Talent Management Practices that Lead to Greatness

Talent Management Practices that Lead to Greatness

When LeBron James entered the NBA he was dubbed “The King” and appeared destined for greatness. Now he is the best player in the world. How he got there, though, was through a tremendous amount of coaching, practice, skills development and training.   Your people have a destiny with your company as well. Is it for greatness? That depends largely on your talent management practices. With focused talent management practices that contribute to success, your people can also reach greatness.

Consider the following list of talent management practices and see how they can contribute to greatness:

Talent Management Step Talent management Practice How it Contributes to Greatness
Identify Talent Pipeline Development Scouts for Greatness
Attract Talent Employment Branding Showcases Greatness
Hire Talent Recruiting and onboarding Selects for Greatness
Develop Talent Learning and Training Prepares for Greatness
Deploy Talent Strengths Based Job Matching Positions for Greatness
Manage Talent Performance Management Coaches for Greatness
Reward Talent Compensation and Benefits Recognizes Greatness
Engage Talent Align with Purpose Integrates Greatness
Promote Talent Succession Planning Accelerates Greatness
Measure Talent Talent Analytics Predicts Greatness
Energize Talent Culture Development Sustains Greatness

Everyone wants to be great at what they do. As you develop and evaluate your talent management practices, think about how they contribute to a destiny of greatness for your people.

For help developing and implementing talent practices that contribute to greatness, please contact me. We are happy to help. Randy Samsel rsamsel@futurestatetalent.com www.futurestatetalent.com 216-548-0740

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A Small Business Owners Guide to Sustainable Growth

A Small Business Owners Guide to Sustainable Growth

According to the SBA, small businesses make up 99.7% of US employer firms and 64% of US job growth. Clearly we live in a country that embraces entrepreneurialism. Unfortunately, only 50% of US small businesses survive 5 years or more.


While there are many opportunities and challenges for small businesses, few are as common as finding, leading and keeping great people. Talented employees represent an opportunity and challenge for small business owners. Handled properly, great people can lead to sustainable growth. Otherwise, problems tend to ensue.


How can a business owner maximize the opportunity for having sustainable growth through talented people? The key is to create an environment that develops happy and productive people.


As this graph indicates, ‘happy’ and ‘productive’ must go together in order to have sustainable growth. If you have neither, the end is near. If you have high productivity but unhappy employees, turnover will be high which will eventually erode productivity. If you have happy employees but low productivity, profitability will suffer. It is only by achieving both that growth can be sustainable.


Most business owners are adept at figuring out how to raise productivity for their particular business. Doing so while creating a culture where people are happy can be a bit trickier. According to Gallup’s employee engagement surveys, only 32% of employees are engaged at work (involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work). Disengaged employees do not promote higher productivity. So what is a business owner to do?


A great formula to use is to: have great people (current and future employees) who are aligned to the company purpose/mission + make sure each has the opportunity to use their strengths on the job + help each realize their career goals while helping the company succeed.


While this formula for creating a winning culture is understandable and logical, there are a lot of moving parts – like recruiting, on-boarding, training, managing, motivating, retaining, etc.. A strategic, aligned and intentional approach to executing the pieces/parts of the formula provides the best chance of success. We recommend developing a Strategic Talent Plan as a guide. Click here for access to our free guide to creating a Strategic Talent Plan. Armed with a well written and executed Strategic Talent Plan, business owners can dramatically increase their likelihood of success.


For additional help creating your plan, please contact me. We are happy to help.


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That Championship Feeling!

That Championship Feeling!

Two weeks after the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors for the 2016 NBA Championship, I still have that winning feeling. I’m certainly not alone. All around Cleveland I see people wearing commemorative T shirts and hats proclaiming their pride for the first major sports championship since 1964. Everywhere I go, everyone I talk with seems to have a big smile that can only come from a feeling that will never go away. Complete strangers will high-five and let out a loud “Go Cavs” with a mere mention of the win.


When I first moved to Cleveland in 1980 the ‘Curse” was already sixteen years long. Who knew it would last another thirty-six years? Growing up in Indiana, basketball was king. So when I moved here, I immediately became a Cavs fan and have watched some really good, and really bad seasons. I remember when the Cavs won the lottery for the pick that became LeBron James. Following a circuitous path, and a storybook ending, LeBron and team delivered what many thought might never come. A few days later 1.3 million adoring fans attended one of the largest celebrations in sports history. All the jokes and disrespectful comments about Cleveland seemed to disappear.


Wouldn’t it be cool to feel that way all the time? Is it possible for the rest of us to experience that championship feeling at work? I believe it is. How? Just like the Cavs, it includes outstanding leadership; unified behind a common purpose; with supporting talent who all contribute using their strengths. That’s a winning formula. But it’s easier said than done. There are lots of moving parts and challenges. Like attracting and retaining top talent and outstanding leaders. And finding and communicating a common purpose that everyone will rally around.


Difficult – but not impossible. And well worth the effort. While that championship feeling for most will not result in a parade with 1.3 million adoring fans, it will come with dramatically increased employee engagement as well as improved financial results. Done properly, that winning feeling also won’t take 52 years to bring about.


For help creating a winning culture and talent strategy for your organization, please contact us.



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The Two Minute Culture Health Check

The Two Minute Culture Health Check

Is your organization poised for rapid growth? Many of us work for organizations that have excellent business prospects and strong strategic advantages. In addition, we may have great people in place who will help us reach our goals. The stars are aligned and we have the resources to move ahead. The only thing that can stop us now – is us. As long as we innovate and execute, we will win!

