As discussed in my previous post, a best in class mentoring program starts by establishing the specific objectives and desired outcomes of the mentoring experience. As part of that process, it’s key to pinpoint your mentee target audience. This will help define both the program structure and the skill sets needed by the mentors you engage. Over the course of my career as an international Organizational Development professional, I’ve seen growing interest in leveraging the power of mentoring to address two challenging talent dynamics facing companies today: 1) attracting and retaining women in STEM professions; and 2) effectively blending a multi-generational workforce. Mentoring programs tailored to address these specific issues can be a highly effective way to create competitive advantage through enhanced productivity, engagement, and retention. Here are some key factors to consider when designing mentoring initiatives to address these specific challenges.
Innovation is the name of the game for company growth. As my YourEncore colleagues Shekar Mitra and George Deckner have recently written, it’s also a game that is increasing complex and challenging to win. They’ve discussed new approaches, bringing the outside in, and how to get the best out of innovation teams. These are all great strategies for changing the playing field. In addition, during my 37 years leading new product development for Procter & Gamble, I’ve found that there is one page in the innovation playbook that is often overlooked: delivering a steady series of strategic base hits versus a singular focus on periodic, high-risk grand slams. With this approach, companies can put runs on the board that cumulatively lead to more profitable growth, ultimately allowing them to win big in the innovation game.
As the war for talent continues to heat up, the ability to attract, retain and develop talent is more important than ever. Mentoring plays a critical role in enhancing employee satisfaction and creates competitive advantage in recruitment and retention. Particularly for Millennials, “on the job” professional development is a priority; they crave continuous learning and look to their employers for career development. If they don’t get it, they move on. At the same time, companies are faced with a wave of retirement among their most experienced talent, many of whom want or need to continue some level of professional employment. As noted in my earlier post on the benefits of mentoring, bringing these two groups together in a formal mentoring program creates the proverbial “win-win” for both organizations and individuals. Over the course of my career as an international Organizational Development professional, I’ve found that companies reap the greatest rewards from mentoring when they have formal programs and structures in place that proactively pair accomplished professionals with up-and-comers in the organization. Designing the right program prior to implementation is critical to its success. Here are five steps to creating a best-in-class mentoring program.
An important trend is emerging in business communication: People now spend more Internet time on mobile phones than on desktops or laptops, more people open email on phone than on laptops, and increasingly important, communications are taking place via messaging to cell phones, including the following:
- Distributed decision making: communicating and coordinating with people who are making decisions in geographically different locations
- Remote workforce management: highlighting schedules, preparation needed for a project, project success criteria, just-in-time coaching and information sharing
- Recruitment: identifying candidates as 70-90% of job searches start on mobile.
We all know the ability to attract, retain, and develop key talent is essential to an organization’s success. Doing so has never been more critical than it is today. It’s also more difficult than ever before. The colliding demographic, economic, and attitudinal shifts now occurring in the workforce as Boomers retire and Millennials begin their careers has created unprecedented churn and an ever-widening skill, experience, and wisdom gap. While Millennials are now the largest cohort in the US workforce, they are the least engaged, and their average company tenure is only three years. However, they cite coaching and professional development as key to higher job satisfaction. At the same time, while 10,000 Boomers retire every day, many want or need to continue some level of professional employment. And therein lies a tremendous opportunity. Bring these two groups together in a formal mentoring program. It is one sure-fire way to promote professional development and employee engagement in your organization.
If you have been following my blog series on the changing dynamics in the workforce, you know that I am big movie buff and often draw parallels between a movie storyline and the opportunities I see for both companies and retirees in today’s gig economy. Recently, I came across Multiplicity: Michael Keaton clones himself so that he can meet the demands of his job and spend more quality time with his family. As I thought about it, I realized there is a whole genre of movies built on the notion that a clone, identical twin, doppelganger, or mirror image allows a hero to accomplish more, do something new, or change their world. Then it dawned on me…this plot applies to business as well. What if a company could clone itself by creating a virtual organization that mirrors its culture and experience, plus gives it the flexibility to readily add the skills or expertise it may be lacking? Think of the agility and capacity that could create! The good news is…this is not a science fiction or fantasy film story. It can be done today.
