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.
The face of healthcare is undergoing major changes. Traditional relationships between healthcare providers, payers and patients are being turned on their head. This revolution is being driven by multiple factors, including: 1) demographics, as huge numbers of Baby Boomers enter their senior years; 2) the advent of healthcare plans that place greater responsibility for healthcare decisions and costs on patients; and 3) the explosive growth in eHealth, which has created unprecedented access to health-related information, a proliferation of health-focused internet sites and services, as well as smartphone apps that put information and personalized health data at your fingertips.
These forces have transformed the patient into a healthcare consumer who shops for value and demands improved quality, cost, convenience, and performance…just like s/he does for “traditional” consumer products. Yet delivering on performance requirements in this space often demands the scientific rigor associated with the life science and pharmaceutical industries. Having led both consumer product and pharmaceutical innovation for Procter & Gamble, including serving as a founding member and leader of PGT Healthcare, a joint venture between P&G and Teva Pharmaceuticals, I view the convergence between CPG, rigorous science, and even Food & Beverage as tremendously fertile ground for consumer-led innovation and growth. Today’s post highlights key demographic shifts, along with some thoughts on opportunities for innovation in a consumer-driven environment. In future posts, I’ll discuss the influence of consumer-directed health care plans and eHealth on the patient as consumer.
Tension can be a good thing. Resistance is how our bodies build muscle. In teams, very productive work comes from teams that value and encourage differing points of view. This idea of embracing conflict also applies to finding breakthrough solutions to the problem that an innovation team has been charged with solving.
Last week I talked about the value of innovation teams focusing first on what needs to be done. Why are we here? What function needs to be delivered by the solution? Once a team defines this “job to be done," I recommend a second step that has similar power in driving goal clarity and creativity: identifying and articulating all contradictions inherent in the stated problem. In working with a wide range of teams over the course of my 35-year career in R&D with Procter & Gamble and subsequent engagements with YourEncore clients, I’ve found this step extremely valuable in staying focused while opening the range of possible solutions to explore.
“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” --Albert Einstein
In his recent posts on innovation, Dr. Shekhar Mitra talked about the importance of the Innovation Brief, which outlines the specific focus of an innovation team’s work. It reflects the business vision and innovation strategy, while focusing on a tightly defined, clearly articulated problem to be solved.
The need to start with a defined problem sounds both obvious and simple, right? Yet over the course of my 35-year career in R&D with Procter & Gamble and subsequent engagements with YourEncore clients, I’ve found that it is easier said than done. Often, teams spring into action, tackling symptoms vs. root causes and missing the opportunity to deliver game-changing results. So how do you get to the heart of the matter and craft a powerful problem statement that both focuses and frees your innovation team to discover breakthrough solutions?
Last week I wrote about the importance of challenging paradigms to achieve breakthrough innovation. Once an innovation brief or problem statement has been clearly articulated, there is a tendency for those charged with finding “the answer” to spring into action. By nature, most people are action-oriented; thinking is not a visible activity and, therefore, often not perceived to be “productive”. I contend, however, that critically thinking through the goal, assumptions, and challenges of the current situation is one of the most important, and productive, steps in the innovation process.
Critical thinking is a self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem. Great innovators use critical thinking to analyze, assess, deconstruct, and reconstruct alternative solutions. Over the course of my career developing and commercializing new platform technologies at P&G and Charles of the Ritz, I’ve found several techniques that work well to strengthen and leverage critical thinking skills. Here are six that I use to push the boundaries: