(Photo by Brian Baiamonte)
THE EXECUTIVE: Devin Lemoine, owner and president, Success Labs
THE SESSION: Creating a plan to strengthen your employees
Turnover. Brain drain. Succession planning. These words can strike dread in the hearts of leaders. As owner and president of Success Labs, Devin Lemoine helps leaders channel that anxiety and create talent development plans that set their businesses up for long-term success. That means dealing with challenging employees in a productive way, as well as keeping rock stars happy and on the right track. Lemoine offers these three ways to turn talent development from a stress-inducer into a strength.
1. Start with a plan. For many of the companies we work with, talent management doesn’t bubble up as a priority until they unexpectedly lose a talented employee or they realize there’s no one to promote to replace an aging owner or senior leader. The good news is that talent management and basic succession planning don’t have to be complicated or take up all your time to have a positive impact on your company. Start with your business’ strategic goals and plan. (If you haven’t worked on this in a while, it’s a great time to start.) Then think about the human resource implications of those goals. What kind of people will you need to make your vision a reality, whether it’s a plan for growth, expansion into new markets, a merger or acquisition, or even weathering a tough economy? All these things can affect your talent management plan.
2. Assess your culture and talent pool. Make sure you scout your organization for high-potential employees, whose impact on your business can be huge. Sometimes high-potential employees aren’t easy to spot. Many college football players have less-than-stellar NFL Combine performances but end up being great (Odell Beckham Jr.’s bench press was 222nd out of 225 wide receivers tested since 1999). Others who are drafted with great promise end up being average or worse (JaMarcus Russell). Many leadership qualities do not emerge except over time and under fire. Development experiences and visibility are the best way to cultivate emerging leaders. So when you measure high-potentials, look deeply. Find employees who work well with others, deliver results, solve problems and are comfortable with change. Also, look for learning agility. It’s the single biggest differentiator between successful and unsuccessful leaders.
3. Close the gaps. Once your business goals are defined and you’ve assessed your company culture and talent pool, it’s time to develop and implement the right strategies to close those gaps. We really encourage companies to think beyond just a one-time class or a program and think more holistically about their long game related to talent management. Invest in those strategies that are most important to driving your business goals. This could include strategic recruitment, improving your value proposition with employees, creating new career paths, investing in career and leadership development, team planning, succession planning and knowledge transfer activities. These things won’t just happen on their own. And with 10,000 baby boomers a day reaching age 65, retention rates on the decline, and a young talent pool untethered from the idea of long term employment with one company, the need for talent management and succession planning isn’t going away. At the end of the day it’s about creating an environment where leadership and careers can flourish, which positions your business to thrive.
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