Talent development, succession planning, leadership training – call it what you want . . . but be serious about it.
In most organizations, talent development is probably the most under-budgeted, under-staffed, under-creative, and underutilized department in the organization.
The First Thing To Go
I know a person who was laid off three months ago when his entire Talent Development Department was eliminated due to budget cuts.
Anyone in training or HR knows the old saying, “Training is always the first one to go.”
It happens over and over again, when actually during budget cuts is not the time to cut talent development. But that’s just one portion of the whole picture.
Looking to the Past for Hope
What I’ve been seeing so much of lately is that leaders don’t want to try anything “new” and they don’t want to invest any (more) money. They want to stick to the same old tried and true models.
So when they go to hire, most leaders look mainly at things like this:
“What you’ve done in the past…”
“What positions you have had in the past…”
Rather than looking forward at things like this:
“What you can do for us now…?”
“What you can bring to us in the future…?”
In this day and age (and economy,) no one can simply rest on their laurels, so to speak.
A Healthy Understanding
We have seen through numerous studies over the last few years that money is not the number one thing employee’s want from their jobs. Up around the top of most desired benefits from employment is usually something to do with development/promotion opportunities.
Consequently, it’s the job of the HR and organization leaders to stop and say, “Hey, we need to start looking at this more seriously and investing in it”.
According to a recent survey by Burson-Marsteller and global research training firm Great Place to Work, the top two programs that help companies achieve stability are Branding (75%) and Career Development (75%). What’s that? Career development? Hmmmm.
When you only hire someone on the grounds of what he HAS done in the past – over and over – then that’s what you’re going to get, the same OLD stuff. Not only does leadership need to look at what the person HAS done, but what he CAN do, and WILL do in the future, and build upon that.
Modern Day Training and Development
There have been so many advances in training techniques over just the last few years. The days of the instructor standing at the front of the room talking about textbook theories (boooooring…..) are gone – or should be.
Now we can add video, audio, animation, Internet links, and infographics to our PowerPoints (remember to keep your slides simple).
We can make it easier for employees to get access to training with online courses using such programs as Lectora or Captivate. We can get the message out to more people at one time with social media, Go-to-Training, Google hangouts or your own built in video/teleconferencing.
And don’t forget about team facilitation, gaming, and other types of interactive programs. There are countless ideas if you just look for them.
Looking Fresh. Feeling Fresh.
Don’t hire the guy that’s done the same thing over and over for 25 years. That’s just going to get you the same thing that he started out with and has been regurgitating for years.
Hire for experience AND knowledge AND attitude.
If you look at the most successful organizations today, you’ll see that they do just that – Disney, Zappos, Wegman’s. And sometimes the focus is mainly on attitude. That way you have a better chance of people “fitting” in the organization and staying longer.
But leadership also has to do their part. unfortunately, quite often they just hire and hope for the best. This is quite sad because developing your talent from within is one of the most important aspects and advantages of your business. This is what employee’s want and what your organization needs.
Creating a Magic Kingdom
Here’s a good example. The Walt Disney Company (my fave). I would LOVE to get a job there training with the Disney Institute, HR, or about anything else for that matter. However, that may not ever happen. Disney does a great job of promoting from within.
They do that with a lot of cross-training and putting cast members in positions where their knowledge of the organization will work best . . . like training.
Facilitators at the Disney Institute and Disney Traditions (orientation) classes have all come up within the organization. In fact cast members who facilitate in Traditions may very well be heading to work at the Jungle Cruise or Tower of Terror after class.
A Final Note:
Leaders – the composition of the office has changed, and you have to acknowledge that. We now have FOUR generations of workers in our businesses:
- Mature/World War II Generation (born before 1946)
- Baby Boomers (1946–1965)
- Generation X (1966–1980)
- Generation Y/Millennials (1981–2000)
I guarantee you that the Gen-X’s and Gen-Y’s do not learn well in the same ways as the previous two generations. So for leaders and the people in charge of the organizational health, it is highly important to train and develop in ways that work for EVERYBODY!
So ask yourselves a couple of these questions:
Where is my organization honestly headed? What do my employees want? How many employees do I lose to competitors who develop them better than me? What’s my next step? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development and Customer Service Specialist
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | (727) 568-5433
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Just a couple of quick comments. I have a saying. “You’re not buying what I was, you’re buying who I am now.”….Interviewing seems to be focused on “Tell me a time questions”…which understandingly gives us an idea of past behaviour and actions, but tells us nothing of the growth of the person, nor the potential…. I have also recently dealt with companies where HR seemed more focused on protecting the company and/or execs in the company..than on developing their people.
I couldn’t agree more, Andy! Thanks for this insightful – and real – look at the situation!