For modern startups and established companies alike, effective talent management is crucial for attracting and retaining a high-powered workforce. Employees, whether customer-facing, behind-the-scenes strategy planners, or back-office operations staff, are the driving force of your company. Your team members are interfacing with customers, ensuring that the quality of goods and services delivered to your customers meets the bar, working to generate leads and convert prospects to customers, or working with customers post-sale to ensure satisfaction and mitigate customer service concerns – all facets of the organization that can have a substantial impact on your brand reputation, customer retention, and ultimately the bottom line.
Given the many important roles employees play in day-to-day operations and the long-term success of your business, having a strategy for developing and retaining a high-powered workforce is key. But what strategies can modern companies employ to attract top-tier talent and not only retain talented workers, but ensure that every team member is satisfied and motivated to do give their all? To find out, we reached out to a panel of business leaders, founders, and HR pros and asked them to weigh in on this question:
“What’s your #1 talent management strategy to create a high powered workforce?”
Meet Our Panel of Business Leaders, Founders, and HR Pros:
As Founder/CEO of Hire Talent, Fletcher Wimbush interviews over 1,500 applicants, assesses thousands more, and places upwards of 35 top performers annually. Often speaking to business groups and leaders, he presents on best recruiting practices using self-established resources such as the Power Interview Guide, eBook, and hiring articles.
Hands down, the very best talent management strategy and key to creating a high powered workforce is…
We recommend a Pre-hire Assessment testing program appropriate for the role, structured consistent interview
process, and the collection of references from a candidate past supervisors to help identify these top potential performers.
Cody Schuldt is the President and CEO of Spartan Digital, a Houston-based SEO, web development, and social media marketing agency. Cody founded Spartan Digital to break the mold of the standard marketing agency practices and actually focus on getting results for clients as opposed to simply providing deliverables for an hourly fee. The multi-channel marketing approach Spartan takes ensures that the services clients receive are efficient, targeted and effective in producing those results, no matter the industry.
The key is finding candidates that are willing to learn…
Not one person is going to know everything. Therefore, the companies should be ready to invest in continuing education for the employees. Many learning materials are now available online and are available in easy step by step videos. It’s almost a no-brainer now when it comes to developing a high powered workforce. Finding people that are willing to work and learn is the key to success in any business.
Mike Michalowicz is Founder and CEO of Profit First Professionals. By his 35th birthday Mike had founded and sold two multi-million dollar companies. Confident that he had the formula to success, he became an angel investor…and proceeded to lose his entire fortune. Then he started all over again, driven to find better ways to grow healthy, strong companies. He devised the Profit First strategy to ensure that any company would experience profitability from their very next deposit forward. Mike is the author of Profit First and other must read business books. He is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal, a popular keynote speaker and a globally recognized entrepreneurial advocate.
I guess it is all about culture…
Meaning, I am very careful to make sure people are clear on why we do what we do (to eradicate entrepreneurial poverty) and that every person her has a personal mission that aligns with our mission. I realize that everyone here is out to improve their lives, but they have their own definition of how they want to do it. I seek to understand their goals and then make sure their work supports them on that path. The culture is strong and supportive as a result.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation, a trusted industry leader in online business filings.
Our number one talent management strategy to create a high powered workforce is…
Empowerment. We empower our team members to make their own decisions and take their own initiative. People who take initiative and own their decisions are more likely to demonstrate their leadership skills. The rest of the team then elevates. The more you empower rather than micromanager, the more the team members step up. They feel that they are the masters of their destiny and they are more likely to work hard and stay on course. It also becomes quite evident when someone is not in this particular role and does not thrive when given opportunity. Those team members can be managed up (or out, if needed). But to build a great workforce, they need independence and an opportunity to show their stuff!
Paul Cummings has been educating business professionals for over 35 years. He’s developed revolutionary techniques in sales, customer service, and leadership development. Filled with the desire to teach and make a lasting difference with his audience, Paul is well-known for teaching with unrivaled zeal and unmatched passion as he enthusiastically lives out his business motto, “changing lives through dynamic instruction.”
