Episode 14: Are You Ready to Compete for Talent?

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Are you ready to Compete for Talent? As our economy cycles things change and people move. According to recent job satisfaction surveys, about 1 in 3 workers will change jobs in the next 6 months, (Saba), 49.5% of employees are "not engaged" and another 16.5% are “actively disengaged." (Gallup) Significant numbers of people have stayed in jobs that are less than optimal for various reasons waiting for their “window of opportunity.” Many organizations are now taking a fresh look at making Winning Cultural Moves in order to foster better workforce engagement and retention. As the economy creates better jobs, employers who are unprepared will pay a high price in turn over. There is an old business saying that says, “Culture beats strategy every time." What then should forward looking leaders be thinking about? Please join Voltage CEO Jeff Smith, and his guest Principal Consultant Lee Hubert onVoltcast to explore the answers to these and other questions. Are you ready to compete?

Lee Hubert is a Leadership Coach, Trainer, Facilitator and Keynote Speaker with Voltage Leadership in Roanoke, Virginia. He brings energy and enthusiasm to grow leaders at all levels, help managers reduce conflict and build teams that produce results. Lee has served in various human resources and leadership development roles at Fortune 500 companies including: MCI, Wisconsin Energy, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Wake Forest University Hospital, and the Hospital Corporation of America. As a public speaker, he has presented leadership development topics at management retreats and strategic planning sessions throughout the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern USA. Lee brings over 20 years’ experience in Management Training, Employee Engagement, Performance Management, Succession Planning, Employee Relations and Conflict Resolution to bear for clients of Voltage Leadership.

Trancript [Download here]:

Jeff: Welcome. So glad you could join us today. We are here in Virginia. Another beautiful sunny day. It is a bit fun here for me as well. I am a college football fan and my alma mater, James Madison University, is playing in the national semi-final. For some of you from around the world, you are probably like who cares but for me and my friends they would just understand. Let me tell you, it is a big deal for the people here in Virginia, just saying. We are even on ESPN on this Friday night at seven o'clock. Playing North Coast State. Hopefully, the Dukes get to win and your host will be in a great mood next week.

Lee: They are wicked awesome. Are you kidding me?

Jeff: That voice you hear is Lee Hubert. I will introduce Lee properly here in just a second, but I am Jeff Smith and we are so glad that you join us again for Illuminating Leadership. This week, we are really going to be focusing on the competition for talent and what can we do to retain our talent, recruit our talent, etc. We a really all the e-mails, phone calls, etc., we get throughout the course of the week. To reach us during the show, call 1-866-472-5788. You can e-mail me at jeff@voltageleadership.com. Our website is www.voltageleadership.com. You can like us on Facebook at Voltage Leadership. You can connect with me on LinkedIn at Jeff Smith, Voltage Leadership Consulting or Lee Hubert at Voltage Leadership Consulting. You can follow me on Twitter, @VoltageLeaders.

Just know that this week you might get football updates as well as leadership updates. Sorry for that ahead of time. As you hear Lee in the background laughing, Lee has been with us several times. Lee is one of our principals here at Voltage. He concentrates a lot on leadership training development, giving speeches, and helping our clients reach their full potential. One of the things that we know to reach full potential is we have got to have human resources. We have to have the talent that is there each and every day for us. I was listening last night to NPR's marketplace and they were talking about the economy and sort of where we stand. In New Hampshire, they were talking that their unemployment rate is down around 4%. Sure, there is some people that wish that they had maybe a better job but in general what they are finding out is that they are basically at full employment and they are competing for talent. Some of their work that they could be doing in New Hampshire, in some other states, is leaving because there is just not enough talent. We are not talking about what is happening, what do we see in the marketplace.

Here in Virginia, we are running 4.2 or 4.3. We are almost at full employment as well. Again, I know that some of the listeners here says gosh I wish I had a better job or a higher paying job and things like that. But in general, the professional jobs, there are lots of places. I am working with clients right now that have five to ten job openings and trying to find the right person that is willing to either move to the job or just take job and it is becoming more of a challenge. Lee, I am curious, you work with a bunch of clients, what are you seeing in the marketplace right now?

Lee: Well, good morning or afternoon. It is interesting you make that point, Jeff. In the economy cycles and there are people who you speak to over the last several years. They feel like they may have been under employed. That being the case, as the economy creates more and better jobs, to your point people have to compete for talent. I think that is what you say about the last selection cycle. I think there is a sense of optimism in a lot of things in terms of the employment looking up, right? I can remember time, and I am sure we are going to have a deeper dive about this, where you had to compete for talent which is a good thing and you juxtapose that compared contrast that against some of the things we are hearing from people over the last five or ten years' interesting discussion.

