As we bask in the last long days of August, I am reminded of how my friends and I would end each summer during middle school: Lounging in my backyard (unconcerned about the damaging effects of UV rays), we took multiple quizzes from teen magazines to determine our new back-to-school fashion style. Of course, the actual shopping trips resulted in nothing like what was in those magazines—baby-sitting only paid so much and high fashion in rural, small-town Oregon in the 90s meant occasionally adding a silk shirt to our rotation of jeans and baggy t-shirts.
Even though they never did much to change our style, we had fun with those quizzes. I thought I’d share some of that fun with you—on a much more serious topic than teen fashion– as you wrap up your summer of 2019. Enjoy this lighthearted exercise in determining your organization’s human capital strategy. Then, get serious about your strategy as you move your organization forward!
1. What is Your Employee Value Proposition?
A. Employees come to work. We pay them for their hours based on what was agreed to before they took the job. What more value is needed than that?
B. We are a fun place to work and we really care about each other! We have a ping pong table in the break room for employees to enjoy* and a staff committee organizes fundraisers and volunteer drives to support other team members in need.
*During their regularly scheduled 15-minute breaks, and when approved by a supervisor.
C. Employees who choose our organization become part of something bigger: It isn’t always easy or fun, but they know why what they do matters and they work hard to accomplish it. They also know how to weigh the importance of what they do with who they are, and they can make decisions about how and when to balance their time in and out of the office.
2. What is Your Talent Acquisition Strategy?
A. We mostly hire through word of mouth, finding that our current executives are usually well-positioned to recommend someone.
B. We place ads online through the usual channels and provide any employee a referral bonus if someone they recommend is hired and stays on for at least six months.
C. Every open position we fill is individually analyzed: We examine how the role fits with the technology and human capital already in place, and we look at what the people served by that function need most. We recruit specifically to find someone whose unique strengths will contribute to what we have and whose individual values integrate with ours.
3. What is Your Talent On-Boarding Strategy?
A. The HR department meets with new employees on their first day to complete paperwork.
B. We offer a full-day employee orientation where the CEO shares the organization’s mission and takes the whole group to lunch so they can get to know him (or her) better.
C. Each employee receives a personalized welcome to the organization, including a chance to meet with one of the most senior executives in the first week. Within 30 days, employees are given the opportunity to match with a mentor or coach– inside or outside the organization—and within the first 90 days, the employee has a personal development plan that will ensure they stay on track to meet all of his or her defined goals.
4. What is Your Talent Retention Strategy?
A. We pay a fair wage and provide salary increases when appropriate. Longevity is recognized at anniversary years that end in 0 or 5.
B. Employees go through regular performance review conversations with their managers where they discuss performance issues and any next career steps that interest them. Managers document these interests with HR.
C. Talent retention is an ongoing and customized effort. Employees are aware of the organization’s long-term growth goals and the specific strengths and areas that are top priority. Managers have one-on-one conversations with employees about their strengths. Organizational conversations focus on the human skills needed to achieve the purpose-driven mission and how to build those skills across the organization.
Mostly As… Your organization might be working for you– for now– but have you considered: Does the diversity of your team reflect the community you want to serve? Have you achieved growth that exceeds peer level? Where does innovation originate? Much of the “A” answers are representative of organizational cultures that embody hierarchical, top-down management style. Employees in these organizations often feel they must simply follow processes and procedures and take direction. Many employees do not see themselves as a key part of reaching organizational goals and contributing to next-level growth. The organization may be limited by the vision of a single leader or a small (likely homogenous) group of leaders who are uncertain of how to meet the emerging needs of a changing community. A first step toward introducing a human capital strategy that will serve you better is to conduct an audit of your current team’s (paid and volunteer) demographics and psychographics and compare that to the community you want to serve. Establishing this baseline will help you define opportunities for growth.
Mostly Bs… This is probably the place where most organizations find themselves. You know there are best practices out there and you want to show the people you work with how much you value them, but you might still be stuck with the idea that fair treatment means the same treatment for everyone. Rather than customized approaches that work with each individual employee, you likely have a lot of policies and procedures meant to automate what should be humanized in your workplace. This could create situations where everyone is marginally happy, but few on your team are truly delighted and showing up fully for an organization focused on cultivating the best from each individual. Adding elements to your human capital strategy that allow for high-level individualization—personal development plans, executive coaching, or flexible work arrangements—could help maximize the contributions of each and every team member.
Mostly Cs… Organizations at this level know just how to make the workplace work for today’s workforce. The lines between work and life are more fluid than ever for many people, and they seek workplaces that respect this. Being able to show up fully as themselves—and to be rewarded for the unique gifts and experiences they have– will enrich your employees’ professional experiences and allow the highest level of creativity to come forward. Even with such an intentional focus on your human capital, there could be a gap between where you are and where you would like to be with organizational performance/goal achievement. If so, consider conducting a needs assessment that analyzes the talents and skills required to fulfill your strategic plan and where those strengths might be found in your organization—or recruited from outside. Then, identify the actions it will take to integrate talent with strategy.
If you arrived at the end of this quiz and found that you did not achieve the results you wanted, don’t go back and take it again using different answers (which, of course, is what we did when we really wanted to be a boho-inspired free spirt instead of a floral-patterned wearing romantic). Instead, consider how to implement or improve human capital strategies that will build a better workplace before next summer rolls around.
Need a little coaching? Please reach out. I’d love to help you make your organization your community’s workplace of choice!