Your organization’s workforce needs to be actively engaged in ongoing training and education in order to…
Not only attract talent, but also to continue to be able to keep the talent that you have. Books, movies, music, art, travel, and ultimately people are all valuable resources that you can learn from to expand your intellectual capacity. I would strongly encourage you to make this project an event and that you keep track of what you’re learning and write things down in a journal. I would also encourage you to keep detailed notes from each phase of the experience. You will add substantive value to this process by recording and reviewing each new learning experience and opportunity.
The more you learn the more doors that will open up to new possibilities that you did not originally consider. Questions will arise that will take you down new pathways and new relationships. If you don’t record your journey it’s difficult to track your progress and improve.Start today to take small steps towards your goals. By applying what you have learned, you will set in motion a learning continuum. Motion creates more motion and as you move forward with an expanded intellectual capacity your level of energy and enthusiasm will also expand. The exciting part of this approach is it will unequivocally help your organization as well as help each team member to become their greatest self.
Dr. Maelisa Hall
Dr. Maelisa Hall is a licensed psychologist and leadership coach living in Southern California. She helps passion-driven business owners develop their leadership skills and find joy in managing people.
My recommendation is to hire people based on…
Their capability, rather than their resume. Even for jobs that require licensing/certification, you often need additional skills for an employee to be in a high powered workforce. If someone has the dedication and willingness to learn, as well as proved work ethic and basic capability, you can often train them on the additional skills needed for the job.
Dianne McKay, an elected public official, influential nonprofit leader, business owner, and partner at Mustang Marketing, has a comprehensive wealth of experience and established community relationships. In 2010, McKay joined the Mustang team, bringing her well-developed management expertise and business savvy skills to propel the company to its current status as the largest full-service marketing agency in Ventura County. McKay helped the agency attain a consecutive three-year growth rate of 85 percent and a spot in the Inc. 5,000 list of the fastest growing companies in America.
As a partner at one of Ventura County’s largest marketing firms, Mustang Marketing, and having worked for, owned or run small businesses for 30+ years, I’ve learned to…
Hire talent when you see it, even if that person doesn’t fit the exact job description targeted. Having someone with a strong skillset and good soft skills may seem like a bench player at first, but they often become a power team member. That person knows you took a chance on them and they want to prove worthy. Hire exceptional candidates, onboard them with care and open communications, and then let them be successful.
Successful teams don’t just happen. Finding the right chemistry in a small office is harder than a big one. Everyone sees everything so each member needs to carry his or her weight, and cover for a co-worker when needed—though this must be mutual for team trust. It is my responsibility to have the backs of my entire staff including publicly backing the decisions of a good manager, even if I would have made a different decision. We can discuss my thoughts privately. Just hoping your team likes each other isn’t enough. Facilitate activities so they can have fun together outside of daily work activities and be present and engaged also. Whether it’s a weekly team lunch or quarterly BBQs with spouses, try to create connections.
As a marketing firm, communication should be a given, but giving constructive criticism and positive feedback is critical in any successful work place. Make it quick and immediate, and then move on.
It’s in a hundred books, hire talented people, give them the tools to do their job well and then let them do it. I help my team connect and create a strong workforce so both our agency and clients thrive.
George is a Co-Founder and CEO of Rallyware. He has been instrumental in helping companies like Samsung, Vivint, Shop.com, Mary Kay, and others engage and retain their workforces through smart technology. He received his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School.
Building a strong company culture with a focus on business results is important for every business that strives to grow…
And this process usually starts in the beginning, right after you hire a new employee. It’s widely accepted that successful onboarding is an indispensable step toward more engaged and motivated employees that believe in the company culture and are driven by the company business goals.
Providing a system of continuous feedback from a mentor, trainer, or manager to an employee as the training continues is a best practice for truly engaged onboarding that leads later to higher levels of engagement and higher talent retention due to the strong feeling of a community belonging. Involving the employee in such a customized, personalized training experience leads to increased comprehension on the part of the employee which results in a better efficiency at work. And isn’t it what every worker wants – to be successful at what he or she is doing. Enhanced employee satisfaction and improved employee retention rates result.
Sean Heilweil, the CEO of Cache Ventures. Cache Ventures is the result of entrepreneurs collaborating to create a vision greater than the sum of its individual efforts. With a team of designers, developers, and marketers well versed in various aspects of startups, we have an eye for products that can be molded into highly successful business ventures.