Jeff: Yes. Thank you, Lee. Lee had pulled together a stat here. It says according to a recent job satisfaction survey is about one in three workers will change jobs in the next six months again. One in three workers will potentially change jobs the next six months. Almost 50% of employees are not engaged and another 16.5% are actively disengaged. This comes from the Gallup information. A significant people have seen jobs that are less than optimal for various reason, waiting for their window of opportunity.

As Lee and I has alluded to, that window is opening. One of my client is a head hunting firm. Lee does a lot of these coaching. Folks that are placed in executive level jobs. He coaches them for the first three to six months and what we are seeing now is that the recruiters are having to do sign on bonuses, negotiate sign on bonuses again. I had one recently that they are paying for a cross country move and paying to buy the house. We have not seen some of that since the early to mid-2000's, 2005 or 2006, really since the housing crisis. It started to return in a few spots. Not all jobs but certainly in healthcare, in IT, high level kind of jobs in IT. Those industries are starting find it and the knowledge workers are really being competed for. What we are going to have to do is say okay, what type of culture do we have and then what do we do to make sure that our talent really knows that we value them and that we want them to be there.

Lee: Yes, that is a great point, Jeff. The people who are unprepared to have that dialogue or who have not had that dialogue, they are going to pay a price for that. There is no doubt about that. To your point, I think organizations are starting to sense that and they are wanting to engage us in that dialogue now. How do we maximize workforce engagement not for the purpose of just keeping intact what was a legacy culture and mechanism but for taking us to the next level. I mean it stands to reason, you have to have great people to have a great company. Gee, that sounds like a book, does not it? If you want to really be great, you have to have great people.

To your point or to my point as you pointed out, if people have been flying under the radar, you have heard the dialogue privately. Some people want to retire, they cannot afford to do it. Well, different landscape now. You cannot accept changing it cycles. Regardless of politics, the economy cycles. You look at the doubt hearing all that stuff. It is just a time frame, it cycles. Now that it is cycling again, there are people who for whatever reason are going to go back to a previous job if they have been persecuted by their employer who is giving up the job to help pay their mortgage and all their bill which is a terrible form of persecution by the way. But they may be feeling victimized and they may be looking elsewhere now.

Jeff: With all my clients, they do people opinion survey once a year and their survey results have dropped dramatically in the past year.  It is very interesting. They do great job. It is an awesome organization, fantastic, done so many great things right. I believe that there are two things going on. One, there is probably some unfair expectations on behalf of some of the staff that they are going to get promoted way quicker than maybe they should. There is about some of this, how do we set clear expectations. On the other hand, I do not know that we have done a good enough job and sort of outlined a career path, having clear, open, honest conversations about where do you stand and setting some really strict expectations of what it takes to be successful in that next level. Let us sort of dive into that a little bit. Lee, when you look at maybe best cultures where you see that talent is attracted to you and then they seem to stay, what is it about those organizations and their culture that are both sort of magnets for talent and retainers of talent?

Lee: Talent magnets, great, I am liking that. Well, they are the cultures that minimize confusion, drama, and frustration. They are the organizations that can be tough but fair and they are organizations that communicate. By that, I mean, you kind of verbalized it. Think about the leadership structure, C suite, whatever leader, whatever mechanism it is, are they flying under the radar? Are they in the "looking good posture"? Earlier, we talked about something called the waterline which was all about roles and responsibilities. People I find in the cultures of clients we serve generally want to do a good job and they are thirsty for feedback about how they are doing but I sense in the legacy cultures, the ones that were not so great, there was a disconnect. People were left thirsting for knowledge and feedback and I used the word they were kind of holding the cultural risk or the political risk. As the perception of the market for jobs being softer went up, people became a bit more shrilled in terms of hanging on to what they get. Those are tough places, right?

Jeff: Right.

Lee: For people who kind of have the survivor mentality, I have been the good soldier, I have marched through ground zero for you, now therefore the social contract is you owe me something and that means promotion into a bigger role. Now, whether or not they are the right person to be, there are also a completely different discussion. But there is some of that out there very much alive and well.

Jeff: I have a similar and different view. I think that there is a lot that the last few years, there has also been a lot of managers that have taken advantage of staff. There are some staff that maybe are a touch entitled, some of that out there. But there has also been some bad management practices. I know several that have gone strictly about not giving bonuses or raises.

Lee: Yes, absolutely.

Jeff: I think one of things we got to talk about is how do we help shape the right culture? How do we do the right kind of things? Have sort of just culture, right?

Lee: It is interesting word, just culture. I use the phrase shame based culture which is a whole discussion onto its own. In other words the beatings will continue until morale improves, 'Shame on you for trying to aspire or to ask for more or to get to a just culture because don't you know you should just be grateful that you have a job you useless lump of human flesh and who else is going to hire you?' Now, try and compare and contrast that against the cycling and improving job market so the people who are experiencing that, I think there is a day of reckoning coming for some of those managers you are talking about.

