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.

I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

Tracy Esposito
Director, HR Business Partner

sonycomputer-large

LSA custom designed a Management Development program that is absolutely “on target” for our technical managers. Their facilitator has done a superb job delivering the material in a way that is fast paced, highly interactive, and fun. She presents practical solutions to the people situations that our managers face every day. I regard LSA as an excellent partner that understands our business needs and a virtual member of our HR department.

Judith Onton
Vice President Human Resources

cortina-large

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

Polycom-large-gray

I am very impressed with the quality of work and talent. LSA did a great job of listening to my needs and providing the exact management training program expertise I needed to get the job done.

Don Pryor
Director, Business Planning & Analysis

Skyy-large-gray

Avon’s success is dependent on strong relationships among our Customers, Representatives, Associates, and outside resources we hire to help us meet our business objectives. We were very pleased with the results from working with LSA Global to design and facilitate a custom program for our events management team. LSA demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, and an innovative approach to working with us.

Deanna Rudnitsky
Senior Manager, HR Destiny Sales Region

avon-large

Each program is preceded by an assessment of the participants. The course is then designed to fit the specific parameters and needs of the group. The highly interactive delivery is provided by recognized experts in their fields. On the spot coaching is provided during the program and each participant receives individual follow-up after the course. Courses can be delivered in-person or virtually. Given the nature of Cisco’s business and the way we operate, these remote workshops are a must for anyone who joins our company. Their work is eye opening. Great content and fantastic delivery.

Frank J. Kuypers
Business Development Manager

cisco-large

LSA has become the gold standard in team building and management training at Genomic Health! I have a hard time finding facilitators that come close to their level of customization, expertise and experience.

Emily Couey
Director of Human Resources

genomic-large

Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

Janice Passarello
Director of Human Resources

harmonic-large

VNUS Medical has been very pleased with the effective management development programs that LSA Global has delivered for us over the last four years. The programs have been universally facilitated by experienced and best in class instructors. The knowledge gained by our management team has been put into practice very quickly. VNUS is very happy to be working in partnership with LSA because they consistently deliver excellent programs that receive exceptional feedback from our management team.

Cindee Van Vleck
Director Human Resources

VNUS-large-gray

LSA provided top notch solutions right when and how we needed them. They exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and cost standpoint. I recommend them to anyone looking for a true business partner in the Learning and Development arena. The breadth and depth of their expertise has helped us hit tight deadlines across multiple projects.

Fortune 500 Financial Services Company
Director of Infrastructure & Technology

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

IGT-large-gray

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

aeroprecision-large

Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

Susan Anderson
Workforce Planning Bureau

MDT-large-gray

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

actel-large

We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.

Margie Bunting
HR Manager

Siemens-large-gray

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

icon_expert-blog

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