviews create positive experiences for your recruits. Then, follow through with any post-interview communications right away. If you’re going to extend an offer, don’t wait for your candidates to find other opportunities. More than that, you want your “non-hires” to speak highly of their experiences with your company too, and perhaps you’ll find a better fit for them in the future.
- New Hire Orientation & On-boarding: Many organizations think “We got ‘em!” and that their jobs are done once their new hires accept their offers of employment. Well, guess what… The reality is that you now need to live up to the expectations you established during the interview and “courtship” process.
Your on-boarding needs to consist of more than just HR formalities for benefits and payroll purposes. This is the perfect time for senior leadership to share the history and culture of the company with your new hires. Have your Hiring Managers introduce their new hires to their peers and socialize them with other key stakeholders across the company. They should also set reasonable and achievable performance expectations as they get started and create Day One-Week One-Month One plans to slowly integrate them into their work. Assigning a “new hire buddy” and conducting 30-60-90-day check-ins can also be invaluable to keep new hires on track and identify any potential issues right away before they become bigger, longer-term problems.
- Training & Development: Organizations need to actively identify the learning needs of their employees and plan appropriate training and development programs to meet the ongoing and changing needs of their workforce. As your new hires become more engaged and knowledgeable about the business, they will need different kinds of training and support. Providing this support is critical to the long-term success of each employee as well as your organization because it will enable your employees to contribute to your ongoing success.
Development opportunities for your high-performers might simply consist of assigning “special projects” to keep them engaged and help them to develop the skills required to get to the next level. Other employees may require a more defined learning curriculum based on their specific performance gaps and developmental needs. As some leaders are promoted into new roles, they might also benefit from one-to-one coaching programs to address their greatest challenges and introduce them to more advanced leadership approaches in a safe and confidential manner.
- Performance Management: Performance management helps managers and staff define their key performance expectations, identify any developmental needs, and evaluate employee performance over time. Performance management is an always, ongoing process, not a once-a-year task to complete for HR. When performance management is built on the continuous efforts of managers and employees, it delivers better results throughout the year rather than a once-a-year correction.
Leaders need to actively participate in the performance management process by coaching their employees and giving them the feedback – both positive and constructive – they need to succeed. Performance management is about developing employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities in line with your organization’s strategic objectives. It’s also about ensuring your people are working on the right things. That is why it is critical to establish S.M.A.R.T. goals at the beginning of the year and then conduct 1:1 check-ins throughout the year to make sure your employees are on track. Yes, the process culminates with the annual performance review, but that is only part of the process.
- Transition & Separation: A good leader believes his/her job is to deliver positive results for the company. A great leader knows that one of his/her primary objectives is to develop his/her employees and support them in learning new skills and assuming increased responsibilities. Sometimes that means keeping your employees engaged and promoting them up through the ranks of your company. Sometimes that means developing them even if they pursue new opportunities elsewhere.
We want to keep our best people engaged and enable them to transition internally as much as possible. To do so, consider your succession plans for your top leadership positions and most critical job functions. Who is going to assume these roles over time? Provide ongoing mentoring and coaching to your high-performers to develop their leadership skills, and make step-level promotions to begin transferring management responsibilities to your high-potential leaders. Not all employees are interested in let alone capable of being promoted though, so keep in mind that some employees may not fit into your long-term plans. If so, sometimes it’s better to let them go so that they can find a better fit elsewhere rather than keep them on board.
Employee engagement is the degree to which your employees are psychologically invested in your organization and motivated to contribute to its success. Engagement results in your employees’ investing their discretionary effort to achieve the organization’s goals. If you want to use your employee’s life-cycle experience to drive engagement, start small with a pilot program in a key business area or with a high-value position. Also, celebrate your early successes and continue to assess the results you achieve in line with your long-term objectives.
Do you want to achieve peak performance in your organization? Give us a call at 310.589.4610 or email us today for specific recommendations on how to enhance your employees’ life-cycle experiences. You might also visit the Organizational Assessment page of our website for more information on how best to assess what your employees want and need in this critical Talent Management arena. Just do something, or you’re likely to lose some of your best people before and after they walk in your door!