Jeff: Yes. I think in our next segment we will talk a little about is it too late for those culture. Tuck that away, Lee. I will probably ask you right after our break here. I would like you to just start from where I would have leaders start and listen. When you get the talent, you bring them in, the first place to start is with some clear expectations. What are the goals, what are the tools to do the job? We, Lee and I, were with a vendor today talking about some surveys, things like that. One of the questions, the very first questions, is do I have the tools and resources to do my job? Do not underestimate that. I do not necessarily know and when I am new, I might not always ask. Once I have clear expectations and understanding of what to do around here, it might be recognized. We have talked about this in previous shows but it is worth bringing out.

Most cultures it is sort of a one to one, one positive for one negative. Sometimes it is even two negative for one positive. A really good culture and ones that are going to retain talent is going to be more like four positives or five positives for every negative. We are going to celebrate successes. We go out of our way. It is kumbaya line. This is a wow, we have done some great work, let us recognize it. How do you kumbaya? Next is we also find a sense of ownership so that we can really allow the person to be successful, put a mark on the organization. Now, I am ready for some feedback. I am ready for your developmental plan. But you got to have done those other things for me to trust you, right?

Lee: I refer to that as paying the price of admission. If we have got time to drill on that now or the next segment, we can do that.

Jeff: Yes, I think it is the price of admission is you have got to build the trust long levels. If you say there is someone that looks a little confused or dazed or not sure what is going on, I look at the manager first or the leader first and say go back and reset expectations. Do they know what it takes to be successful here? I’m really happy that at least you are with me today, Lee. We are going to continue this conversation. We will pick up on good cultures, how do we define it, and if it is too late if you are not in that kind of culture. But in the meantime, we have got a break here for two minutes and we will be back. Talk to you in just two minutes.


Jeff: Welcome back. It is Jeff Smith with Lee Hubert. We are talking about improving economy and what it means for the war on talent. Part of what we are really seeing is our clients are starting to struggle to always have the talent that they need in a role. They spend a little bit more money to get people there. I will promise you that I met a lot of companies where conversations where people are saying, 'Jeff, I am starting to look. I am starting to feel the cause…' It is not so much that they are upset with the current job but they are not seeing a path, right? They are not seeing where it goes. Before the break, we are talking though about what some cultures were, and managers, that have maybe taken advantage of the talent. They have not done like talent development or leisure development. What I am curious about, gosh it is heating up, is it too late for them? Is it too late? Are they already going to lose the talent? Has the window closed for them?

Lee: An interesting question, is it too late? No, it is really not too late. However, the people should start taking action now. Do not be caught unprepared because if you are, you are going to pay a price for that little bit later. I am going to use two words here, I wanted to toss out here in this regard. One is recruiting which we will talk about securing talent and the other one is re-recruiting. I have been here, to my earlier point in the first segment, I have been here for a long time or X number of years, months, whatever, and the perception is I am doing a good job as a social contract. There is an expectation in my mind that there is maybe upward mobility or some reward for my loyalty.

Jeff: Sure.

Lee: If I am a star, you do not want me to walk out the door. You need to engage in re-recruiting me.

Jeff: Yes, but Lee just do your job. Like I pay you, just do your job. You know what? You Gen X and Gen Y's and millennials, like you guys want everything.

Lee: Yes. We really do and you know that. When the market heats up, you are going to have to provide it.

Jeff: The funny part about this is roll over. Is the Gen X the baby boomer?

Lee: Boom boom boom. Well, I can think of a time I remember when I was recruiting. I was looking for a master black belt. At the time, when the market was pretty hot, it almost is just like the real estate market. There was a time you could not keep a house in a inventory. Well, try to hire somebody who is in a high skill demand area that are really in demand. Long story short with this individual, I gave my best deal. I went to Leadership and said, 'Great fit, need this person. Going to build out the skill set. Going to build up capability for us. We need to do this.' After I really got all dressed up and was ready to go, we are going to go to the ball together, the candidate came back and he said, 'Your offer is not just quite good enough. Can you sweeten it by XYZ?' I was not able to, right? You got to the point of that they should know. It can be difficult so you are going to have to get creative and the sooner you start getting creative and then your wheels turn, you will be prepared and you will be the better for it.

Jeff: Good. Let us talk a little bit about what top talent is looking for. I will start this one off. Again, baby boomers, they are leading. To Lee's other point, 401 case, the stock market is at record levels right now. Housing prices have come back. The boomers are saying I am confident to leave now. We have got a couple things going on. We do not improve economy, we have got new places to work coming on board and we have boomers leaving all at the same time which increases the spin cycle of saying we need talent. There is additional, 'I am a Gen X saying maybe I do not want to rise at top level of a company because I put in a lot of hours already.' Not all talent is raising their hand that they do not want to go forward either. It very much can be a stiff competition. Let me give you just couple ideas to be thinking about for your culture and what people are looking for.

