Strategic Alignment, talent management
Every year, many people take time out in the early spring season to clean up their gardens and begin to prepare for the upcoming year. You clean out the weeds, plan your garden beds, and start to decide what the next growing season will look like. There are plenty of parallels between spring cleaning a garden and a talent management strategy and now is a great time to think about whether you need to clean or perform some maintenance. Here are 5 steps to help you cultivate organizational growth in the coming season:
1. Name your goals and make sure they align
Here at Vaya, we spend a tremendous amount of time helping our clients define what “great” looks like in their organization. It’s an important first step in any strategy – without knowing your end goal, you’ll never have clarity on how to get there from here. And the research (https://www.dominican.edu/academics/lae/undergraduate-programs/psych/faculty/assets-gail-matthews/researchsummary2.pdf) suggests that naming your goals can help drastically improve your chance of success and follow-through.
What are your short-term goals? Long-term goals? How are you going to get to those goals and what do the individual steps look like? The heavier of a lift you have, the more you will need to define the plan in concrete, finite steps.
Be sure to define the goals in clear, specific, measurable terms. Most importantly, make sure that your goals align with the overall business objectives and culture of your organization.
2. Toss it or fix it
Sometimes cleaning means throwing out things you longer need. Other times you may just need to perform maintenance to ensure it still operates as intended and at peak efficiency. You may sharpen shears to regain an edge or you may look to replace them if they are beyond sharpening. In the same way, you should evaluate with a critical eye towards effectiveness of your frameworks, competencies, and models. Do they still work? Do they still align with your organizational goals? Are they decent and need some sharpening or are they dated and no longer effective? Are there new tools you might need to help make your work more effective?
3. Don’t go it alone!
Buy-in is critical to any successful talent management strategy. If your strategy has been falling flat up to this point, take the time to look at the buy-in and inclusion of stakeholders. We’ve found over the years that our most successful clients have one thing in common – buy in and “ownership” of talent management strategies from stakeholders and C-suite leaders. It creates a sense of collaboration and pride in the work – both key to advancing talent management strategies to the next level.
Perhaps the issue is a resource availability. Talent initiatives often get relegated to the lowest part of the to-do list and are overtaken by competing priorities and day-to-day functions. We’ve found that these initiatives success best when there is a dedicated team with intentional, deliberate focus on talent.
4. Set clear checkpoints and milestones towards your goals
The best way to think of checkpoints and milestones is that checkpoints are task-driven while milestones are calendar-driven. Let’s say your goal is to have 10 new employees enrolled in your high-potential program by the end of the year. A sample milestone could be 5 employees enrolled by the start of Q3 whereas a sample checkpoint could be based upon assessing a certain number of potential enrollees by the start of Q2. Maintaining a steady rhythm of checking against your goals narrows your focus, captures your attention, drives behaviors, and propels action.
5. Think ahead to next year’s “spring cleaning”
Now is a great time to assess how you measure and track success in your talent management initiatives. Are there metrics you follow that don’t resonate? Are there irrelevant KPIs or did you find that it was hard to quantify or qualify past results? Are you tracking vanity metrics or actionable metrics? Remember, the best actionable metrics and KPIs have a few things in common:
• They have a direct, measurable correlation to business goals
• They are statistically relevant and tied to action items
• Provide clear data to inform decisions
Most importantly, don’t keep KPIs and metrics just because they are the ones you’ve always reported or are the ones you are comfortable with. In the spirit of Step 2, don’t hesitate to throw out or refine those that need it.
Although the physical aspects of spring cleaning get the most press, the primary benefit of spring cleaning is often the reevaluation and reset of priorities with an eye on setting the stage for the future. By following this approach to your talent initiatives, you’re sure to be prepped for a year of growth ahead and for years to come.