Last week, I shared the first three of six talent hacks that companies can use to remain competitive in light of the rapid and seismic demographic and business changes occurring in the marketplace. Companies are struggling with the loss of valuable knowledge due to retirement, M&A activity, or massive transformation initiatives. They need to think and act differently in terms of talent planning and sourcing. And there’s no time to waste. Based on our work with hundreds of Fortune 500, start-up, and private equity consumer goods and life science companies, here are the remaining three of six “talent hacks” you can use now to accelerate your workforce optimization.
A large global client recently shared with me that over 3,000 of their employees will retire in the first quarter of this year alone. This number is significant enough that the company may be able to avoid a pending layoff. However, the rapid loss of the collective experience, knowledge, and wisdom represented by these retirees is creating a drastic talent drain that cannot quickly or easily be replaced through traditional recruiting practices. Without the right blend of highly experienced, mid-career, entry-level, and transactional resources, the company is justifiably concerned that achievement of their business objectives is at serious risk. Not only does finding immediately effective, senior-level talent have a long lead time, but simply backfilling positions vacated by retirees with full time, permanent employees also reduces the company’s agility and flexibility to quickly respond to changes and opportunities in their market. The company is actively searching for new approaches to human capital resource planning and recruitment that positions them for both short and long term success.
This client is not alone. I hear these stories all the time. Companies are struggling with the loss of valuable knowledge due to retirement, M&A activity, or massive transformation initiatives. Recently, I wrote about the need to think differently about talent planning and sourcing. The challenge is that the demographic make-up of the workforce and the changing needs of businesses are happening so fast that HR and Procurement cannot keep up. Based on our work with hundreds of Fortune 500, start-up, and private equity Consumer Goods and Life Science companies, I offer six “talent hacks” to accelerate your workforce optimization. Here are the first three.
Despite the wild weather over the past few weeks, a glance at my calendar reminds me that spring is less than two weeks away. With spring comes graduation season. Although often viewed as marking the conclusion of formal education, consider that the graduation event itself is called commencement. This rite of passage celebrates the start of the next phase of a graduate’s life. And even before the last exam is taken, the college or university’s alumni association begins contacting graduating students, encouraging them to join the organization, and stay connected with the school and peers, network with other alumni, and even travel together on cruises and other vacation adventures. Alumni are often invited back as guest lecturers, to serve on career boards, to mentor students, or otherwise contribute to the school (beyond just financially).
It occured to me that companies could learn a lesson from colleges and universities in how to remain connected to their retirees and other former employees. What if they began to treat them as true alumni, courting their on-going engagement with the company as they work together on their retirement strategy and transition plans? Here are three steps you can take now to establish a vibrant, reliable, and productive alumni talent pool that will support your needs for years to come.
I am a big movie buff. It’s impossible not to be. I have two sons in the entertainment industry in Hollywood, and movies are a big topic of conversation in my family. So, as you can imagine, this time of year is a big deal for us. We love to celebrate the Academy Awards. It’s as big as the Super Bowl, World Cup, or World Series.
Over the past few weeks, I have been trying to catch up on all the Best Picture nominees. I highly recommend this; the batch of movies nominated this year are fantastic, including Arrival. I’m not going to spoil anything here, but there is one concept floated in the movie that I found truly compelling: the possibility that completely immersing ourselves in a second language allows us to rewire our brain. This thought really captured my imagination, and I began to research it. Low and behold, there are plenty of studies that support that learning another language does allow us to rewire our brains. So, what does this have to do with how experienced business professionals, as well as organizations, approach career progression, employment, and talent utilization in light of the seismic shifts taking place in today’s workforce? To thrive in the Gig Economy, we need to rewire our brains by learning a new language of workforce participation and employee engagement.