When people talk to me about what they are looking for, they want to go to a company that has got a really good clearly defined purpose. They want to know what is it they are going to be doing with the mission. Look, it does not have to be the greatest mission. I have got an organization that I coach and develop. They are working on autonomous cars. It is exciting, it is really cool. I also, myself, worked for a credit card company. You may say, 'Oh gosh.' No, I will tell you that they were very passionate about being able to provide financial viability to people. Be able to treat them well when they are travelling and all it cost. But they need it to be a good strong mission and purpose that I could get behind and know that those issues are aligned. That is my first one, what about you Lee?

Lee: Alignment, great. We talked about it. Aligning personal goals with company goals. With intentionality, we use those words at Voltage Leadership quite a bit. What do you really want?

Jeff: Yes. What is your desired outcome?

Lee: Yes, what your desired outcomes are and does that fit? Are we on the same journey? We have qualified you as a candidate for talent for revenue, all that kind of stuff. You are talking to us because we are interested in you, we want you to interview us. It is not a monologue. It is definitely a dialogue. I think one of the key things that people need to keep in mind as things cycle on the uptick is you are interviewing people. It used to be oh my god. You ask people what kind of job you are looking for?

Well, I will do anything. Well, we are not hiring for anything, right? We are hiring for a specific talent, okay? The days, I think, of sounding ' Oh, I am desperate. You got to hire me because I got to pay my bills.' Okay, we all get that. We all have bills to pay but we are going to get to a point where it is like okay guys we want to qualify you for fit okay? And we want you to be here for the long term. Even that is a whole discussion onto itself. It used to be a one time. If you change jobs once every ten years, you are a job hopper. Now, look at how frequently highly skilled, highly compensated people sometimes change their roles.

Jeff: Well, let us pick up on that. I think that I do want leaders to be more flexible. I want them to look at resumes and know that many people are not going to be here for ten years but if they can come make a difference for you for the next two to four, fill a critical need, then go for it. Right? Have clear expectations, get better your on-boarding process and let people get up, speak quicker, challenge a little quicker, give them more things. When I am coaching people now, I am thinking much more short term projects. Let us not think the three to five year strategy plan.

It is more of one to two, go back a few weeks to when we had Amy Ankrum on our show with what they do at Qualtrax, they reviewed every year but then they do every ninety days, they sit back down and reassess it. Well, that makes you move your talent in and out differently because it is like okay, where we concentrate in the next ninety days? I have looked for people to be more flexible in the way they think about who they hire but also flexibility in assigning the task and working across the organization. That hierarchy thing still exist but we are going to be much more in matrix to work this project, to work with three people for the next four months, then we will pop you over someplace else, right?

Lee: Matrix and or virtual. Interesting you said to be more about flexibility. When you look at two to four years, I mean that itself is a seat change. The three to five years you plan, okay I get that but if somebody is going to help you for two to four years, that is pretty much a win.

Jeff: Right.

Lee: I do not know. There is a lot of people who put the succession discussion on the shelf over the last X number of years, five to ten years. It is time to dust that off again.

Jeff: Right.

Lee: Because, to your point, is a bunch of boomers going to hit the finish line and they are going to be roaming on the beach wearing their sunglasses, listening to the ungrateful dead music.  The epitome of ground zero for boomers but in addition to that, it is going to be people coming behind them and what you do not want to do is be that organization that has just said, 'No, everything is fine. We are just squeezing the last ounce of energy and you can take advantage of people.' You must be creative and proactive on this issue to go forward. Otherwise you are going to pay a big price.

Jeff: Yes. I think let us go back to the term re-recruiting superstars. The best thing that you can do about the talent wars is to keep the superstars together. A lot may be leaving in two or four years. My last couple coaching sessions, they will be over clearing clinic. A lot of people I have been working with there are twenty plus year but they re-create themselves. Often I will have leaders that will say, 'Gosh, Lee, you are doing a great job. Here is what I appreciate about you doing. You go out, you work hard, you are willing to stick your nose in places, you are innovative, you are willing to re-create yourself every two or three years. This is why you are so valuable to me, blah blah blah.'

Jeff: What happens though is we start to assume that they know how good they are. What I want to understand is that the recruiting firms out there are really smart. They see superstars, that is who they are going to call and they see someone like a Lee and say you are perfect for this next job. I kind of call it like flirting or dating  this. This is kind of like wow this sounds kind of nice and someone wants me and if I have not heard that in my current workplace in a while, I am going to at least take the phone call. If you are not in the best culture or you are a leader listening and just saying, 'I want you to picture that right hand person that you go to and you know if you got to talk to assets what you have signed to.' Love them, tell them why they are so great. Find a career path, give them a project, that will re-ignite them. Try to maybe find a spot bonus. If that is not possible, find something that you can celebrate for them and make sure that they are getting the recognition so they do not take that phone call when they hit on her calls.

