Talent Management – Creating Space

Creating space in the business for new talent is all about renewal… new professionals, new perspectives, new ideas, and building a bank of future leaders.

“Exporting Talent” (ref: post May 17, 2018)  is one way to “Create Space” and add additional talent to the organization.  Vacancies created by lateral development transfers and promotions create opportunities to fill new vacancies with even more talent.

Yet another very necessary method of creating space is using due process to move along non-performers to appropriate different positions (getting the round peg in the round hole) or out of the organization entirely.

Some comments about due process:  No surprises is the key – this means the professional has had meaningful performance reviews, understands their short-comings with respect to position requirements, has been given coaching and an opportunity to improve, and in the end is not surprised by the organization’s decision to reposition them in a different position or separate them from the business.  This of course assumes the professional has been on the job for sufficient time to perform.

Due process relies on established objectives for the position which are the basis for measuring a professional’s performance.  Accomplishing specific projects, meeting established milestones, having the necessary skills to perform the job, and appropriate ethical and professional behavior are major factors in  performance based, due process driven employment decisions. The post under “Success”, Talent Management – Recruiting and Selection, January 28, 2018, discusses the importance of professional behavior — “Effectiveness Competencies”

Removing non-performers is vital as it offers open positions for promotions and sends a message to other organizations’ professionals that there are standards of performance in the business.  For the manager who makes the decision to remove the employee, it is a vote of confidence in his ability to manage as professional employees usually are aware if employees with whom they interact fall short of the mark of performance excellence.

Failure to change out poor performers can be a morale killer in the department or business.  Poor performance, and other than professional behavior, is almost always visible to peers.  And supervisors and managers who lack the skills to professionally manage their people are usually visible to other professionals as well.

***** S&E *****

Talent Management – Exporting Talent—creating genuine value

We are talking about laterals or promotions from one department or company location to another — “Exporting” people to new positions to further their careers.  For many managers moving talent along to new opportunities is plainly just hard to do.  For skilled leaders, it is not.

Exporting talent strengthens the organization and sends clear, highly visible messages to other onboard professionals.  Moving talent says that the business is interested in and supports career growth.  And for those businesses who do this well and, who take the time to track statistical data associated with career growth, those businesses have a great story to tell and sell as an integral part of the recruiting process. Talent Management metrics are unbeatable when it comes to recruiting and the competition for talent.

Exporting talent broadens experience, presents new challenges,  new perspectives, new work environments, new learning situations, and new managers to test adaptability… all these  are advantages of lateral moves and promotions; that is  far from  an inclusive list. Global assignments are particularly valuable for the company and professionals who are willing and adaptable.  This list is a good example of the additives to career value.  And when compared to compensation it is clear that the latter does little to further a career.

When to export relies on the professional’s grasp of the skills and competencies developed in the present assignment.  It is not uncommon, and I so clearly remember this from my time in global work, to find many professionals having career time lines which had little flexibility.  Timelines that map out new assignments every two years, with no recognition that the learning provided on the current position has provided a strong basis for the next, can lead to failure on the next assignment.  Absent that recognition, inflexible timelines can prove to be a recipe for eventual failure.  It is management’s job to provide the coaching and mentoring to assure the move is appropriate and timely.

Exporting a ready professional is the highest reward for great performance. 

It requires time to sponsor a move, and, great, accurate communications. The process needs to anticipate the timing of the readiness of the professional.  It can take some planning and time to arrange the path.  Absent the appropriate timing and action, unwanted turnover can be the result.

Exporting talent also creates space… “creating space”, a topic dealt with in a later post.

***** S&E *****

Talent Management — “Killer Performance Reviews”

In this context, “Killer” is a good thing!

In the last related posting, April 9, 2018, the blog discussed Pay for Performance. That would prompt a specific discussion on the actual “performance Review”.

A simple description of a “Killer Performance Review”:  No surprises, both manager and employee are prepared, and both are satisfied or at least understand the outcome.Jump through hoops

It is very difficult to have a meaningful performance review if objectives were not established forming the basis for measurement over the period covered by the review.  So, the steps in the process might look like:  Establishing Objectives – Interim check points — on the spot recognition or assistance – the performance review itself.

Objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely, commonly known as SMART objectives.  The manager should communicate the department objectives.  The employee should draft the objectives with the manager scheduling a meeting to review the draft and discuss necessary adjustments. Both need to agree on the final set of objectives.

Interim check points: manager assesses if all is well with progress against objectives; as little as 30 minutes.  It is the employee’s responsibility to make sure the work is getting done.

On the spot recognition or assistance: encourage employee when it is clear progress is being made; provide assistance when it is apparent there are issues accomplishing objectives.

Performance Review:  dedicated time for manager and employee to discuss degree of accomplishment of established objectives.


(Haag receives an all time low performance evaluation)

Manager role:  sponsor the process, communicate schedule for discussing objectives and performance reviews, encouragement, and assist with removing barriers as necessary to get the work done.  Utilize the final review as a basis for compensation and planning of training and development actions to support performance and career path.

It is important that training and development planning and discussion is separate from the performance review.

Employee role:  do the work, recognize barriers and make manager aware, ask questions, obtain clarification as necessary, provide updates, ownership of work, generate drafts of objectives and in the final report of related accomplishments (sets stage for performance review.

It is to the employee’s advantage to issue a quarterly report highlighting progress against objectives.  There are several advantages:  Maintains focus on objectives, updates the boss, provides the boss a basis for reports to superiors which highlights the work of the department and the employee, is an opportunity to highlight exceptions and issues, makes preparation for the annual performance review a breeze !

The greatest barriers to making this process a success:

  • Poor time management (either or both – boss, employee)
  • Not setting objectives
  • Setting objectives that avoid the SMART specifications
  • Poor communications during the period
  • Changes in the management organization
  • Making significant changes in job content or objectives during the period (minor adjustments might be expected)
  • Poor leadership

***** S&E *****


Talent Management – Pay for Performance (P4P) (Performance Management Process)

It is good to strike a balance when discussing compensation.  It is not the only motivator.  Spend a little time on the web searching “what motivates employees”. Substantial, professional studies and documentation support the fact that compensation is just one factor.  Other factors, for example, include job challenges, promotional opportunities, skilled leaders and managers, recognition, communications, and career development and skills training.  That does not diminish the importance that P4P plays in engagement, motivation and retention of talent.

Above all else, the company might have a world-class performance management system in place, but the system is only as effective as the leaders and managers who implement it.  A highly respected executive I worked for had a favorite phrase she applied when we had issues with turnover and poor managers, “Join a company…quit a boss”.

What makes performance reviews an effective tool for evaluating performance and establishing a base for compensation:

  • Leadership commitment to the process
  • A well-defined, well-communicated process (see example graphic below)
  • Supervisors/leaders who are skilled in managing the process
  • Ongoing recognition for good work – P4P is not a once a year exercise
  • Brief discussions were needed improvement is observed
  • Pay increases that are commensurate with performance
  • Needed improvement is funneled into training and development (T&D) planning
  • Appropriate action taken, with due process, for non-performers
  • The employee has to own it; the manager administers and manages the process

P4P ver 5

Managers who do not set objectives…!  The employee has the option and needs to generate a set of objectives for the year, publish quarterly updates related to associated progress, and keep the immediate manager updated on progress.

Also see this blogs January 4, 2018 posting for background on compensation structure.

It is important to conduct training and development discussions separate from performance reviews although the later can be a basis for T&D discussions, planning, and action.

***** S&E *****

Talent Management – Developing Onboard Talent

TM image from IHRCC

If you are a manager with reporting employees, Developing Talent is an integral part of the job.

If you are a professional reporting to a supervisor or manager, the information below a good check list to assess if the boss and the company are concerned about your future.

If you are interviewing for a position, you might consider using this information in an interview as a guide to see if the company is going to help develop your career.