Our talent management strategy to maintain our high powered workforce can be summarized in one classic motto…
You get what you give. The success of Cache Ventures is credited to our employees’ desire to work hard and accurately complete their duties. Although all our employees are naturally hard workers, as their employer we are able to sustain and enhance their willingness to do so by extending our appreciation far past their expectations. In addition to our generous Cache Rewards Program, daily luncheons, and monthly bonding events we give all our employees the freedom to work when they want, where they want, and to take time to themselves when needed. Within our Cache Rewards program, we give each employee $500 or more to spend freely every month. We see these additional perks as investments in our employees, and they have proven to be profitable in the long run. By showing appreciation for our employees, ensuring their comfort, and maintaining an overall laid-back culture, we’ve established a dedicated, hardworking, and transparent workforce where everyone is more than willing to go the extra mile to further prosper our company.
LaVon Koerner has spent three decades in international consulting in sales and marketing. He is recognized worldwide as a leading sales expert in diagnosing and transforming sales and marketing organizations. He co-founded Revenue Storm in 2000.
The #1 talent management strategy is this…
Ken Kwan is the founder of a global talent management consultancy called Career Prophets. He specializes in designing better experiences for organizations and optimizes the end to end recruitment process.
To create a high powered workforce, you have to hire the right people that fit the culture and allow them to play to their strengths…
Organizations spend a lot of time managing performance and workers become like robots in the end, because the metrics used to manage is not adaptable. The person has to adapt to the metrics. Diversity in organizations is great, but organizational cultures vary. If the culture doesn’t allow a person to be themselves and play to their strengths, then they won’t be productive.
It isn’t as simple as it sounds, but leading personality assessments provider, Hogan Assessments, offers job success predictors based upon personality. Their studies have shown that when a person is at their best, certain characteristics of their personality shine through and will help predict whether that person will do well in a particular role. The person is using their strengths. A task can be taught, but to a person not suited to the role because of personality and cultural fit, they will more likely fail. For example, someone that is meticulous and considered in their approach may not be very productive in a fast paced hospitality role in an organization that doesn’t allow them to time to think and act independently. That person may flourish in a quality focused role that gives them autonomy and rewards them for achieving quality driven outcomes. So hire people where their personality aligns to the culture and allow them to play to their strengths.
Albizu Garcia is the CEO of GAIN, a social media management tool used to automate and improve workflows. Albizu contributes to B2C weekly and provides great insight for talent management and team communication.
Working remotely is becoming much more common, causing businesses to switch gears in order to manage high-powered teams…
It’s important to maintain a well-connected, highly productive team, even if you span across different continents. Finding the right tools and communication methods are two key factors to ensuring your team works well remotely, so make sure to take time to discover what works best for your company.
Terence Sweeney has extensive hands on experience in business. From starting up his first business at age 21, Terence has been involved in numerous business projects both in the corporate and private sector. Terence now speaks, writes, and consults to business on the distinctions of value creation.
The best way to create a high powered workforce is…
For the staff to experience their own value. When a person experiences their own value, whether that be through acknowledgement from there superiors and peers, or through their own experience of making a difference in the organization, this experience penetrates deeper than financial reward. When a company has a value-rewarding culture, people become more and more aware of the impact they have in the organisation and the more aware they become, the more impact they want to have. Ultimately this leads to a high powered environment. This is true for individual, teams, and organizations as a whole.
With a background in social work and 2 decades of experience as a union worker, Laura MacLeod created From The Inside Out Project® with all levels of employment in mind to assist in maintaining a harmonious workplace. Dubbed by the press as HR Guru, Laura has been quoted in Chicago Tribune, Bustle.com, Inc.com and appeared on the cover of Small Business Digest. Laura is a popular professor in graduate studies at the Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work and is published in Social Work with Groups Journal. Laura facilitates staff support groups, leadership training in New York City, and speaks at conferences across the country.
Give employees a strong PURPOSE…
Not just the company’s mission or core values. Make it personal. Why should they invest and commit their time, energy, and talents? Explain fully the end result the team will collectively pursue. Answer the question – stated or implied – “What’s in it for me?” Elicit feedback and allow for questions, concerns and new ideas. This collaboration to create clear objectives is the key to getting buy-in and everyone on the same page. Once that is accomplished, investment, loyalty, and productivity follow. There’s your high powered workforce.