Lee: You mean the one who is batting their eyes at me? It is almost like the sales process. You go into a store, you try something on, it is like well it is kind of pricey but you know it looks really good on me. All the sudden you look in the mirror and I am like it fits really good. This is a good fit, I like this and this is really comfortable. I am three steps down the street right now and why do I need to not do this? But I am going to add on to your thought. I am going to add a thought about paying the price of admission, both to get people on-board and to keep people on-board and we can call it re-recruiting. But the further was paying the price of admission. What do you know about your stars? Do you know what your stars are engaged in day in and day out? One of the things I hear at our clients is, especially from middle and upper middle managers, that senior leadership may not really have a realistic view of what we do. So if they do not understand what they do and they want to give me feedback about performance, you see a lot of eyes start to roll.

Now, sometimes it is not always possible for them but here is what I mean about paying the price of admission. We use other tools that might be behind the one on one door. We talked about behind managers door which is a great series of discussions by the way from Voltage Leadership if I may say so myself. Those people who get it and have taken the time and invested in those people, they are not going to want to know what they do in their day to day life. They are not going to be wanting to have value. You verbalized at how valuable I am. I am sitting and I am squirming in my chair. That sounded good. There is something to that.

Jeff: Sure. Yes. Today we are not going to really teach you best recruiting practices, that is not the aim of this. There are other places you can go and get that. Choose the e-mail. Lee and I both hit it up recruiting, I had managed times to recruit. We can give you some examples. What we are trying to help you understand though is what does top talent look for and then how do we retain top talent? When we come back from break, what we are going to talk about is succession planning and some ideas about how succession planning really helps to retain the top talent and best practices that we have seen in the workplace. We will back in two minutes. Thanks.


Jeff: Welcome back. We have been talking about culture and retaining talent and best cultures that retain talent, etc. Before the break, we were just getting ready to start into some succession planning and where does succession planning fit into this. Let me just give you a sense. Succession planning means you have a plan that says what is our business needs and what is the talent that we have on our organization and how do we match the needs of our business over next three, four, five, maybe in ten years and looking at our talent assessing it based in what is the performance, what is the potential, what are the needs? I will just give you a quick example. Ten years ago, how many people had social media as a need? Sometimes we are like oh, sometimes they are merging, whereas like Lean Six Sigma, those are things that have been around now for a little while. We have developed talent. Succession plan is trying to marry up with the needs of the individuals with the needs of the organization. Only about 16% of organization actually do succession planning well. There is a lot of room for development. If you say, 'Gosh, we do not do this very well,' do not worry, a lot of you are focused adults so you are probably the norm. What Lee now are really saying is it is time to dust off those plans and get back to it, right? Because the talent is heating up and a couple years ago most people were just happy to stay where they were. Quite honestly, they were probably a little risk averse to leave too because they are like, 'Well, I got a sure thing here.' I am not sure the market is going to stay where it is or not.

Lee: You bet.

Jeff: Now it is like, 'No, it is going to be good for a little.' It is always going to be a little rocky but with boomers leaving etc., there is going to be holes. When we talk about the succession planning, most people have done a little bit succession planning. We are not saying it has to be the most brilliant thing but what is needed is a plan where you talk about your needs and limitations and start to assess what is it that my people, my team, want? What do you think about that, Lee?

Lee: Well, I can tell you interesting question. Where you have match succession planning to the business need to the current landscape and current demographics. Boomers getting ready to roll. Do they want upward mobility, who is on your bench, who is you bench strength? It is also important to talk about what succession planning. Is it okay? It is not an implied contract, it is not a tested job offer, and sometimes people get it. They communicate a message that you are "the pool" and what does that mean?

Jeff: Sure.

Lee: For sure there is a developmental aspect to it which is all positive and good because it means you are investing as an employee. You invest your time and your energy and your money and need to give me a higher skill set and make me more valuable, that is awesome. That is a good thing. However, there is some things, it is like a real estate deal. First of all, it is not over until everybody leaves the closing table and the check clears the bank, okay? Likewise, with succession planning.  People get to hear things and sometimes they do not hear the same things. For example, I can think of a time when I was in an HR capacity in a different state. We have a person who is with the organization, doing a fine job, and that it was almost like a cultural artifact that this individual is "in the pool and in the plan".

When that leader retires and announce their retirement, that this person is going to be sent up into their role. Well, guess what? It did not happen that way. It did not happen that way for what I will call capricious reasons, almost arbitrary. You can label it political, whatever you want to call it, but there was a disconnect. There was a mismatch. Feelings were hurt and guess what? That individual ended up leaving the organization. Large talent, big skill set is now a leader, big leader with another organization.