Developing people is one of the greatest contributions a manager can make for reporting professionals.  It is a great experience to see an employee develop and grow a career to greater heights.   In a prior post, “The Leader – Manager 80/20 Balance”, was discussed (Feb. 17, 2018).  Developing Talent is part of that 20%.  Talent Development actions follow (it is not an inclusive list):

Attend to Skills & Competencies for the short and longer range, particularly competencies.

Create Challenges in the position’s work to build diversity in the work, and develop creativity and problem solving ability.

Use Rotational Assignments to keep it interesting, provide variety, and broaden perspective.

Assign Projects to learn process and see accomplishment.  Working on project teams is especially valuable.

(Rotations and projects also create visibility in the organization and help develop future opportunities for those who have the runway).

Arrange for Mentors to provide another voice and listening alternative.

Be a Coach to fine tune performance and assist in removing barriers

Use Recognition — so powerful – especially in the presence of co-workers.  There are so many forms: small mementos (desk pieces, plaques), company news, on site luncheons, cookouts, bonuses, training programs, verbal comments, cards or notes, industry conferences, customer visits, etc.  Think of involving higher levels of management when appropriate. Consider formalizing recognition process to encourage use and help maintain consistency in use across the organization.

It is not all about money… many forms of recognition can be creative forms costing little.

Training and Development are not the same.

Compensation is important but it is not the only motivator – in the absence of development, careers stagnate and loss of talent can follow closely behind.


Talent Management – The Leader/Manager 80-20 Balance

This blog entry is primarily intended for leaders and managers (LM) who have direct reporting employees.  However, if you are one of those employees or seeking a new position, you should consider reading through this as this is what you should expect from or look for in your boss. The 80/20 can have significant retention implications.

Simply, 80 percent of the LM’s time should be dedicated toward doing his/her job. Typically this would include Planning, negotiating department or setting business objectives, budget management, building and applying functional expertise, and leveraging business acumen to influence organization resources for the department or business.

As importantly, the 80 percent also has an employee element.  This would include managing performance, compensation, career guidance and direction, training and development, sponsoring advancement for those who are ready, and creating space for new talent.   In short, creating space relates to exporting talent from the department for broader career opportunities and new challenges, and, using due process, removing people who are non-productive.  (More about creating space in a future post)

And the 20 percent:  The percentage of time expended assisting direct reporting employees in understanding and doing their jobs.

If the 80/20 ratio changes significantly (60 / 40 for example) the LM is probably spending an inordinate amount of time doing the job of others putting his own performance and that of the department at risk.  If it swings the other way (say 90/10) the LM is likely not sufficiently supporting the employees who support the productivity of the department or business.   In either situation, loss of key talent can also be a byproduct.

The 80/20 balance swings with situational leadership and management, but in the long haul it should be a key leader and manager guide post

There is a lot to be said for Time Management’s role in striking the 80/20 balance and its importance to LM and employee success.

***** S&E *****

A brief visit with “Leadership”

Some executives, great leaders, change the world; look at the tech giants for example.  Executives can change thousands of lives of the people associated with the business – employees, customers, suppliers, investors, and consumers to cite a few.  And, as well, communities.

Leaders touch, mold, and change the future, sometimes in small ways, sometimes the change is life changing.  One of my favorite quotes comes from teacher and astronaut, Christa McAuliffe, “I touch the future. I teach.”  Good teachers change many lives over their careers, as do many other professionals in various career occupations.

The personality of leadership encompasses many traits. Not among the least is Leadershipcourage.

I have seen people in organizations become global executives who never suspected or maybe even looked for a future that large.  And sometimes people just get better at their jobs (don’t change the world – it is all good).

There is just nothing more rewarding than investing time, and coaching, and mentoring, and providing guidance, and seeing a person reach goals, and make beneficial life decisions.  And, knowing that without that leadership, they may have otherwise not had the perspective or knowledge or skills to make those decisions or reach those goals.

And people who delve, or in some cases dive, into leadership roles can find that they learn as much as those who benefit from being associated with them.

And I committed to myself to stay away from political stuff on this blog… but if you would like to see the worst case, most dismal example, of leadership, observable by the world, there is always Washington, DC.  It is more enjoyable to focus on all the good examples out there.

***** S&E *****