Three Keys to Talent Development


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Peter Gibbons (employee): The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy; it’s that I just don’t care.
Bob Porter (consultant): Don’t…don’t care?
Peter Gibbons: It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime, so where’s the motivation? And here’s something else, Bob. I have eight different bosses right now.
Bob Slydell: I beg your pardon?
Peter Gibbons: Eight bosses.
Bob Slydell: Eight?
Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

Remember the film Office Space (1999), the satire on corporate culture that had us laughing at the many ways a company’s managers humiliated its employees and how its employees exacted revenge. Did the movie exaggerate corporate culture? OK, perhaps a little bit. But too often, company executives pay lip service to the idea that their employees are their greatest asset and don’t carry that idea beyond the PowerPoint presentation. If a company really does value its employees, it needs to consider the following:

1. Aligning goals: It’s not unusual for the various divisions of a company to get out of sync because their goals are different. If employees feel as if they’re simply following dictates they have little input in creating, they may not buy into the goals or work toward them. And that could – and often does – hurt the quality of the service or product being produced. An employee who is heard feels more of a partnership and takes pride in his or her daily work and how he or she represents the company. Companies can overlook the importance of having companywide goals set at an employee level, having only department wide goals. This leaves only some managers and above with a vision of what the company is striving for. Companies managing in this manner fail to see the cost savings in sharing a high level view of company direction with their employees, causing a lack of urgency, understanding, motivation and possibly a sense of job security at the employee level.

2. Developing Skills: In a lagging economy, it’s easy for company managers to say: We can’t afford training right now. What they fail to see is that although training can be an added expense, turnover can be even more costly. Employees who don’t feel a sense of growth are apt to leave for challenges elsewhere. So why not focus more on investing in the initial expense of training employees than the later expense of having staff leave all too soon for jobs outside the company.

3. Mobilizing Talent: Part of enabling staff at all levels to feel empowered is to not let them stagnate in the same position if they aspire to another job and have the talent to take it on. Thinking ahead means helping an employee move up or over within the company if the employee proves he or she has the skill and ambition to do that. While it may be challenging at first for that employee’s boss to have him or her transfer out of a division, in the long run, the company will gain.

The investment in a company’s workforce is well worth the return. The resulting value that employees feel gives value back to the company by cultivating a loyal and engaged staff and attracting new talent.

Alan See
Alan See is Principal and Chief Marketing Officer of CMO Temps, LLC. He is the American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year for Content Marketing and recognized as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential CMO's on Social Media" by Forbes. Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.


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