Human capital is the most important piece of your business. If you do not invest in your people then they will not be as productive or profitable for your business.
One of the most important plans to have in your organization is your Personnel Engagement and Development Plan. Even MORE important than that though is TO ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH on the plan. Action is required on behalf of the leadership team to engage and develop their employees.
If you are in a leadership role you should aspire to be what you think the CEO (if they're good and you respect their vision, mission and action) of the company would be like if they were in your role. You have to care as much as the CEO would about your role.
It is one thing to have decades of knowledge and experience from having worked for a company or in an industry. It's an entirely different thing to take on a leadership role and actually lead your people.
In order to have an effective and actionable talent engagement and development plan you have to have the right training in place for the leaders to receive the proper support and coaching. If this fails then you might as well not have the talent engagement and development plan because it, most likely, will not trickle down to the staff in the front line.
Talent engagement and development is absolutely essential. You can count all of the numbers that you want on the balance sheets related to profits, earnings, etc. but what are the losses companies experience related to employee turnover. And by employee turnover I do not mean the costs associated with hiring and training. What I DO mean is the loss related to actually having a highly skilled employee that you lose as a result of not effectively engaging and developing that employee.
Businesses need to consider this. Just because you have employees filling the chairs doesn't mean you are doing an effective job. Just because you send out employee surveys to understand your employees doesn't mean that you're receiving honest results because employees may fear that actually being honest will not be received well and/or nothing will change.
I think sometimes businesses come up with surveys, results, and outcomes to just reiterate their belief that they are doing things well when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Everything starts at the top. Leaders need to get 'in the trenches' with their employees to really understand them. They need to build up those relationships to truly get the honest truth.
There's a quote that I read once that is sad in it's truth. The saying or joke is that businesses are like a tree full of monkeys. The monkeys higher in the tree represent the leaders of the business with the front of the line staff being represented by the monkeys on the bottom branches. All of the monkeys near the bottom are looking up and the leaders at the top look down to see their smiling faces, except those looking up from the bottom just see a bunch of asses.
Let's ensure our Talent Engagement and Development strategies are actually being acted on so that our businesses don't represent the tree of monkeys.
As a leader you must:
- Show your employees that you support them and 'have their back'. It's one thing to say this, it's another thing to actually do this.
- Get to know your employees and let them get to know you. This means both personally and professionally. What are some things that motivate them? What are activities and interests that they have outside of work? What are their career aspirations? Share some advice, knowledge, expertise in your discussions.
- Follow through. If you say something, if you promise something, make sure you follow through. Make sure you deliver!
- Be the example. Whatever you want or expect of your employees you better be demonstrating those traits yourself. As the saying goes, 'Actions speak louder than words' and yet people still fail to set expectations by demonstrating the values and beliefs held by the organization that employees and leaders alike are supposed to exemplify.