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  • Writer's pictureSherry

Leadership in HR- CEO’s are driving this agenda

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I met with some great leaders, our clients this week - those that are successfully building companies and growing them.  It is refreshing to see this in the small to middle market sector. I am sure they are fueling the economy and that is wonderful to see. The CEO’s are concerned about developing talent and retention so there are more discussions this year about training and developing others.  They are also asking a lot about how to develop a great HR function and well, that is for another blog discussion.  Let's just say that HR still has an amazing ability to have impact and be what Lencioni calls the "Chief Reminder Officer."

Regarding development and performance, leaders want employees to step up to more responsibilities and be more resourceful, creative and collaborative.  Few are teaching managers how to do this.  The Wall Street Journal Leadership in HR segment from Monday, April 28th has some great articles on how companies are tackling this issue.  Some are learning on the outside and many are learning to be more effective as a leader or manager from the inside. I mean there is more mention of mentor assignments, rotational programs and internal learning forums. There is also a high value placed on external learning networks.

There is also a great article on the skills gap and that many companies are concerned about this and struggling with the right solution. I have seen this in my own clients that ask us to find “needle in haystack skill sets” rather than think about developing what they have. Their own team members know the culture and the company so why not invest. We often hear, “it will take too long.” Searches take time too and looking within does mean getting creative on what matters most for this new position.

One solution related to the skills gap is creating apprenticeships. Why is there such resistance to this? These programs are a combination of on the job training and mentoring. Maybe we are still thinking about apprentices in the manufacturing and industrial sector mind set. That is old thinking and maybe some think it is “union” oriented but it does not need to be that at all. Proponents of apprentice programs say that any blending of on the job training with related education can be done in various occupations. I hope we see more of this and also the ability to consider developing internal talent more often when looking for that “needle in the haystack” talent. The search for a specific skill can be illusive, costly and time consuming. Don’t get me wrong, we love helping our clients in search when there are clearly needed capabilities that will not be ready internally but we endorse looking at all the options before launching the process.

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