Jeff: Yes, that is just too bad. Let me break it down a little bit. We are talking about succession planning. What we are talking about is assessing people based on their performance, understand their potential, right? Looking at where are the skills that they have and then what are the needs of the organization. You look out. We can look ahead. I was just having a call early today. Coaching someone in California. They could look and say we have we have grown really quickly. We are going to need a COO in the next year because we have collected all these businesses and we do not quite have someone that can stay on top of it.

Looking at one year, they can see that any COO but they are going to double again so in the future, also need some COO's at the business level. They are going to need some people that are maybe at the director level now to raise their things like executive presence, their ability to speak to boards, their ability to drive results across the organization, not just in their organization. They are already ahead of games in three or four years out and they are talking to me and saying how can we start developing that now? How do we put them in situations like that? We are brainstorming projects they can work on. A time for them to go to a board but maybe before they go to the board, we are going to work on their executive presence and have them give some speeches at lower levels and get some feedback before they have to get to the first board meeting because we know in two to three years, they need that but why not start it now in seventeen? We might not have that need until nineteen or twenty a little bit but let us start practicing now.

Lee: Interesting. Board level or underneath board level. An individual that comes to mind that we were working with. I will use the phrase this person did not that realize how good they were. To a degree we are a little gunshot, a little bit of the tail between the legs and exactly that thing their company hired us to do exactly as you describe. We got to the place where they had a little intimidation factor about addressing senior leadership teams around the table. We did some video training, we did some coaching and counseling with that in good outcome. It’s really interesting from the point of view that I will use the Jeff equation. Everybody with your mind's eye, follow me on your mental blackboard now. There is a capital P, that is the person's ultimate performance and the equal sign the we are going to call little P, that is their potential and then the times. I am going to enter two things, you can call it small I interference or slash small D distraction. In the developmental mode, to Jeff's point and to my point, if we do not need it now trust me you are going to need it. You are going to need it sooner than historically the history has shown. Historical need has been okay five or ten years now to form or maybe even less, right? We recruit people with big titles and a lot of upward mobility huge talent. They are moving around and to my point you saw one in three is going to change your jobs maybe in the next six months. The key is in the developmental mode, understand if you need this person to big P perform, make sure that you are developmentally nurturing that potential by putting them in an environment where they are not running into a lot of interference, where they do not have a lot of distraction, and with intentionality giving them some of the tasks and projects that Jeff was alluding to earlier.

Jeff: Yes, I just want to give credit where credit is due. I like that that is Jeff Smith. That is really Tim Gallwey from the Inner Game of Tennis.

Lee: No, it is not.  It really is Jeff Smith from James Madison Dukes.

Jeff: There you go. I want to hear something that Lee talked about with these what we call high potentials. The people we identify to say these will be the key people that we are going to invest in. We know they are going to take some roles. You should have developmental plan for everybody, right? Please, motivate everybody. Give them motivational message, even the ones that are not doing very well. They should be getting the message of up around in ninety days, let us get going. This part of the conversation we are really concentrating in your high potential.

High potentials are people that have shown good performance, maybe they just need to show more consistent performance, or they have shown great potential and we need to give a project or two to see if that potential continues. We also have to make sure the job is open. One of the questions that Lee and Jennifer and Marisa and I, we get often asked is should we tell them or not? All I can tell you is I err on the side of yes. The reason that I err on the side of yes is that I have been in the spot where I was a high potential and did not know it. I was anxious and when I had kind of recall, it was sort of like I do not know how I am doing here, and I pause. Literally, in one of my organizations that I left, when I left the CEO of the company required me to come see him the day I turned in my resignation and said don't you know that we had you as a senior vice president or vice president? I am like, well, gosh I am really honored and that is fantastic. That would have been really good to know any time in the past year. Hello? That I saw a feedback or guidance on my career.

Lee: Sounds like a country song, 'Darling, you are a high poll but we never told you.'

Jeff: Anyway, what I would say about that is yes. There are possibilities where that goes astray.  Back in my day, we did a lot of support at Capital One and we would have some high potentials that blow up because we told them that they are high potentials. They got very big egos, they felt like they are entitled with a job and we did not have something in six months, they made a ruckus.

Lee: That is a retention tool.

Jeff: But, here is the deal, we learned. They are going to be that way regardless so we learned it early. But your point, it was retention tool. I have also been on a spot where I have been told I was high potential and it gave me a sense. I did not think of that as a check the box but it made a sense that it made me ask better questions. Here is something I would want you to do. Hey, you are high potential, here is why I am giving you the assignment. We want you to work on your ability to cross functions. We want to see how you lead when you do not have authority. We are going to throw you into a place where you are going to go now and manage a function you have never managed before. We do not want you to learn the function as much as it is and you get higher in the organization. You become less and less of a functional expert and more of the influencer. We want to learn how you can take experts in a field and get them call less to run an idea. See how that is being intentional about what the development is about?

