Jim Bitterle, Managing Partner of EDSI Consulting, presented at ASE’s 2016 Talent Symposium on the topic of growing your own talent. Check out the video recording if you were not able to join live!
One of my goals is to make it to all 50 states by the age of 40, and all 7 continents by the age of 60. In order to achieve the domestic portion of this goal, about once a year I embark on an overly ambitious road trip. The goal is to cram as much as I can into a 4 or 5 day journey and see as much of this beautiful country as possible. To give you an idea, the last trip started in Boise, Idaho, and ended in Portland, Oregon, and included 5 states, 4 state capitals, 3 national parks, 2 flights, and 1 rental car. It also included a LOT of caffeine and very little sleep.
While a trip like this doesn’t allow me to fully experience any of these destinations the way I would like to, it does help me to understand which of these places I would like to revisit in the future … and how much time I would truly want to spend there.
During another recent trip, I visited Badlands National Park, Custer National Park, Deadwood, Mount Rushmore, and the Crazy Horse Monument. Fair, or unfair, there is some mental benchmarking that goes into deciding how much time I spend at each location, and whether or not I plan on revisiting that place. While both trips were great in their own right, I found myself comparing and contrasting the two. If I am being honest, I would much rather go back to Yellowstone than Mount Rushmore. If I were to make one of those drives again, I personally enjoyed driving through Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Oregon more than I enjoyed driving through Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa.
Have you heard the phrase workforce planning? What about strategic workforce planning? This catchphrase is changing the HR game and offering a glimmer of hope in the war for top talent. It’s also creating some important and interesting dialogue within the C-Suite.
How is this possible, you ask? Strategic workforce planning (SWP) helps connect a company’s core business goals with its most important asset: people!
In its most basic form, workforce planning determines what an organization needs in terms of the size, type, experience, quality, skills and knowledge of its workforce in order to achieve primary business goals. The term strategic further defines the timeframe of the planning activities. Think system-wide organization and strategy vs. work-unit issues at a supervisor level.
Jim Bitterle, Managing Partner of EDSI Consulting, was invited by Tom Borg Consulting to talk talent! Tune in to this podcast recording to learn more about EDSI and how to develop talent in your organization.
Has your organization ever gone “Unicorn Hunting?” If so, it probably played out like this:
- Somebody within the organization decides that you need to go find a mythical and elusive unicorn
- You post ads trying to get a unicorn to wander in off the street and when no unicorns appear, you send people out to try to hunt for one
- After a lengthy and futile search you get frustrated because you don’t find any unicorns
- The moment you decided to give up on the hunt, you finally find a unicorn
- Five different people want to weigh in on whether this is the best unicorn you are going to find and the best way to capture the unicorn
- By the time everyone agrees that this is in fact the best unicorn, and agrees on the best way to capture the unicorn, the unicorn has wandered off
- After several months of searching for another unicorn, you decide to go find a horse instead (which is WAY easier)
- Once you find a horse you like, you realize that the horse can do just about everything you needed the unicorn to do, and that you never really needed a unicorn in the first place
Jack Welch has a great quote, “The team with the best players wins.” For some, he could be referring to baseball or football, but in business we know the most important team is within the walls of your workplace. Your company likely spends lots of time and money finding people with the skill sets that most closely match your company culture, the challenge is keeping them.
What is the best approach keeping your best talent and avoiding having them swooped up by your competitors? What makes employees want to stay? Here are a few things to consider:
Sometimes, when I’ve tried 10 times to re-word a sentence in a resume, or I sit down with a customer who has a less-than-ideal work history, the opening lines from the famous Beatles’ song come to mind:
Help, not just anybody
Help, you know I need someone
In the course of writing a resume or speaking with customers, we might encounter any number of problems that can cause great difficulty. In order to provide the best and most effective resume advice to customers, as well as produce great results, we should seek help from all available resources. These can come in the form of people, books, websites…anything that gives us advice and helps us to break the resume stalemate.
