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Written by: Caroline Power, CEO of Canadian HR Academy
The question is -- will a star performer who is hired from the competition continue to be a star with their new employer?
Acquiring High-Performance Talent is a core objective for hiring managers everywhere. Research is clear on the benefits of high performing workers - they contribute to profitability and they are a key source of competitive advantage.
But activating star performance is not as simple as it may seem. How can leaders increase the odds that stars will continue to perform well when they begin their new job?
Research has borne out that the portability of Talent is complex and that, in fact, Talent may not be as portable as many think. Two key variables for determining success with regard to the porting of Talent are (i) the culture of the new organization, and (ii) the capability-mix of the individual in whom the company has an interest.
As we reflect on our careers many of us can think of top Talent who were hired away from industry-leading organizations only to fail in their new role.
Prior to making recruitment and selection decisions, particularly executive-level ones, leaders need to think strategically about key elements of their company's culture and the associated likelihood of successful outcomes when top external high-performers are brought on board. Similarly, top-performing professionals who are thinking of accepting roles with new employers should take the time to gain information about how work gets done within these workplaces and use it to assess the likelihood of their success when they navigate that change.
Economist Gary Becker identified two types of Human Capital capabilities: general, which have potential value to more than one employer, and company-specific, which are useful to a single employer only.
General Human Capital capabilities raise portability and company-specific ones erode it. Human Capital capabilities ordered from most to least portable are General Management (skills, knowledge and traits required to lead entire organizations, units or divisions), Strategic (specific experience in cost cutting, driving growth, rightsizing, and so on), Industry-Specific (skills and training useful in one industry but not in others), Relationship (interpersonal relationships within a company), and Company-Specific (knowledge of an organization’s routines and procedures).
To assess portability of a candidate for success in a particular role, company leaders are best to gain clarity on the following questions:
- Does the role rely extensively on teamwork?
- To what degree will the candidate require sponsorship or buy-in from colleagues in order to be effective?
- To what degree will the person be engaged in knowledge-sharing?
- To what degree does the role require that the person be reliant complementary functions or departments?
- Is the role primarily engaged in external relationships with customers, suppliers, partners, or others?
- Does much of the value of the role come from unique capabilities, team building, an understanding of workplace culture or other intangible qualities?
The insights gained from answers to the above questions can be used to determine what proportion of the star's capability-mix is generic and what proportion is company-specific.
Candidates with more generic leadership capabilities will be better able to port their Talent across from one organization to another, unlike those with more company-specific capabilities. However, if the company with that new job is very similar, in terms of organizational culture, to the one that the candidate is about to leave, then porting their Talent has a higher likelihood of success.
Written by: Cindy Lynn Roche, MA CPHR
People don’t know what they don’t know and that fact is just one of the reasons the subject of respect in the workplace is such an important discussion. Organizations and teams are made up of individuals, and each individual has a lived experience unlike anybody else’s life story that may influence how they interpret situations, their interactions with others and the things they choose to say and do. The part of being respectful that we sometimes forget is that there may be no visible signs or obvious reason for why somebody is as they are, and we just don’t know what we don’t know.
Consider for a moment what your colleagues and boss know about you. Think next of the things they have no idea about and would never expect of you. Imagine finally that every person you meet may have some unspoken story framing how they see and experience the world.
Respect involves recognizing that anybody you meet could need an extra measure of understanding, compassion or acceptance. They might not, but if you extend the courtesy of awareness that they may not be working from the same starting place as you, you’re likely to find that your working relationship becomes more productive as each of you comes in to the interaction prepared to offer a little more and work just a bit harder. That kind of a stance doesn’t negate what the other offers but anticipates that what we’ll bring may be different, informed by the standpoint of our experience, values and fears.
- A member of a minority group that was systematically sanctioned for their difference and otherness, as justified by who their ancestors had been and grudges against enemies from long ago… she struggled to learn the common language and suffered the embarrassment of her linguistic mistakes along the way.
- An immigrant who experienced the worry of having the right papers in hand, her presence validated and justified by a long approval process… she is proud of that journey and proud of the citizenship she holds.
- A nomadic childhood spent moving from town to town every couple of years resulted in bullying that gave way to terrified shyness… That’s what that deep breath is about when she speaks up in a meeting and it’s the reason that so much of what she says sounds more like suggestions for consideration.
- She has Lupus, Fibromyalgia and/or depression or or or... Every day she copes with pain and a myriad of symptoms, grateful for her ability to work on good days and self-loathing when she can’t make it in… She hopes nobody notices when she’s moving slowly and tries not to give in to the chronic fatigue. Invisible illnesses, whether chronic diseases, mental health challenges or some nefarious and long-lasting bug, are never a choice. Doctor appointments, pain, brain fog and frustration at one’s inability to be “normal” are balanced against delivering results in the workplace, getting things accomplished and not letting anybody down.
- She is half deaf and a hearing aid won’t help her hearing so she must position herself to hear people with her good ear, finding it easiest if she’s face-to-face with them even as she isn’t conscious of reading their lips. She gets overwhelmed when there is too much going on or if she’s caught in the middle of a crowd; not being able to distinguish exactly where sounds are coming from leads to a kind of vertigo and it is exhausting.