Lee: That is great. That is excellent. That is just great.

Jeff: Now, when that headhunter calls, they are less likely to go because now they know what they are working on. They know they have a need and they are unsure in that new culture. A, would I fit in, will I get developed, and here I am getting developed, then I am more likely to stay. That to me is best culture, best examples.

Lee: Absolutely it is. There is something to this. You are investing in me, you are behind the door, you are telling me and it is almost like I use the words limiting behaviors. We think you are a rising star. You may think you are a superstar. We think you have got some limiting behaviors but what does that mean? Limiting behaviors mean that you may be technically excellent at what you do, you have a great math co-processor.

 I can think of lots of people that fall into that category. Now, we are going to put you in a leadership role ahh guess what: direct reports, E.Q., all that other discussion, right? Everything we have talked about, developing people, leading your team, translating the strategic intent of the organization to get the best work product out of your team, taking it to the next level, spousing your team such a culture where you are insulating them against those headhunter calls. There is something to limiting behaviors. What are those limiting behaviors? A lot of times, we use assessment tools to get a baseline. We use different things. You have heard us talk about DISC and all that kind of thing but there is a deeper dive in a different day we can get into about assessments.

Suffice to say that if you have somebody who is a high potential, a high pro, and you have given them feedback might be from a 360 from whatever mechanism, make sure that they hear it and hear the positives. Not the implied contract, not the guaranteed job, but you are on a radar screen is to be upwardly mobile.

Jeff: I agree. The assessments are fantastic for navigating those, 360 certainly, lots of good assessments out there. We can cover those another day but that is a great way of having a conversation. The most important thing though, it is a conversation. This should be an ongoing conversation and that the key to retaining top talent. For us, the key is for you to stay with us. We have got a two minute break coming and I promise you there are some really good tips and tools on the other side of this last break. See you in two.


Jeff: Welcome back. I am here today with Lee Hubert. We are wrapping up our conversation around how do you compete for talent? What are some of the best practices for keeping your talent? We are going to this last section around tools, tips, some of Lee's nice and best ideas and practices. One thing, what I really noticed was succession planning has not been met. In 2017, we will do a full show on succession planning. Our best practices and things like that because we do it all the time. We will do much bigger episode in 2017. I have got a really good friend, Joanne Loce, who has run succession planning conferences and talent development for the Conference Board of New York City. I will make sure Joanne gets to the show.

We will do a much deeper dive on that in 17. In the meantime, one of the things I would just want to wrap up is that we have talked about this in a lot of the show but it is a conversation between the leader and the employee and it being an ongoing conversation. If my only best practice or tool to give is making an ongoing conversation. My example, there was a time where again, this was back in my Capital One days, I had a manager come to me and say, 'Hey, we would really like you to think about taking an expat assignment.' Maybe over to England or Italy or some place like that. I was flattered. We really kicked the tires on it. Definitely, I went back and forth. At this point, we have got two kids that are now maybe four months old and two years four months old, two daughters. All I want at that moment is sleep. It is not that I am not high potential...

Lee: But you are tired. High potential, you are a typo.

Jeff: My interference at that moment was I am seeing stars and diapers and pinkies and all that. Luckily, I had a leader though that was very wise and came back about five months later and said, 'Jeff, maybe not ex-pat but we got this new product line that we think about rolling out. Would you be willing to hit that out for us?' By then, I am getting some sleep. I am feeling better, I am feeling recharged. I was still the same person. It was just timing. Look at that, the leader took the time to know me. Knew that my family situation got a little better from getting sleep and all that and came back with assignment. Just think if they had sort of recruited.

Lee: Well, Jeff is not interested in moving.

Jeff: Or moving up in the organization, instead this was a really wise that continued the conversation with me.

Lee: Or just check that box that said limited behavior on mobile, non-mobile.

Jeff: Right. To give you a sense too, I stayed at that job for a couple more years because of that question. If not for re-asking the question, I might have left within six months if they had not come back and shown interest. Well, there is that saying that says quit the boss before you quit the company, right? To my earlier point, have you paid the price of admission? Do you understand what your people are doing? What is going on with them? I can think of a business unit that I intervened with and long story short is their leader had not understood what was going on their day to day world. They had issues. They had issues for morale, they had issues what to do, they have the tools do their job, the staffing issues.

