How to Use Talent as a Corporate Differentiator

Man in a Business suit picks one red cartoon figure out of many in grey to select only one to lead

The results of our recent proprietary organizational alignment research powerfully support the premise that there is an optimum combination of business strategy, corporate culture and talent to
maximize performance. When Strategy, Culture and Talent are aligned, companies significantly outperform their peers in terms of revenue, profits, customer satisfaction, leadership effectiveness and employee engagement.

But peak performance does not necessarily start with having the best talent.

Before investing in sweeping talent initiatives, start by making sure that your business strategy is perceived to be clear, believable and implementable by those who need to execute it.  If people do not have confidence in the strategic direction or if their goals and accountabilities are unclear, your talent investments will be diluted.  Once your strategy is clear enough to act, your next step is shape and align your high performance culture for that specific strategy.  You will know you are on the right path when your corporate culture is understood and consistently leveraged to get desired results.  Hiring top talent into a toxic or unaligned corporate culture is a recipe for conflict, disengagement and attrition.

Once your business strategy is clear and your organizational culture is aligned enough, it is time to attract, develop, engage and retain talent that fits your unique situation. We define talent as the workforce that leaders build and manage to create a unique advantage their competitors cannot replicate. One good indicator of success on the talent side of the equation is observing that people who are a good cultural fit are most likely to be high performers.

If you want to build talent at your company so that it becomes a differentiator that boosts you well ahead of your competition, make sure that you put the right talent in the right positions at the right time.  Also make sure that you wisely invest in key players in the key positions that matter most.  Here is what you need to make it happen:

  1. The full support and commitment of the executive team.
    Leadership should set the tone, provide the resources (time, money and support) and hold line managers, not Human Resources, accountable for selecting, engaging, developing and retaining the talent that will get the job done in the way it needs to be done. While HR can certainly play an important role, line managers have a profound impact on your ability to attract, engage and retain talent.  Great leaders attract talent.  Great leaders develop talent.  And great leaders create an environment that allows people to perform at their peak.  If leaders do not consistently value and reward people as their most important resource, it is difficult to have the required talent practices in place to recognize and retain top talent.
  2. A talent planning and recruitment strategy that aligns with your organizational culture and supports your business goals.
    Know your true culture well enough that you can use your corporate values, practices and behaviors to bolster your selection process. Do not be fooled into hiring for your aspirational culture. Make sure your employee brand reflects the day-to-day realities and attracts the talent you want…the talent that fits in with your culture and is likely to stay for the long haul.  For example, a recent high growth client’s culture has been described as aggressive, fast moving, direct, confrontational, sink-or-swim, and results-oriented.  If new employees survive the first year, they tend to stay for the long haul – which is good.  But the first year attrition rate is 37% and increasing – which is bad.  The true culture is not accurately described on the company website or fully revealed in the current interview process.  A more authentic interviewing and screening process that uncovers cultural fit could save the firm both time and money as they struggle with finding adequate resources to support their 40% year-over-year growth.
  3. Be specific about your expectations and hold employees to the standards you have spelled out.
    To achieve high performance, you need to create and stand behind performance goals that are clear, accurate, transparent, fair, achievable and relevant. Not only do you need to consistently recognize high performers, but you must also ensure that low, non-improving performers move on so high performers stay engaged and motivated without lowering the performance bar. Employees need to understand how their job performance is measured and believe that performance evaluations are fair and appropriate.
  4. Provide meaningful development.
    Keep employees at their performance peak with targeted learning and development opportunities that enhance the most important skills required to increase current and future performance. For the best results, make sure that the desired performance improvements and targeted skills matter to three levels of stakeholders: (1) the individual, (2) their boss and (3) the business.  We call this 3×3 Relevance.  Without it, your chances for behavior change and performance improvement are slim.  Employees want to know that leaders are willing to make investments to make them more successful.  They want their job to provide the chance to learn and grow.  Do you provide enough opportunities for employees to learn new skills that will help them to succeed?
  5. Measure, review and recognize performance often.
    Quality coaching and frequent feedback practices will encourage the behaviors you seek. As a manager, be accessible, open and straightforward as you interact with your employees. Make sure employees know where they stand and provide the unwavering support they need to succeed.  Goals and accountabilities should be clear to everyone on the team and people should feel confident that, if they contribute to the organizations success, that they will be recognized.
  6. Share the mission, vision and importance of people with all employees.
    Talent kept in the dark or underappreciated will fade. Keep the core purpose of the company in front of everyone so they can believe in what you want to accomplish as a company. You want your people to feel a part of the team and be confident that leaders of the organization are setting the right course.  Then, let people know how they fit into the company’s future plans.  To increase employee engagement, have a clear and explicit talent strategy that shows how the leaders of the organization are committed to making it a great place to work.

Share:
Facebook Twitter Google+ Email LinkedIn

Comments are closed.

We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.

Rae Phillips
HR Project Manager - Training & Development, PHR

In my years working with LSA, it seems like I’ve had a personal consultant at my fingertips to help me identify just the right solution to satisfy our needs. The entire LSA team has become a trusted friend of Actel — assuring we provide state-of-the-art learning to meet our complex, high-tech business and people needs.

Linda Mitchell
Training Manager

I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager

Rambus

Understanding and conforming to legal compliance was very important to our company. We turned to LSA Global to provide a quality and cost effective way to ensure that we were AB 1825 compliant. Their interactive eLearning program was top-notch. It allowed our managers to learn at their own pace, and on their own time. The program was tailored to include our logo and our internal harassment policies. It was interactive and met all federal and state legal requirements. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company looking for an efficient and effective and top quality way to train their managers to be in compliance.

Kelly Warren, SPHR
Director, HR & Compliance

LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

Mike Normant
Learning & Development

ebay

We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager

What a refreshing change from the half-baked psycho-babble you normally get from “training” organizations. LSA gives you the assistance you need to define and reach your goal, and then they give you a results driven plan – not just a temporary fix. They are great to work with, and even more importantly, they “get it!”

David Fiano
Vice President Human Resources

What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

Jeff Rangel
Director of HR

The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

Robert Breckner
Firmware Engineering Manager

I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.

Phyllis Moracco
HR Director

LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.

Ken Boehm
VP of Human Resources

LSA helped change our entire culture around meetings, making them more effective and efficient, thus enabling us to concentrate on driving more business.

Terry Wassman
VP of Human Resources

LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

Chris Wells
Vice President, HR and IT

In the Next Generation Management Development courses, I was trained with skills and tools that have made me and my team more productive, motivated, and successful at communicating with other departments.

 

Kevin Ashman
Firmware Engineering Supervisor

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More