I store my resources in my “tool box,” and I can fix most resume problems by reaching in and pulling out something I can use.
I have been part of many conversations recently about young professionals: being a young professional, how to attract young professionals to specific employers, what do young professionals want in a position, etc. A common theme I heard in each of these conversations was the varying definition, view, and expectations of a young professional. I found it interesting that this term is used so frequently in the workforce, yet is shaped by perspective, which is then key to understanding someone’s view. From here, I turned to a few college seniors to hear their perspectives and asked them to refrain from using the internet.
WIOA requires states and local Workforce Development Boards to work with adult education, post-secondary education and other community-based organizations to develop career pathways that will make it easier for all Americans to attain the skills and credentials needed for jobs.
What are career pathways? The US Department of Labor defines career pathways as a new way of doing business which operates at both a systems and an individual level. At the systems level, a career pathway is a broad approach for serving populations that may experience significant barriers to employment. The career pathway can substantively alter the way the workforce system delivers its services and the system’s relationship with partner organizations and stakeholders to better prepare the worker.
Career pathway programs should offer a sequence of education courses and training credentials which are aligned with work-ready standards and competencies which are validated by employers. Career pathways can also provide greater customer service at all levels by engaging employers, adult basic education, training providers, community organizations and service providers to design services that meet the needs of employers and job seekers.
Written by Karin Knutson - Director of Sales with EDSI Consulting
Finding talent is difficult. Finding specifically skilled talent is even harder. With fewer young adults pursuing manufacturing careers, this challenge is not going to go away in the near future. Many factors and misperceptions can shed light on reasons why fewer young adults seem to be pursuing manufacturing jobs as careers: it’s dirty, parents aren’t encouraging it, schools are pushing college degrees, it doesn’t pay well, no flexibility, etc. But many communities and companies are working hard to reverse this thought process. This article provides a few tips on how you can attract and retain the skilled talent you need now.
Working Environment/Company Culture – A defined company culture will assist in developing a team atmosphere. This, along with an updated working environment, can add huge benefits to employee morale. Take a picture of your break room. Would you want to have your lunch there?
Internships – This is a fantastic way for you to “try before you buy” with different candidates and see how they work in your company environment, while allowing them to demonstrate work ethic and potential.
Developing the Local Pipeline – Look to your local community colleges and tech schools and build relationships with the faculty and curriculum staff. They know their students best and can help to identify which ones could be good candidates for your organization. They also should be open to hearing your company’s specific workforce needs and adding any needed essential skills to their curriculum. Also, consider committing to hiring a certain number of their graduates for internships to deepen the relationship.
Retaining Champion Employees
Keeping Your Seasoned Employees on to Train Newer Employees – There is no better way to train new or less seasoned employees than with On-the-Job training with your subject matter experts. As a possible added benefit, your subject matter experts are sometimes open to continued employment on as part-time basis, saving you money.
Career Ladders – This lets your employees know that once they hit a certain level of skill competency, they can move up the company ladder. Knowing there are opportunities to grow with the company can create significant self-motivation. Show your employees the skill attainment they need with a simple check list and have their supervisors confirm when skills and responsibilities have changed.
Up-Skilling and Training Incumbents – Don’t only look externally for candidates when you just might have your own great pipeline in your entry level employees. Assess who has gained the most skill since joining your team and up-skill them to replace any open or needed job position. Invest time and resources into your current employees.
We know that many companies are facing the reality of low or shrinking training budgets. But, think about the cost to your company of losing a long-time client over poor quality or having an injured employee due to inefficient training. (It is guaranteed that good, quality training will cost much less!) Pull the numbers from a manufacturing line being down for a day, or even an hour, without your one “go to” employee there to fix it. Look at the profits from getting that huge order because production is on time and quality is at its benchmark. The majority of these situations are a direct reflection of decisions on hiring and training employees. By hiring the appropriate candidates, properly training your existing team, and providing a quality culture and work environment, your company is making an investment in its future success!
Founded in 1979, EDSI is a national leader in workforce development, customized training and consulting.
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