So you think you and your company are great at developing and managing your employees? Really? So where’s the proof?

I have had the opportunity over the past several months to interview some really smart and successful executives and business owners for a talent management book I am writing.  And one of the questions I have had for them is “how are you developing your employees for sustained growth and how do you know you are being successful?” 

Well for some leaders who take managing and developing their talent seriously, it is more than talk; it’s about taking action and then measuring. For one company, the majority of their employees were hourly blue-collar employees. Yet the CEO understood that, these employees were the engine of the company.  He also understood that some of them might have greater potential than what they were currently able to demonstrate because their day was filled with washing and ironing linens.

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Look for a Development Opportunity

So when a hospital had problems with how their linen carts were arranged, the front line employee became part of the solution. No longer was it the account manager responsible for the solution because they weren’t implementing the solution.  The solution was going to be the responsibility of the front line employee; she was the one who had to make the solution work back at the plant.

This simple talent management tactic uncovered hidden potential out on the shop floor. Suddenly, employees had the opportunity to demonstrate their problem solving abilities, which they hadn’t had in the past. Not only did this tactic uncover hidden talent, it also streamlined communications, which increased customer satisfaction. As a leader, look for opportunities to stretch employees’ current skills. You will often be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

What low cost development programs such as the job enrichment program above have you implemented that provided great results for your employees?

The CEO had a philosophy of “don’t put yourself over others”, lead employees so they can fill their own aspirations by providing the tools and resources necessary to get line workers to the next level in the organization.

Measuring Success

As for measuring the results of talent management, there were two key metrics: percent of internal promotions, and increased skills. The goal for internal promotions was that 80% of all promotions come from within the organization. And for those that were hired above a line worker, job rotations through production and trucking/distribution were required before taking on a management role. 

As for helping employees move up in the organization, employees were encouraged by their managers to take additional in house training and gain certifications which would build their skill set and provide opportunities for future advancement. Employees were publicly recognized for their accomplishments and many times.  The metric tracked by the company was the percent of employees who had increased their skills during the year. 

How are you measuring your talent management and development programs to determine their effectiveness? And if you aren’t, what are your plans to develop and implement one?