Most people spend long holiday weekends resting. Not me. Our growing season here in New England is so short, that if you don’t get your seedlings and plants in by Memorial Day, you won’t stand a chance of reaping the rewards that come with a flourishing garden.
So, I’ve spent the past several days, weeding, tilling the soil, running to the garden center multiple times, and putting in my plantings, while everyone else I know is relaxing at the beach.
I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t envious of my friends and neighbors.
However, I keep reminding myself that putting in the time and effort now, will make my life much more pleasant in the future. Later this summer, I’ll be able to relax on my deck surrounded by a beautiful garden.
I noticed many organizations are in “chill mode” and aren’t putting in the work that needs to be done to fully staff their organizations, now or in the future. Sure, they’re posting dozens of “We’re hiring” messages daily. But think about it. If this approach worked, they wouldn’t be posting the same messages over and over again.
In ideal growing conditions, plants can thrive, as can talent in organizations. I write about this extensively in my recent book, Evergreen Talent: A Guide to Hiring and Cultivating a Sustainable Workforce.
Here are three key takeaways from Evergreen Talent.
- We tend to look at organizations that appear to be grand and we forget that at some point in time, these companies started out as seedlings. Somewhere along the way, the leader searched for the right people to plant in the organization. The leader made sure the conditions were fertile for growth. Care and attention were given to new hire to ensure they thrived where they were planted.
As the workforce matured, other successful employees sprouted and flourished under the guidance of seasoned veterans. Collaborations between new and experienced talent grew a prosperous, vibrant organization at every level.
Nowadays, the biggest challenge my clients face is attracting talent that will stick around.
I find myself consistently pondering the same question:
How is it that some companies appear to effortlessly hire and retain people, while other companies seem to be in a constant state of hiring because they can’t fill positions or their people leave so soon after they’ve arrived?
The answer is simple.
World-class companies treat their employees as well as they treat their best customers.
They take the time to nurture relationships with prospective employees before needing to add to their headcount, and they continuously work to strengthen their bond with current employees. As a result, the company reputation of these organizations—also known as “employer brand” –is as strong as some of the world’s top-selling products.
- To achieve similar results within your organization, you’ll most likely need to do some clear-cutting. I’m talking about weeding out the excuses that choke even the best-intentioned companies. Rationalizations run rampant throughout organizations and serve as justification for having a less than exceptional workforce.
It’s not uncommon to hear:
- Everyone in our industry is having a difficult time finding and keeping people. I can assure you, someone in your industry has the lion’s share of talent. That someone might not be you—just yet, but could be if you stopped using this excuse.
- It’s the job of HR to hire and develop people. Actually, it’s the job of the hiring manager to recruit and develop team members.
- People are lucky to have a job with us. Current record levels of low unemployment render this argument inaccurate.
You have to stop buying into these myths, if you want to stand tall and have others look up to your organization in admiration.
- Employers today are in desperate need of talent—and this isn’t limited to the open positions in an organization that need to be filled. Executives would like to believe their workplaces are overflowing with exceptional workers. However, this is rarely the case.
In my role as a consultant, I’m often asked to work with the senior leadership team to assess talent. As part of this process, I take clients through an exercise I like to call, Next Stop, Growth.” This exercise begins with a discussion about the future state of the organization.
I ask the leadership team questions like, “Where is the organization heading in the next year or two? How will things be different as a result of this shift? What skills will people need to be successful in this new environment?”
Once we get clear on the destination and what we’ll need in terms of talent, the next step is preparation for the upcoming expedition. A great deal of time is spent answering the question, “Who will be going with us on our new journey, and who should disembark here.?”
This is where the rubber hits the road. When asked to think critically and strategically about the future of their organization, it begins to dawn on the leadership team that the talent they thought they had really isn’t all that spectacular. Executives immediately start discussing plans to move mediocre employees out to make room for their dream team.
Your assignment: So, as you think about the state of your workforce, consider the following questions:
- How often do you hire people, only to ignore them once they’re on board? When you do this, what opportunities are you missing? What can be done differently in your organization to prevent “hire and ignore” practices from occurring?
- Do you have a lot of talent in your organization, or might you be mistaken? What metrics are you using to assess the talent you think you have?
- What’s your commitment level to growing talent? How willing are you to hold managers accountable for the development of their people?
Investing time now to tend to your talent will prepare your organization well for whatever the future may hold.
Ready to create an Evergreen Talent Strategy® that will regenerate for years to come? Let’s get growing. Schedule a call with me.