Is your organization and culture in shape to innovate and execute? Here is a quick diagnostic tool to help you find out. By answering these six questions, you can get a feel for how well you can innovate and execute in order to reach your near and long term goals. Here is how it works:

Rate your organization on a scale of 1-5 (1 being poor, 5 being great):

  1. In the last 12 months, our organization (company, division, department) has significantly improved productivity.
  2. In the last 12 months we have made significant improvements to our processes.
  3. In the last 12 months we have significantly improved the features of our products/services.
  4. We have a reputation for being very efficient in our organization.
  5. We have a reputation for consistency.
  6. We have a reputation for delivering superior results.

Add your scores. If the total is 10 or less, you need big help. 11-15, you are on life support. 16-20 there is hope. 21-25 is very good. 26-30 and you are in great shape.

The first three questions relate to cultural innovation (future success), and the last three to execution (current performance) capabilities. This is a simplistic diagnostic tool adapted and borrowed from a CSHRM presentation by Kurt Southam. Southam is a consultant and author with deep experience and expertise in organizational culture development. He shared his definition of culture as “what people do in the absence of supervision”, and described culture as the ‘operating system’ for an organization.

Southam made a compelling case for addressing cultural shortcomings with statistical support from mountains of data, and numerous studies. He described these four cultural attributes as impactful on business results:

  1. Self-Direction
  2. Open Dialogue and Communications
  3. Universal Accountability
  4. Influential Leadership

With these four attributes in place, Southam indicates that innovation improves more than 100%, execution by 91% and bottom line results by much more. Compelling indeed.

Culture change is not easy, and will likely be a journey over months if not years. The positive impacts of successful culture change on innovation, execution and bottom line results, though, can be tremendous. It is certainly worth two minutes to determine our starting point.

Need help assessing and impacting your culture? Please contact us.




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Six Traits of Destination Employers

Six Traits of Destination Employers

Many employers are struggling to find people who can help them reach their goals. In a survey of HR leaders by Ranstad Sourceright, 73% of HR leaders feel a “war for talent” is still a relevant description of today’s talent market. Innovative approaches to attracting talent are popping up and will benefit many employers, especially early adopters. Solutions range from software that helps identify better candidates on the internet to quality of life improvements, including wellness programs and work-from-home arrangements.

While these approaches may prove helpful, some feel a bit reactive. Employers can take steps today that will help ensure long term success with attracting and retaining top talent. In a SlideShare called The Talent Gamble by Executives Online, the authors describe six steps to take to become a Destination Employer, or Talent Magnet.

  1. Understand the investment top talent makes for you. It’s the blood, sweat and tears they put into succeeding for you. They’re not just commodities.
  2. Treat talent as customers. They’re discerning as your most important customers. They don’t accept mediocrity and won’t tolerate it. Instead, they thrive on partnership and authenticity.
  3. Demonstrate high quality of leadership. Employees want leaders who are respected and allow them to develop, and will lead from the back.
  4. Understand that culture trumps strategy. Planning is guessing if you don’t have your culture right.
  5. Demonstrate how you grow people. They know if you don’t provide opportunity to grow your competition will.
  6. Reward comprehensively. After a point financial rewards won’t appeal. What really matters is the fulfillment they get, that they feel they belong and are central to your company’s future.

Taking these steps will require change for most employers – massive change for some. But the payoff will be worth it. According to Employers Online, talented people view working for Destination Employers as the pinnacle of their careers. So for employers, developing a culture that attracts and rewards top performers can make the difference between long-term organizational success and an agonizing path to irrelevance.

Call me for more on how to turn your company into a destination employer.



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The Talent Magnet Quiz

The Talent Magnet Quiz

By all measures, talent is becoming more difficult to attract. Competition for top talent is increasing and talented individuals are becoming more selective and discerning. In order to attract and retain top talent, organizations can benefit by becoming an employer of choice.

What goes into becoming an employer of choice? How attractive is your company to talented individuals? Here is a quiz to help determine how attractive your organization may be.

1.    Is your company growing and profitable?
2.    Is your company a market leader?
3.    Does your company have a positive reputation on Glassdoor? In talent communities?
4.    Has your company won awards for being a great place to work?
5.    Does your company support the community through giving back?
6.    Does your company have a well-defined and publicized mission, vision and value statement?
7.    Does your company have a record of promoting from within?
8.    Does your compensation plan include competitive salaries plus bonus opportunities that reward performance?
9.    Is your benefits plan competitive?
10.    Do you have well defined and followed policies and procedures for the following: Hiring? Onboarding? Performance management? Training and development? Succession planning?
11.    Do you provide mentors and coaches?
12.    Do you conduct exit interviews for individuals leaving the company? Do you track turnover?
13.    Do you have examples of talented individuals who have excelled in your company?
14.    Does your company have a well-defined talent strategy?
15.    Is your talent strategy embedded in your overall strategy?
16.    Do you market your employment brand internally and externally?
17.    Do you have a high performance culture?
18.    Do you understand what motivates your people?
19.    Do you have a positive corporate culture?
20.    Does your senior management team lead your talent attraction efforts?

Few companies have the right answers to all these questions. Even if a company does, there is no guarantee that company will easily attract all the top talent it seeks. Similarly, scoring poorly on the quiz does not preclude a company from attracting top talent. However, the more of these questions you can answer positively, the better you can understand your strengths and challenges in attracting top talent. Armed with that understanding, you can plot your course toward becoming or maintaining an employer of choice status. By definition, that will make attracting and retaining top talent easier.


For help evaluating and improving your talent attraction, management and retention practices, contact Randy Samsel at rsamsel@futurestatetalent.com . There is no cost for an initial consultation.



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