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.

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

For our go to training outsourcing partner, LSA provides exactly what we want. As always, they deliver outstanding work!

Elizabeth Siebert
Director, Organizational Excellence & Development

Intuit

We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

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

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

LSA Global’s consultant brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for two key executive positions we needed to fill, and their consultant helped us develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. I am confident that the two new executives joining our organization have the right skills to add significant value. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.

Because of the unique nature of our business, Excel is a core application in our accounting organization. After three attempts to find an Excel consultant who is capable of helping our finance team integrate advanced applications into our work processes we found LSA and Alex. He was not only a “Real” Excel expert but was masterful in helping us identify where to use Excel applications in our processes to increase our group’s efficiency.

SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO

LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.

Mitch Mandich
CEO

Edify

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

I’ve partnered with LSA Global at two companies now, and I consider them a valuable and trusted training and consulting resource. They recommended just the right solution to address our management development needs and have wonderful facilitators that match YuMe’s culture and style of our management team. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions with a valuable learning and development partner.

Maya Paul
HR Director

The LSA Global team was very receptive and flexible to our needs every step of the way. Their staff and facilitator demonstrated attention to detail, responsiveness, and professional courtesy. The participants were thrilled with the outcome and rated the communication skills workshop and the facilitator as ‘Excellent’. I’d highly recommend working with the LSA Global team to meet your professional development needs.

John Mastrorilli
FRDP Leader

Intuit

SeaTel has found our partnership with LSA Global to be very valuable and beneficial. We turned to LSA to customize a supervisory/leadership solution to meet our needs. LSA delivered a customized top quality solution. I’d recommend LSA Global to any company looking for a best-in-class training and consulting partner.

Kortney Riddle
HR Manager

LSA’s customized Effective Presentation Skills program has helped me elevate my presentation skills to the next level. I now have a much greater self-awareness of my presentation skills and can leverage off of my strengths while working to improve upon other areas. I would definitely recommend this solution to anyone for whom business presentations are an integral part of their job.

Jim Elliott
Senior Marketing Manager

Samsung

I have worked with LSA Global at previous companies and welcomed the opportunity to bring them in to support my new organization. We worked closely with LSA to design a solution for our Client Partner Teams and Management Training on both coasts. LSA designed a customized solution for our business and organizational culture. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner that makes an impact.

Laurie Torres
Chief People Officer

We recently contacted LSA Global to assist us with a unique training request. We gave LSA a very short deadline and LSA custom designed a training program to meet our exact requirements within the limited time allotted to them. We found their facilitator to be well versed in the subject matter and very credible; the design provided practical and valuable information to our team of managers. I highly recommend LSA Global, particularly in the area of management training.

Julaine K. Souza
Senior Vice President

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