Category Archives: Talent Management

How to Do More with Less

Our current economic downturn has caused many businesses and organizations to downsize in order to survive.  This poses a number of challenges.  One of which is how to best fill the roles that are vacated.  In order to successfully manage this transition, it’s important to be strategic about how to maximize the talents of the employees that remain by matching your organization’s needs with the skills, motivations and aptitude of your employees.

Here are some strategies to help effectively fill the gaps left by downsizing:

  • Up skill across the organization.Your existing employees often have invaluable institutional knowledge and may have the aptitude for more varied responsibilities given the opportunity to learn new skills. For example, do you have employees that are natural leaders, who have great interpersonal skills but have not had management training?  Are there skills specific to your industry that your existing employees can learn, which would help fill some of your needs? Make sure you are having discussions with each of your employees about your organization’s needs and what new skills and experiences they desire.  These discussions will not only help you fill your gaps but will likely increase employee engagement because your employees will see that you care about their growth and development.
  • Ensure employees are playing to their strengths. Incorporating a strengths based approach can be a highly effective way to keep employees motivated and productive.  Rather than asking employees to pick up the slack by doing work that doesn’t play to their strengths, give them new opportunities to use their strengths.  The StrengthsFinder has become a quite popular and effective way to help people identify their strengths.  I have found that the implementation of the StrengthsFinder often falls short.  It is most frequently used to help employees better understand themselves and each other but is not used enough to tailor job responsibilities to match the strengths of the employees.  One way I have successfully used the StrengthsFinder is by helping organizations analyze the various strengths of their team members.  This can be particularly helpful when people are moved into new positions, as teams are more effective when comprised of people with complimentary strengths.
  • Use a psychometric assessment. In my work with clients I use the Prevue assessment to benchmark positions based on the skills, motivations and personality factors needed for a particular position.  Candidates take an assessment to see how their skills, motivations and personality match the needs identified in the benchmark.  This can be a very helpful way to fill the gaps left by downsizing with existing employees who could potentially meet the identified benchmarks.  And, using an assessment can help ensure the process of filling positions is not influenced by personal bias.

We are in the midst of very difficult times for many businesses and organizations.  In order to survive, it will be important to be strategic about how to maximize the talents of your employees.  If you are not strategic during these trying times, you are likely to face a workforce with increased burn out, decreased motivation and decreased productivity, which most businesses and organizations cannot afford.

Alisa Blum & Associates helps businesses & organizations select, develop and retain top employees.  To schedule a complimentary consultation, contact Alisa at (503) 481-7586 or alisa@developtopemployees.com.

Six Ways to Support Employees During the COVID Crisis

Credit: CentrallTAlliance

The challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been with us for a while now.  Stressors from social isolation, balancing work responsibilities while homeschooling, concerns about job security and health concerns can easily interfere with an employee’s job performance.
 
Here are 6 actions you can take to support your employees:

Provide open communication about employee well-being. Encourage conversations between managers and employees that go beyond discussing tasks that need to be accomplished.  Ask employees how they are doing and how they would like to be supported.  In team meetings, allow time for team members to provide support to each other.

Affirm the employee’s value to your organization. Since people are now having less contact with each other, there aren’t as many opportunities for employees to get feedback about their contributions.  Take time to communicate specific ways their contributions are impacting your organization’s success, and you will positively impact their motivation and self-esteem.

Consider virtual support groups. Explore whether your employees would find it useful to form a group with the purpose of helping each other cope with common stressors.

Offer mentoring.  Mentoring can offer tremendous benefits to enhance employee and organizational success.  With many organizations dealing with the impact of downsizing, a mentor can work with employees to help guide their career development within your new organizational structure.

Build resilience.  Although some people are naturally resilient, many of us need to learn how to be resilient.  One of the best ways to become more resilient is to increase social+emotional intelligence.  The assessment and coaching we provide can help build the resilience that we all need right now. Mindfulness has been found to be an excellent way to build resilience.  Check out our programs that incorporate mindfulness techniques to improve organizational health.

