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Welcome! – What’s next? Thoughts on managing talent – with honest conversations

I always feel a little smug when I’m reading a business book that resonates with my philosophy. Today’s case in point is The Alliance – managing talent in the networked age by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh. The thing, though, is that the business books articulate the concepts so, so, so much better than I do – I guess that’s a good reason that I’m doing this stuff and blogging about it while the authors are, well, being authors!

The Alliance talks a lot about having honest conversations with your team about the end of their current job (or tour of duty). It also encourages employers to find that space where the company values and their personal values overlap – as then you are both driving towards the same goal.

How does this look for you?  Well, let me walk you through a couple of questions I like to ask my new team in our first (yes, first) walk around the block and chat “induction meeting”.

Is the job what you expected?

Invariably the answer to this question is some form of affirmative response – well, who in their right mind would tell their new “boss” that it’s not – especially on day one! Let’s be honest here, generally people leave their previous work for one of two reasons. Either they are escaping from a [insert appropriate description of job you’ve outgrown/environment you hate/pay check that’s not supporting your new lifestyle], or they have been shoulder tapped by us just when they were thinking that the job they were in might turn into one they have outgrown/come to dislike/or provides insufficient pay.

My response: I’ll ask you this question again in the future – and at some stage it either won’t be what you expected or you’ll be looking for something new because you’re bored. I want to be the first person that knows that.

What’s your next job?

Remember this is day one, conversation one! So I get a sideways look to check that I’m being serious. And I am – deadly serious. If I can help my team grow into their next role while they deliver fantastically in the current one, we both win (i.e. company values and personal values overlap as per The Alliance).

Think back to the first day on the job – you’re full of enthusiasm and your productivity grows steeply over time until such time as the job is no longer challenging and productivity/enthusiasm both flatten off. The challenge for me is to find the new challenge for this particular person before there’s a drop off in productivity. Ideally that’s a new role within Intergen but if it’s not then I can be this person’s best reference as they head out to get skills that we’re unable to help them develop.

Are you having fun?

Day one! Fun!!? I usually get an answer like “there’s lots to take in”. But the whole point of this is to start the conversation around how having fun is a fundamental part of what we do. Again this is a question I ask regularly – if it stops being fun then people stop wanting to do more!

So what?

My first manager shared with me his three criteria for rating a job, and I’ve taken these on as my own:

1) Are you learning something?

2) Are you having fun?

And 3) Are you being paid well? 

As he said, you need a tick against at least two of the three to have a good job. i.e. if you’re learning a lot and having fun it doesn’t matter so much if you’re not being paid a big wad of cash. Equally, if it’s a hard job to get out of bed for but you’re being paid above the market average and it’s going to be great on your CV, then that’s also worth doing.

Having open and honest conversations with my Intergenites from day one means we’ve got a clear understanding of what their next job is and we’re working together to ensure that they have the skills they need.  I’ve had many conversations with Intergenites before they resign and together we’ve been able to reset and reenergise which is great for both Intergen and them.  I retell these stories to those that are taken aback by my openness and trust is established.

Be honest about hopes and dreams…Such a simple idea… with awesome results!

Posted by: Cheryl Adams, Practice Manager, Enterprise Solutions | 27 May 2016

Tags: Induction, Management, Talent Management

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