Matt Collins is the Owner and Founder of Loans Now, an online financial education and lending platform that has helped thousands of people secure funds during times of emergency. The business has grown significantly over the last few years, and mainly, this is due to the development of their powerful and progress-driven team.
One of our most effective ways of creating a high powered workforce is to…
Provide our employees with additional training. Engaged employees who are serious about their career development often jump at these educational opportunities, while our company is able to benefit from the additional skills that they acquire. Once these employees are comfortable with a new skill, they can train other employees – education is the gift that keeps on giving. We have found that it is much easier to train our current team members to learn new skills than it is to hire new team members just to capture one specialty skill. Want to create high powered staff members? Empower them!
An innovative, creative, and results-driven Coach, Trainer, Speaker, and Published Author, Elizabeth Dulberger combines her passion and knowledge to educate, train, and motivate leaders and their teams through company seminars, workshops, and keynotes. Her unique, intuitive and no-nonsense approach to team building, emotional intelligence, business and personal success has captured and inspired individuals & teams across North America. With an intense focus on Success through Communication, Conflict & Personality Management, Confidence and Political Savvy, Creating & Sustaining Winning Teams and Self-Awareness, Elizabeth coaches individuals at all levels and trains and speaks in front of teams large and small.
To me, talent management is…
Doing whatever you can to allow the talented and motivated super starts to be challenged into feeling empowered and feeling as though there is progression for them at their place of work. I don’t see very many companies focusing on that, even with full HR departments who claim to be doing it.
I don’t have a staff but I help clients come up with ways to retain great talent. The client with the highest retention rate in my portfolio has a program where talented and empowered employees with leadership potential attend executive leadership meetings with C-level execs for 3 months and then host their own meetings which they lead within their respective departments. Essentially the head of that department steps aside and challenges the employee with leadership potential step in to lead and then report to the C-level suite at their meetings. They rotate filling that chair with employees from various departments and test the rest of the department employees over the course of the year as to how influential and successful that employee was. Nowhere in my client portfolio does a relatively junior future leader have time with C-level execs, especially in an empowered and leadership capacity; this tactic retains the bright and motivated people and keeps them from jumping ship.
Vinayak Ranade was the Director of Engineering and Technical Recruiting at KAYAK, the travel company that went public and was acquired by Priceline Group for $2B in 2013. He dealt with the changing landscape for talent, creating a new kind of internship program, hackathons, new working-from-home policies, interview and closing processes to match new talent expectations from the market. He recently left Kayak to start Drafted, a company in the recruiting space which helps employers leverage company networks to seek a wider job-seeker audience in more informal ways.
There’s a common misconception that to attract top talent and get them to stick around, a company needs to have great perks, and talk about them a lot…
Perks can be a competitive salary or insurance options. Perks can also be free food at work or rooms with games and bean bag chairs. Sure, perks are a great, but the A players you want to attract are looking for more. They’re looking for a company that will help them succeed. They want to learn and grow. Most of all, they want to be surrounded by other A players.
If you want to create a high powered workforce, you need to create a culture of achievement at your company. Your #1 priority should be to give your current employees opportunities to reach their goals. Your next priority should be showing prospective candidates how working at your company can help them reach theirs, too. Instead of hosting a meetup for prospective candidates with free food, host a meet up for anyone in the industry with free learning and technical wisdom. Instead of advertising your 401(k) matching in your job description, talk about team accomplishments.
Kimmie Marek, MS, PHR is co-owner of 7 Charming Sisters, an e-commerce jewelry company. She obtained her Masters degree from Villanova University in Human Resource Development and has a PHR designation.
Anyone who thinks talent management isn’t important, doesn’t get it…
The key to a successful business is, at its core, the people. When you pair a strategy with people, it’s a winning combination. My best tip for talent management strategy is to have a robust performance management system. People can’t do better if they don’t know better. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard fellow business owners say, ‘the employee just didn’t work out.’ A successful employee is usually a product of their environment and the coaching they’ve received. Develop several opportunities for formal feedback. Feedback should be factual and
action-based. In other words, what is the employee doing and how can they do better. Provide coaching and training at every turn; you’ll be shocked at what you get when you give.