They had communication issues, they had physical issues, physical plant, environmental issues, all these different things. To me, as the intervener and they grab on to those things. This is literally paying the price of admission. It is like morale in this team was terrible, turnover was bad, retention was in the tank. We turn that around, how do you that? Well, had to ask them to verbalize what are the things that were sticking in their crop and then after you move on to some of those, that is fair game to say. Have you noticed anything? Yes, we address X, Y, and Z. These were your top burning issues in. Now, guess what? I want your partnership to build this team back up to the beat. A place where it can be the most the best team it can be.

Lee: Interesting.

Jeff: Good stuff. Lee, one of the ones I want to talk about for just a second that I think is critical is on-boarding.

Lee: Yes.

Jeff: Again, I both been a recruiter, I coach recruiters, I have been the hiring guy that has been in the number one HR seat where decided which hit design form we will use. I can tell you that I have spent $30 to over $100,000 from critical positions. It can take us anywhere from six months to twelve months, sometimes three months at best, to go and identify the hole that we have. Bring all these people in, sometimes board approval needed, all that kind of stuff. We spend $30 to $100,000 and then we kind of drop this person in and expect it to be success.

Lee: Ouch, bounce off the pavement. Well, we are talking about boarding and people get concerned about the vacancy rate. You can see people sitting around boardroom tables going why is our vacancy available? How long is the job open? Get somebody in there. Okay, we get to get the right person in the door, now what happened? Is this what you are saying?

Jeff: On-boarding is absolutely critical. First thing is, number one, when you were flirting before. I am flirting with you, batting your eyes at me, kicking the tires and all things you talked about. Well, what is that person's buying experience? Okay, they said yes. I am going to join your organization, now what?

Lee: Do I have the systems to do my job? Am I being aligned with the right people at the right time? Am I given low hanging fruit, am I aware of the low hanging fruit? Are the rules and expectation clearly communicated to me and if so, by whom? The person who hire me and the person they report to, have they disappeared off the radar screen and now do I have this matrix or broken line to somebody else? There are a lot of these things. Sometimes people relocate across the country to accept jobs like this. Sometimes they do not, sometimes they accept a bigger commute.

All these things have impact on themselves personally and their families. It is very important to get the first 100 to 180 days right. I use the phrase, I like this phrase, they are stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime. You got the person on-board, there is a dollar on table. If you do not do the on-boarding piece right, you are going to be walking over that dollar. You are leaving it and then you are picking up dimes and go back to the board table. Look at the dimes we got but look all the dollars leaving on the table. Because I can tell you or you may find out in your ex interviews at some point. Hopefully, you will not. But you will find out that these people had some concerns and stands to reason the first hundred days or so, they really do not want to squeak a lot. You are obligated to go get this person up to speed as best you possibly can.

Jeff: Yes, it is about setting some clear expectations. Making sure they have the tools to the job, other resources and stay close to them. Too many leaders I see think that the person has got, that they are doing a great job and they are but 30 to 45 days in, they get overwhelmed. Remember that is for promoting someone internally. Put them on new projects. Keeping talked out means that it is an ongoing conversation, clear expectations, feedback on how you doing, care about the person, see if you can match their needs, what they want toward the organization.

Lee: You are trying to tell me you actually want them to care about somebody you are hiring.

Jeff: Absolutely. I will just wrap with this. Lee, thanks for being here again today. Let me wrap with this. This is a true story from my own experience. I moved with Insight, one of the companies I worked for. They knew I was coming. I was a high potential being come over to do this. I gave about two months notice to my old apartment to move over just because I was working on a big project. It was clear that they knew me. I switch jobs, I come over, my phone is blowing before I get there. Computer, all that kind of stuff.

I switched to my new job. It was clear that they knew I was coming because on my desk, there were pens that said Jeff. There was no computer, there was nobody to meet me, there are no business cards and the desk was not cleaned out and set up. But they had thought about me because they were pens. I almost bounced. Luckily I have been in the organization for a while then but literally I almost left and here it is, a high potential and they had two months to get ready for me. Just imagine what is had like for others. They are coming maybe moving from across the country and things like that. The war on talents is going to continue. Please shoot us some e-mails. Look for a blog from us on this at voltageleadership.com.

Lee: It is the war for a talent.

Jeff: Thanks again for joining us on Voltcast: Illuminating Leadership. You  can reach out to us. Do that. @jeffvoltageleadership.com You can follow us on Facebook at Voltage Leadership. Our website is www.voltageleadership.com. If you need coaching or on-boarding, happy to provide that for you. We also can be reached at phone number 540-798-1963.

Please, feel free to reach out to either Lee or myself during the week with questions we would be happy to answer. Next week on the show, we are going to have Jennifer Alina talk about best practices from our clients and ways that you can make 2017 great with your best practices. Thanks again for joining us on Voltcast: Illuminating Leadership. We will see you next week at one o'clock Eastern. Take care and have an awesome week. Bye now. Go dukes.