This is not my first rodeo with regards to developing people. I have mentored over a dozen entrepreneurs; coached 250 blue collar staff in leadership & communication skills; and for the past decade have helped develop staff / leaders for numerous consulting clients.
My network primarily consists of Business Owners, Executives and decision makers. At numerous private gatherings the #1 statement I kept on hearing was: “I want to develop my people” and I started wondering what they meant by “developing their people.”
With the intent of learning more about what they had in mind, I asked them what People Development meant to them. Was it Professional – Personal or a combination of both?
Ninety-nine percent looked at me as if I asked them to solve a quantum physics problem. Basically they have the desire but few have an answer nor the time. I think some made that statement because it is a hot topic. Some felt that by sending people to periodic seminars was their development effort. After all of that, I still didn’t know what they meant or the desired end results.
I started asking numerous HR professionals the same question and although helpful, I did not hear nor see how the dots got connected.
So, I decided to ask two of the best HR/People Development experts I know. I started by asking a very accomplished & seasoned HR career professional who is at the Executive level and who has a track record of success in “Developing People.” I asked him (Gary) the same questions: What People Development meant to him? Was it Professional – Personal or a combination of both?
Gary’s answers were interesting and chock full of common sense. Below are some excerpts:
“My general definition of developing people is about positioning them for growth, ideally at the intersection of their passions and the needs of their organization. It includes focusing on how to enhance, highlight and expand upon what they do best already, and shore-ing up what they don’t. OR, building awareness of shortcomings so that they can manage around them.
A trick is that “ideal intersection”. To your question of “personal v. professional”, that’s sometimes a fuzzy line related to their passions! And, folks won’t develop that about which they don’t have passion . . .”
Gary helped me connect some dots that you cannot (should not) think professional without starting on a personal level. That, in my opinion, is a feat even for some of the best. The investment of time alone to conduct the research and help people identify at least some of those goals is huge. Most do not have that time (or skills required) and once every six months is not what I would call “personal.”
Then I asked another HR Executive Regina Sacha, a Top Gun in this field, a longtime friend, a very smart and successful woman who is at the top of her game in this area. I thought she is uniquely qualified to connect the dots and answer this first hand. Regina has won awards & recognition for her People and O.D. Development efforts at Fed Ex Custom Critical ($3B Div.) globally. I posed the same questions to Regina and also asked her to help me draw some logical conclusions. I also wanted to compare her thoughts & Gary’s.
“Dream with me and the return will be bountiful for morale, retention, enthusiasm, customer satisfaction and ultimately, business success!
People Development is essential for thriving and sustaining businesses be they large or small. It is directly related to employee morale, engagement and retention which impact the customer experience and your bottom line. It can’t be an isolated program or corporate buzz word. It must be inculcated into all People Systems to be believable, real, and supportive and to have impact upon your people resources. It begins with a core value of investing in your people and enabling growth and enrichment. It includes your listening systems, career planning and educational opportunities, mentoring, job enrichment, job sharing, job swapping, etc. All lend credence that people and their career growth matters and they are worth the time. It may surprise you that DREAMING with your employees about their lives and what motivates them ties directly back to their desire to apply energy and passion to their daily work. Dreaming puts everyone in the right frame of mind and elicits positivity. It is personal and development IS PERSONAL. You cannot separate the personal from the professional since you are interested in the holistic person. Do you care enough to see me? What motivates me? What my personal ambitions are? What are my big dreams and it all starts with investing the time on a personal level.
One size does not fit all! Personalize it. You might be surprised that you will discover high potentials and talents that were hidden and unleveraged in the organization. If you know what to look for.
In these demanding business times, it must fit the needs of the organization and the individual. It is doable without a lot of down time and distraction from the work a hand.
What should this process look like? People Development must be innovative, fresh, sincere and new to address the complex business and workforce needs.
It is about conversation and interest. Asking and listening vs. telling! Gathering data and or helping them to have clearer thoughts. Encouraging this exchange will open up the lines of communication on a number of fronts and improve work relationships.