Tammy Perkins is the Managing Partner and Chief People Officer of Fjuri, a marketing consultancy focused on helping clients tap into data intelligence. Prior to joining Fjuri, Tammy spent 20 years working with brands including Amazon, Microsoft and Appen – leading HR and talent acquisition during periods of high growth and transformation.
Whether you’re scaling a large organization or building a new company, hiring and retaining top talent and building a high performing team is absolutely key…
In fact, there is no bigger factor in driving a company’s long-term growth and success.
As a leader or hiring manager, you need to maintain an unwavering focus on recruiting high performers and high potentials. Determine what skills and capabilities you need right now, then assess the positions that you need
longer term. What type of leaders do you need to achieve future growth?
Look for people who have the high performance and high potential capabilities. Not just industry veterans or MBA graduates from top universities, but talent with drive, scrappiness, grit, and resilience. Ultimately you want to have a mix of different high performers and high potentials who will scale with your company because inevitably what you’re doing today will continue to evolve in the future.
Steven Benson is the Founder and CEO at Badger Maps. After receiving his MBA from Stanford, Steven worked in Sales at IBM, HP and Google where he was Google Enterprise’s Top Sales Executive in 2009. In 2012, he founded Badger Maps, the #1 sales route planner in the App Store, which helps field salespeople be more successful.
Training and coaching your team and helping each individual reach their full career potential is an important part of building a high powered workforce…
I teach my employees two things: the strategy and direction of the business and the set of skills they need to be successful. The goal is to give them the information and knowledge they need to thrive in their role and help them develop through regular training, feedback, and one-on-one meetings.
Besides, you need to motivate your team by letting them know that you care about them, their career, and their future. Know what their goals are and keep them motivated by enabling them to reach these goals. As the CEO, I
regularly meet with my employees to make sure they’re being adequately challenged in their role and satisfied with their growth and career development.
Another aspect is that I always make sure that everyone on the team understands the big picture and knows what they’re working toward. Employees should be able to connect their success back to the success of the company. It’s my job to show them that they’re part of something bigger than themselves and help them understand and identify with our mission and long-term goals.
Melanie Lundberg is the Assistant Vice President of Talent Management and Corporate Communications at Combined Insurance in Chicago. She has more than 20 years of talent management and communications consulting and leadership experience.
Focus on leadership development and manager effectiveness training…
Employees’ experience is often most shaped by their direct manager and how effective that manager is at coaching and feedback, performance management, creating a strong team, informing and communicating, developing talent, and more. By investing in the development of leaders at all levels, the work of developing and engaging talent multiplies through each leader onto their staff-ultimately, each employee.
Cody Clifton and I’m the Director of Ecommerce for Wholesale Lanyards, a designer of high quality personalized lanyards that are comfortable to wear.
When a company is trying to grow their business with high quality workers, it’s important to understand the benefits those job candidates are seeking…
Some companies offer up to four weeks of paid vacation every year, or in some cases, unlimited paid time off. Companies understand that employees value time spent outside the office and they encourage their employees to use this time for family, friends, travel, and more. This helps to prevent employee burnout as well. In addition, employees are offered flexibility in their work schedules. Not all employees want to work strict 9AM-5PM hours. The solution? Companies let employees set their own schedule as long as they’re clocking eight hours a day and not missing any meetings. This allows everyone to have time outside of work, making them better employees while at work.
Many employees also appreciate when food is brought into the office. Business owners are now beginning to provide a stocked kitchen filled with fruit, snacks, ingredients for sandwiches, drinks, and more. Catered meals are also becoming more popular. Another great perk is allowing employees to bring their dogs to work. It can be difficult to leave dogs alone at home for 8+ hours a day. So as long as the dogs are friendly and well trained, employers are welcoming them into their office environments. It really makes the atmosphere more relaxed and is a great way to reduce stress.
Lastly, business owners are sending their employees on business retreats that are designed to provide training as well as a little rest and relaxation. Companies are also offering to pay for tuition for classes that are related to their industry. Additionally, they are sending their employees to national or international conferences where industry experts will be speaking. By providing opportunities like these, they are showing their employees that they’re worth the investment.
Scott Wesper is the Hiring Manager for Arch Resources Group. They’re creative problem solvers who help businesses manage their human resources departments through recruiting, PEO services, payroll, and more.