Use your EAP. During these difficult times, some of your employees may be experiencing a mental health crisis or problems with substance abuse.  Make sure your employees are aware of the resources your EAP provides.  If you don’t have an EAP, provide employees with appropriate avenues for help.

Being proactive by offering support and resources now, can prevent common stressors from taking a major toll on your employees well-being and their productivity.

Alisa Blum & Associates helps businesses & organizations select, develop and retain top employees.  To schedule a complimentary consultation, contact Alisa at (503) 481-7586 or alisa@developtopemployees.com.

 

What is Your Employee Retention Strategy?

Successful business people celebrating with a high-five

Finding high quality candidates is a major concern for businesses these days.  Although we can’t change the fact that many Boomer employees are retiring or that people will leave their jobs for personal reasons, turnover can be significantly reduced by developing and implementing  employee retention strategies.

Gallup’s State of the American Workforce Report gives detailed information about the relationship between employee engagement and employee retention.  We have so much information about how to engage employees.  The hard part is taking action.

If your organization is being impacted by employee turnover and you are having a hard time filling your positions, it is essential to make engaging and retaining your employees a priority.  You can start by letting your employees know you value their contributions and gather their input as to what you can do to keep them long term.  You may also want to conduct a survey based on the engagement factors the Gallup Organization has identified as critical to employee retention.  Make sure your efforts to find out how to improve employee retention results in specific plans and actions.

When you make a plan to increase retention and take the steps necessary to implement this plan, you will see decreased turnover and, therefore, reduce the need to fill positions in this tight job market.

Alisa Blum & Associates helps businesses & organizations select, develop and retain top employees.  You may contact us for a complimentary consultation to discuss strategies  to retain your top talent at (503) 481-7586 or alisa@developtopemployees.com. Information about our services can be found at developtopemployees.com.

Celebrate Your Employees With High Impact Recognition

 

Portrait Of Business Team In Office Celebrating

Last year I had the opportunity to help a client combine their annual holiday lunch appreciation event with a management development program on the power of recognition.  The nature of this client’s busy business prevented them from being able to get their managers together very often for a training.  This event was an ideal way to combine a management development program with their annual holiday event. The business owner enhanced the motivation of her managers by providing them with recognition and the managers learned strategies for providing high impact recognition to their employees.

Whether you give your employees gifts, cards, bonuses, or have a public forum for letting your employees know how much you appreciate them, make sure each and every employee is aware of the specific ways they contribute to the success of your organization.  And keep in mind that for recognition to be effective, it should be given throughout the year and tied to individual and team performance goals.

When given correctly, the recognition you give will enhance motivation, improve productivity and increase the retention of your top talent.

 

Alisa Blum & Associates works with businesses & organizations to select, develop and keep a high achieving workforce.  

Develop Top Employees by Overcoming Barriers to Providing Positive Feedback

motivated businessman

Positive performance feedback has been shown to lower turnover, increase productivity, enhance teamwork and improve customer service.  This fairly simple skill is often lacking in today’s workplace.

These three common barriers can be overcome with specific strategies that will help you develop top employees:

  1. Lack of Time:  We often overestimate the time it takes to give feedback.  Consider how long it actually takes to say: “Thank you for helping me with…” or  “Here is how your contribution impacted our work…”.
  2. Lack Understanding of the Need for Feedback :   Individuals from the various generations may perceive recognition differently. A Boomer or Generation X manager who has received minimal recognition throughout his or her career may not realize how important it is for their Millenial employees to receive frequent positive feedback.  In addition, a person who is task oriented and not relationship oriented may not instinctively understand the importance of providing positive feedback.  It’s important to be attune to the differences between your needs and the needs of others so you can adapt your style accordingly.
  3. Lack of Skill: Sometimes managers don’t provide recognition because they don’t know how to give effective positive feedback. Their comfort level can be easily increased with focused skill development and practice.

You will find that as the obstacles to providing positive feedback are overcome, you will see increased motivation, enhanced communication and improved productivity.

Alisa Blum & Associates provides organizational leaders, managers and supervisors, with the skills needed in today’s work environment to develop top employees.  Alisa can be reached at (503) 481-7586 or alisa@developtopemployees.com to discuss your specific needs.