The only way to do that is to conduct multiple conversations about themselves and truly care about the answers. This can be done over the phone, e-mail, and texts but it won’t work by having a 30-minute sit- down chat once every six months. That is “old school” and was fine with Boomers, not with Millennials.
You will see results right away by just “showing interest” and caring. This will improve attitudes and ultimately productivity. It does work. Give it a try!
It’s not difficult but it does take asking the right questions and someone’s investment of personal time and caring. Few Executives have that time these days but mostly have the desire/need to develop their People. If you have never done it before you may need some guidance to get started and help create the data you need to review.
People want to feel freedom to pursue their own goals and dreams at work. You may be able to give them the experience(s) and leverage their strengths.
Too often, performance discussions are only about “shortcomings.” While necessary, it must be balanced with leveraging strengths. Also, our non-verbal body language sends a message that you are important enough to invest this time. A performance discussion once or twice a year does not convey the interest and will fall flat with your current and future workforce.”
In conclusion we believe the data clearly indicates:
1. The time must be invested and on a personal level.
2. It involves dreaming and stimulating inner motivation.
3. People Development is doable.
4. It is essential to compete in today’s global/competitive markets.
5. It is essential for leveraging millennial talent and must be supported by all people systems (hiring, planning, rewards, compensation and people practices and policies.)
6. It translates directly to the customer experience and eventually, your bottom line!
Below we shared a few tips to get you started. The entire process is much more involved and multi-tiered but an Executive report that gives the Executive(s) a more complete personalized summary is a great way to get started. This can be done for as little as $100.
1. Sharing their “hidden” talents and realizing dreams can benefit both and asking and caring sends a message of concern and interest.
2. Focus upon what people do best and leverage that talent. It may surprise you that DREAMING with your employees about their lives and what motivates them ties directly back to their desire to apply energy and passion to their daily work.
3. It may mean that an extra or special assignment is made to provide the opportunity to do tasks or projects that they always wanted to do. Also, you may discover they always wanted to be on the front line when they are in the warehouse! A short “temporary duty” assignment might bring energy and light to the dreams of your people.
4. It can be as simple as asking your people what they most enjoy doing? What dream did they hold for their jobs? Picture them productive and happy and how does that picture compare to their strengths?
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to invest some of that personal time with your staff without you investing the research time yourself? Priceless.
A win for your employees; a win for the projects; and a win ultimately for your organization and relationships with your people.
You will find ideas and strengths in people you may not have noticed. If you harness this positive power, it can prove to become a win/win/win situation.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if you knew -
What someone’s career dreams are?
What they believe are their hidden talents.
Key thoughts to help retain them?
Of course it would! To help those Executives, we created a simple, new innovative solution that can get you started by delivering a simple report that will allow you to focus quickly on the key factors right away for as little as $100.
Unless your business operates under a rock or is 100% automated, staffing is becoming a greater challenge every day and the forecast is not promising. This business challenge won’t solve itself and unless you take proactive action soon, the negative impact will hit your bottom line.
The challenge deepens even further in the skilled trades’ arenas. In a previous article we looked at the Manufacturing Industry and the unique challenges they face.
In this article we focus on the Construction Industry, that has its own unique & complex challenges. One interesting fact that came out in our research was that unlike Manufacturing, the training programs for the construction industry appear to be top notch and well organized, especially in the union apprenticeship programs.
We have no interest in being judgmental about unions but at the same time, fewer & fewer companies are unionized and fewer people (down 23%) are engaging in these programs. Part of that stems back to society telling our children you must go to college vs learning a skilled trade or have a job where you get dirty.
The companies in the Construction Industry who are not unionized must carry both burdens of finding the people and then developing training programs themselves.
The Construction Industry faces the same staffing issues of fewer people in the labor pool and someone being able to pass a drug test as many others do. Their unique issues are compounded not only by social stigmas but the actual physical labor aspects of those jobs.
The surprising part is that even though everyone knows and sees what is coming around the corner, we did not find very many new & creative measures to address this huge issue. Will it solve itself? The stats say “No”.
Many in the Construction business are engaging in certain, specific initiatives, to help address some of the big picture issues but they are a far cry from a solution.