When it comes to recruiting top employees, diversity is a critical component that drastically increases the talent pool for businesses…
When you look at all industries, 38% of employers had a difficult time hiring for positions in 2015, as stated by the Manpower Group. By creating more diversity in the workplace, businesses are creating a wider selection of candidates from which to choose from. When business owners understand this philosophy, they will reap the benefits of a stronger core group of employees.
In addition, diverse teams are able to better understand complex problems and make more informed decisions, compared to their homogeneous peers. When you’re able to bring people together from completely different demographics – like gender, race, nationality, etc. – they come equipped with a variety of perspectives and opinions that help you view a problem from all angles. Diversity encourages creativity, new ideas, innovation, and breakthrough. A perfect example of this comes from a study conducted by scientists who created several groups containing three people of different racial backgrounds. Some had all white members, and others had some white and some non-white members. Each group was provided with identical information to begin, but each person was given vital clues that only he or she knew and would have to share collectively with the group. The study showed that the diverse groups performed significantly better than non-diverse groups.
Robert Ellis is the owner of Massage Tables Now, an ecommerce company that sells massage tables and equipment for massage therapists.
I recommend providing employees with incentives…
This can be monetary incentives such as performance bonuses or a salary raise, prizes, a free lunch, or any other type of reward. People respond well to having the opportunity to do well for the company if it means they will also do well for themselves. Incentives help improve employee performance and increase retention.
Olga is the Head of Global Marketing at SEMrush. Together with her team, she has built one of the strongest international communities in the online marketing industry. In 2016 Olga mainly focused on tapping into new markets and YoY average revenue growth from top 10 new markets was over 90%.
My number one strategy is empowering your people…
It includes pushing the decision-making process down the hierarchy, since I believe that people are the only element of your success that your competitors can’t replicate. Sure thing, pretty much all the companies claim that employees are their top priority but rarely do they indeed value them.
To be more specific, I focus on creating autonomous cross-functional teams that stick to agile and take advantage of scrum practices. Close-knit teams that enjoy no bureaucracy and maximum freedom in exercising their tasks is
what really helps us to create a high-powered workforce. It also includes constant feedback, more careful hiring, and a lot of teambuilding events/corporate parties. Happy and motivated people create awesome things.
Matt Bentley, founder of CanIRank SEO Software, is a serial entrepreneur and Stanford engineering grad who has over 15 years of experience in the startup trenches.
To create a high-powered workforce, we’ve implemented a mentorship program that ensures proper onboarding of new hires while also motivating experienced team members…
When a new hire comes on board, the first order of business is to pair them with an experienced staff member. The role of this mentor is to be the new consultant’s first point of contact in the company, dedicated question-answerer, company culture guru, and all-around supporter.
Not only has this been effective in quickly integrating new hires but it’s also had a positive impact on the mentors. By regularly advising and communicating with a ‘fresh pair of eyes,’ our mentors are motivated to test new methods, look at problems from a different perspective, and generally think more creatively. Since implementing the mentorship program, performance has increased throughout our entire firm, employee morale is high, and retention is stable.
Yves Frinault is the Co-founder and CEO of Fieldwire, a technology company that has built a mobile collaboration platform to improve efficiency and communication between construction workers on site.
Build a company culture that recognizes people for their hard work and achievement…
People who feel appreciated for their efforts and included in a team are more likely to to be happy with their role. In addition, they will be more motivated to do a good job and likely to stay with the company. That’s why it’s so important to take culture seriously. In many ways, the culture you build at a company is even more important than the business idea or strategy. Make sure to create an environment that acknowledges the individual contributions of each person.
Cristian Rennella is Co-CEO & CoFounder of elMejorTrato.com.ar.
After 9 years and having tested 41 different tactics in order to create a high powered workforce, we came to the conclusion that the most effective is…
1 on 1 meetings once a month. In this way, each team member has a personal meeting with his boss every 30 days in order to verify objectives achieved, to define new goals, and to resolve any queries, doubts, or suggestions that will help the person achieve 100% performance as a part of the team.
I can assure you that this is the # 1 talent management strategy and in the first 2 or 3 months you will already be seeing the positive results in your workforce.