Retain Top Millennnial Talent With These Three Questions

job interview-young employees

As Boomers retire and Millennials begin to dominate the workforce, it is essential for managers to retain top Millennial employees.  One of the best ways to keep top Millennial talent is to have frequent career development discussions.

Managers can initiate the career development discussion by asking their employees these three questions:

  1. In what areas of your work do you feel the most successful?
  2. What parts of your work give you the most satisfaction?
  3. What ideas do you have that would simultaneously create a career opportunity for you and increase the success of our organization?

Keep in mind that career development is a process.  Your employees will likely need time to reflect on these questions, and may need assistance to fully explore their career goals.  The manager’s role in initiating this process is key because it will show your employees that you care about their growth and development.  Make sure you are prepared to give your employees the feedback they crave.

You will find that these discussions will go a long way to enhance motivation, increase productivity and reduce turnover.

Alisa Blum & Associates offers consulting, training and coaching to enhance motivation and improve productivity.  For questions about our services and schedule a free consultation, please contact Alisa at (503) 524-3470 or alisa@developtopemployees.com.

Recognition: A Key Employee Engagement Strategy

Very Important Person

Despite all of the research that has demonstrated what a powerful employee engagement strategy recognition can be, it is often overlooked.

It’s common wisdom that managers typically spend 80% of their time with the 20% of employees that aren’t performing well. One reason this occurs is because managers believe that their primary responsibility is to correct skills or behavior, so they mostly pay attention to problem areas. They aren’t even aware that they aren’t paying attention to the employees are performing well and don’t realize the benefits that organization’s reap when they provide recognition. What would happen to your business or organization if managers spent 80% of their time rewarding the employees that are excelling? My guess is that you would see significant increases in employee engagement, which we know leads to higher performing organizations.

I challenge you to start treating your high performing employees as if they are VIPs and notice what happens. For specific skill development in this area, click on this link Recognition: a Key Factor in Talent Development to see a sample of an e-learning program I’ve developed that teaches verbal recognition skills.

Contact me to explore how we can help you develop a more engaged workforce.

Increase Employee Engagement Through Talent Mobility

talent mobilityOne of the best ways to increase employee engagement is by providing opportunities to learn and grow. This is especially true for our youngest and fastest growing group of employees (the Millenial Generation) who are more likely to change jobs when they begin to get bored. With the continued pressure to do more with less and the increasing need to nimbly adapt to changing business conditions, it is essential for companies to create a mobile talent pool in which you can tap for advancement.

Here are some steps your organization can take to create a mobile talent pool:

  1. Identify a group of employees who are flexible, adaptable and easily integrate new information.
  2. Pinpoint where you are most likely to have the need for cross training.
  3. Use an assessment tool to benchmark your needs and determine which employees can best fill these needs.
  4. Ensure your managers are trained to have regular career development discussions with their employees.
  5. Identify which employees will excel at mentoring your mobile talent pool, and put them to work as coaches.

Feel free to contact us for a complimentary consultation to explore how we can help you reduce the cost of turnover and increase productivity by creating a mobile talent pool.

Top 10 Strategies for Developing & Keeping Top Talent

Are you concerned that your highly skilled employees will leave your organization? Do you wonder what you can do to maximize employee satisfaction and productivity?

I have found that the following tactics have helped companies create increased employee engagement, reduce turnover and develop a more productive workforce:

  1. Find out why your employees like working for you.
  2. Ask your employees what would keep them from leaving your company.
  3. Let your employees know how valuable they are.
  4. Transition to a flatter organizational structure where entry-level employees can easily provide input to top management.
  5. Provide a variety of opportunities for professional growth.
  6. Make sure your managers provide frequent feedback.
  7. Focus on maximizing your employees’ strengths.
  8. Provide options to enhance work/life balance.
  9. Reward creativity and innovation.
  10. Encourage open communication about differing perspectives.

Which of these tactics are you using? What results are you seeing as you consciously set out to engage your employees? Please feel free to contact me for a free consultation to discuss specific strategies your organization can implement to help you develop a high achieving workforce.