This raises a question: Who then is responsible or owns the issue of increasing the number of people being trained? The Construction Companies? The unions? The Trade Associations? In most cases, all are ill prepared as it stands today.
One sound premise is that if all of those entities have the same common issue, wouldn’t it make sense to combine efforts?
The good news is that there are things you can do but you need get started yesterday. There are no quick fixes. In our next article, Part Two, we will share a number of those ideas to give you a good starting point or help take your current efforts to the next level.
We recently discussed a few of the reasons manufacturers’ in-house training is falling short. On the flip side, there are many manufacturing companies doing wonderful things to make their in-house training a success.
In this article, we highlight a number of things successful companies are doing. Hopefully, this will inspire you to improve your own in-house training process.
It’s no secret that seasoned or certified skilled labor is in short supply these days. In their report, “2015 and beyond” Deloitte Consulting and the Manufacturing Institute predicted that over the next decade, 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely need filled – but a lack and/or gap of skilled labor will result in 2 million of those jobs being unfilled. And as the median age of most skilled labor work forces edges towards retirement, attendance at community colleges – especially for trades – is down 23 percent nationally.
1. They do not have one
2. They have non-compensated employees or volunteers on the board
3. They do not focus on complimenting their weaknesses
When should a small business have an advisory board? Yesterday – if you design or create it right!
Having created & designed over a dozen small business advisory boards, I “guarantee” you that, if done right the ROI can be fantastic!
Steven J. Krisfalusy is a serial entrepreneur who has decades of expertise in O.D. and People Development in over 100 different Industries, including law firms. Currently the Managing Partner / Sr. Consultant of the Beringer Group LLC. A Management / Human Capital Coaching & Consulting firm in the Midwest.
Even the American Bar Association urges law firms (especially small to mid-range) the importance of having a Succession Plan. Yet, many do not for various reasons and the top 3 are: Time, money, and the resource(s) to actually implement any plan. Usually leaving many that have taken the first step of drafting a plan, to have it sit on the shelf. A costly mistake directly & indirectly!
As we all know, your future labor force will depend on your ability to train people down to some basic skill levels in-house. Seasoned or certified skill labor are in short supply today. In the upcoming article - Part Two: How Manufacturers can improve in house training successes, we will offer some free tips and success stories.
If you have contacted a trade school to try to hire folks recently, you already found out that you are at the end of a long waiting list. Attendance at Community Colleges, especially for skilled trades is down over 23% nationally.
Below are three (of many) problems I see facing the Industry...
With so much information on line today, a new generation of “interviewees” has emerged. This generation can be highly knowledgeable about how to influence and interview, their skills can often supersede the interviewers.
That makes it harder to get to the truth. Is it an act or is it the truth? A whole new dilemma.
There is one tactic that “no one” can prepare for and that is “Spontaneity”! Another term could be ad-lib.
By going off course from the norm with your questions you will see or hear things closer to the truth. By peppering in certain questions, hopefully what you see or hear will not be an act.
Some examples to consider:
1. Once in a while I would ask someone to stand vs sit during the interview
2. I often created and presented a scenario and asked the person how they would handle that
3. In between all of that I would pepper in questions like: What are your top 3 strengths as they relate to this job; or why should I hire you vs ….
Remember, no matter how hard people try to analyze and create measureable metrics for people, we always surprise them.
When hiring someone, surprises are not good. By adding some Spontaneity or ad-libbing, you will increase your odds of achieving “no surprises”.
Good Luck and good interviewing.
Let me start by saying most people work very hard, more than most realize. Yes, they do get a paycheck or have a rewarding experience but keeping the energy tank full is the next challenge in 2017.
2016 was a fair – good year for many-many businesses. Sustaining that or exceeding it will require some new, creative and innovative ideas. We believe that the best ROI for People Development (Sustaining / Exceeding) in 2017 is...
What is coming around the corner? Your business adopting a Corporate Social Initiative.
What does that mean? In short, it refers to their company/culture having a heart especially for local community needs as part of the culture and something they can engage in also, if desired.
Many companies donate money to good causes but having a Corporate Social Initiative is different in many ways.