Posts Tagged ‘career development’

Find, Develop and Keep the Best Employees

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News & Observer column, The View from HR.

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

When the economy crashes, a blindfolded rhinoceros could find good people to fill open jobs. When labor markets tighten, great hires are in short supply again. It is a cycle as predictable as the tides. Finding, developing and keeping great talent is not complex. It is hard, expensive and time consuming. It means you know what the role requires, what your culture rewards and what your tolerance is for variations. Tight labor markets mean it is time to think differently. Our organization teaches best and next practices to HR professionals and managers. Here are some tips for small and mid-size employers.

People are Human

Every employee eventually reveals their humanity. The key to great hiring is learning what makes this applicant human before you make the hire.  Internal hires, promotions, employee referrals, social networks and live networking give you free previews. References will lie and interviews are usually terrible predictors of future success.  Certain assessment tools will help, if you understand which tool suits your specific needs. Maximize your funnel of applicants that you know something about! Fill that funnel in advance of a need.

Be Specific and Demanding

Spend as much time screening out as you do screening IN. How will you find the best fit if you cave on your criteria early? Look for legitimate job-related reasons to eliminate applicants:  not typos on resumes, but a true lack of skills, experience, desire, capacity and fit. You may have time to purposefully modify your requirements later. For now, stick to your guns.

Interview for Successful Experience

If the role requires experience or judgment, spend interview time on these things. This is not the time to explain your company culture or role requirements. This is the time to test for them. If an applicant cannot describe their solid sales process, it is unlikely they will be an immediate contributor on your sales team. Resist the temptation to overlook serious gaps with the hope energy and effort will prevail.

Get it

Successful, growing businesses are unique. Their best employees “get it,” embracing that uniqueness. Short of a hostile or illegal environment, each employer still has the right to select people who “get” their uniqueness and their customers. A tech start up has a very different “it” than a drywall contractor. Know the “it” and hire people who get “it.”

Developing People
Your best people want development, on the job experiences, rotations and new assignments. The best employees deserve mentoring and coaching.
Training is another great way to introduce new skills.  The point is, development is important for employers to get the most from employees but is also an important retention tool. Good people leave workplaces that offer no growth.

Keep the Best

Great people quit for many reasons, both preventable and unavoidable. Managers are surprised to learn these reasons:

  1. Unrealistic pre-hire expectations
  2. People will exchange some pay for some flexibility, but it must be real flexibility
  3. Employees who feel ignored by their manager may look elsewhere

Stop allowing the economy to guide your commitment to talent acquisition and retention. Grab the reins!

The Benefits of Building Mentor/Mentee Relationships

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

All professionals, no matter the industry, utilize outside resources to fulfill specific needs. Whether employees are engaging with personal contacts, industry networking groups, the Internet or management leaders, there is always an underlying professional motivation – to achieve career growth and advancement by properly accessing available tools. These resources provide specific benefits and assist in addressing career challenges, uncovering new industry information, and enhancing personal skill sets, but often employees overlook and neglect the advantages that professional mentoring relationships have to offer.

A mentor can be defined as a source of career guidance and counseling.  An untapped resource, mentor relationships have long existed, but in many organizations have yet to be fully incorporated as a critical component of successful career strategies. Establishing a solid mentor relationship has proven advantageous for both the organization and the individual, so consider the following benefits that mentors have to offer and encourage your staff to build their own relationships.

Open and honest communication – To avoid a tense working environment, straightforward dialogue among coworkers is often avoided. But if the majority of mentors reside outside the company walls, employees can feel comfortable being honest and frank about their experiences, struggles and concerns, and mentors can provide sincere feedback without becoming involved in office politics.

Network Expansion – Mentoring relationships aren’t solely focused on conversation. Often mentors open windows of opportunity by connecting mentees to their own professional networks. With new exposure, employees broaden their industry connections, bring recognition and awareness to the company brand, and provide the organization with additional connections and business contacts.

Outside perspectives – Relationships that are not directly involved within the heart of an organization help provide a clear point of view. As a sounding board for direction, mentors can support, counsel and provide clarification for employees from a third-party perspective.

Healthy workplace culture – With a fresh perspective, employees return to the job with a better insight and understanding of work-related issues and how they individually function within the overall goals of the company. This outlook inevitably benefits the organization at large by promoting a stronger commitment and increase in productivity levels.

Bridging the gap – Miscommunication is bound to occur in the workforce, and often happens between the generational gaps. With the communication, trust and insight that come from mentoring relationships, the gap of communication can be closed and replaced with an improved understanding among employees.

Have you experienced the benefits of serving as a mentor? Are you a young professional seeking career guidance and support?  Tell us about your experiences.

For additional information, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Career Development Seen as Critical for Talent Management

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

A recent survey from Hewitt Associates produced some eye-opening results on the importance of career development in recruiting and retaining employees.

The survey, conducted in March and April 2010, includes data from HR professionals at 193 large employers.  In a result that will be surprising to most, 30 percent of survey participants said that career development is more important to their employees than pay as a reward strategy with an additional 55 percent saying it was of equal importance.

Further, 77 percent say that career development is either “much more” or “more” important to their company’s talent strategy than it was five years ago.

Mysteriously, this awareness of the importance of career development has not led to companies strengthening their employee growth initiatives.  Of those surveyed, 72 percent said they do not have a defined workforce planning process that addresses critically needed capabilities.  And only 10 percent said they were satisfied with the current career development programs at their company.

In regards to career development philosophy, 62 percent said their employees are in charge of their own development with some guidance from their manager.  Further, 85 percent described employees’ perception of career development opportunities as “some” or “limited.”

The absence of career development programs offers your company an opportunity to differentiate itself as an employer.  Make career development a key part of your recruiting and retention strategy.  Start with the basics.  Here are five things you can do to promote career development in your organization:

1.  Openly and frequently communicate that your organization believes in career development

2. Highlight the different ways you are helping employees learn new skills or develop in their craft

3. Encourage employees to seek out and find career development opportunities

4. Be sure employees are trained in the basic skills that are necessary to be successful in their position

5.  Require managers to discuss career development with their employees and to create a plan for each employee

Career development is especially important to Generation X and Millennial employees.  A good way to encourage their career development is to set up a formal mentoring program in your organization to match a younger employee up with a more experienced employee.

Clearly the data from the survey shows that career development needs to be an integral part of your talent management strategy.  If you have questions about recruiting and retaining employees or career development plans, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Simon Blackley