- “She” is one woman who believes all those challenges make her stronger (except when they remind her that they own her strength). She works harder than many because she fears she being found out, fears not keeping up with expectations, and fears that if she ever gives in to her weaknesses that she will let the people who count on her down… She doesn’t want to let you down.
I’m not making excuses for her or anyone. I’m not even suggesting you put up with excuses. But I do think we would all be well served by remembering we don’t always have all the facts about people. I’m asking you to consider that “different” exists even when it isn’t obvious and to respect that there may be more at work than you know.
As you may know, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and The Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of Canada (CPHR Canada), have an agreement to mutually recognize each organizations' certification programs.
Written by: Chris Kneeland
It’s easy to find business leaders actively formalizing their company’s strategy for success. Determining how best to grow profits and achieve market dominance are core to executive job descriptions.
Far more rare, however, is finding business leaders paying sufficient attention to their organization’s culture and internal engagement. Despite countless articles, research studies, case studies, TED talks, and Harvard Business Reviews proving the impact of highly engaged workforces on a host of organizational performance metrics, most business leaders inappropriately neglect this area.
Employee engagement scores across most industries are at all-time lows. Poorly engaged workforces cost companies multiples of billions of dollars in lost productivity annually. Even more alarming, leadership apathy towards internal engagement has led to an increase in the number of “actively disengaged” employees – meaning staff who are so disenfranchised they deliberately cause harm and sabotage corporate plans.
Stop paying lip service to the issues causing internal discontent and sub-optimal performance, and move employee engagement to the top of the C-suite agenda.
Most firms assemble talented teams of high performing professionals to develop well funded product development and marketing plans to achieve competitive advantage; yet, rarely do these same organizations devote sufficient attention - or dollars - to people strategies aimed at the human capital required to bring those plans to life. Or, if leaders are actually paying attention, they too often rely on under-qualified, and poorly resourced HR managers. Those managers, in turn, often assemble ad hoc “Culture Committees” and task them with implementing superficial events like holiday parties, summer BBQ’s or work anniversary celebrations.
This is wildly inappropriate.
Employee engagement is far too important to delegate to improperly trained HR Managers or ragtag teams of volunteers who are better at creating distractions than solving tough issues associated with under-performing organizations and disenfranchised personnel.
Business leaders, wake up and step up! Properly address internal challenges that are hindering your company from achieving its full potential!
Senior executives have five main responsibilities. Only one of those –maintaining relationships with financial stakeholders (like banks, private investors, or Wall Street) to ensure a healthy balance sheet - doesn't directly affect internal engagement. The other four duties do. Those include:
- Ensure your organization has absolute clarity about the company’s vision and mission
- Provide an operating model, and organizational structure, that is optimized for success
- Create an environment (Policies / Workplace / People Strategies / Training) that attracts and retains top talent and allows them to do the best work of their lives
- Help every person understand how they personally contribute to the organization’s goals, and then hold them accountable.
Business leaders who focus on these four areas have a tremendously positive influence on employee engagement and can improve the health of even the most dysfunctional corporate cultures.
How to get started?
Start by disbanding superficial Culture Committees. Instead, call upon properly trained professionals with legitimate expertise in the space - professionals who are capable of understanding how your organization’s purpose, points of differentiation and strategic plans are enhanced by nurturing a high performing culture. Whether you hire in-house or outsource, treat talent management with the same importance as you would any Asset Manager tasked with protecting your most firm’s most cherished intellectual property.
Secondly, accept that fact culture cannot be forced or faked; rather, it is built over time by consistently managing specific beliefs and behaviors of all internal stakeholders. Pay particular attention to how your people interact with each other, and how people within your organization respond to change. Also, seek out internal influencers – regardless of formal title or authority – and bring them into your inner circle for help. And remember, perks and parties may temporarily improve morale, but proper talent management tools, communication protocols, and staff engagement metrics improve how your people function, thus improving how your business operates.
Lastly, just like any other core focus for your business, culture requires a framework that results in clarity for your employees, and consistency in execution. Any decent internal engagement plan must formalize processes relating to:
1) How decisions are made
2) What behaviors are rewarded or punished
3) How talent is sourced and on-boarded
4) How information is communicated
5) How leaders are taught how to lead
Ignore at your peril.
Overcome your doubt or suspicion. Too many senior leaders inappropriately consider culture conversations fluffy. Topics like role clarity, departmental morale, employee feelings, manager misbehavior, or staff conflict resolution may not – on their surface - seem on par with other commercially hard-nosed topics that C-suites prefer to discuss. But ignore these issues at your own peril.
I suggest you table an agenda item at your next executive meeting to clarify who is accountable for employee engagement issues. That person must have NOTHING to do with the next company party. Instead, he or she must be highly empowered and have unquestioned credentials. Understand that employee engagement is directly co-related with customer engagement, and any decisions and actions he or she implements will impact your customer experience, brand reputation, and can become a significant competitive advantage (or disadvantage).