Talent Management – Easy today… pain tomorrow
Most of us agree that the success of any organization is down to the quality of its people. So why do we fail to realise that talent management is not just about the “top 50” people, but those with the potential to be in the top 50 at some point in the future, as well as talent that will enable our organization to be competitive in a sustainable way. Talent is NOT just about tomorrow’s leaders, it is about next week’s skills and next months leaders.
This was brought home to me recently by the experiences of my 19 year old daughter. She is currently at home over the summer during the summer break from University. In April she applied and was offered a summer job at a major leisure provider, her experiences have already brought her to realise that she will never want to work with the group again, and worse – she is telling all her friends (but NOT on social media – she is not stupid!)
Just to give you some idea of the person and their experience puts some of what I will describe into context:
- Academic achievements – A Levels with grades A* and A’s, achieving 2:1 in a first year joint Hons course at a redbrick uni – so bright not stupid
- Work experience – 3 years working at a high street jeweller regularly achieving top sales in the store – business savvy
- Charity work – experience with children in the UK, co-ordinated youth activities, overseas orphanage work – can build relationships
This is an individual that cares about people, quality and customer experience. She builds trusting relationships with people at all levels very quickly so can communicate equally well with the company director, army captain, manager, disabled adult, very young children or people standing at the bus stop.
The role at the leisure company – a cleaner, mainly outdoor work. This is Seasonal work, and the hours are flexible on both sides. Not the best of pay, but not minimum wage either. Many of the people working at roles here are 16-23 year old students, for most it is their first taste of work.
How to create Employee dis-engagement
Here are just some of the things that have happened which have given her, me and the people she knows an insight into this particular organization and its culture… in no particular order:
- No training on use of cleaning chemicals (for people with no work experience)
- No training on how to manage sharps or glass
- No training on manual handling even though this is a key part of the task
- Poor elearning which was a “test” not learning on procedures & policy
- Issued with work-wear 2 sizes too large – poor fit means the image being projected to the customers is wanting
- “Wet weather gear” that is not waterproof by any definition – causing people to get very wet & cold and having to take time off as a result
- Wet weather gear given to staff that work inside (and don’t need it) – leaving those that work outside with jackets 3 sizes too large! – demoralising & embarrassing
- 16 year olds working 12 hour days – illegal!
- 16 year olds working 7+ days consecutively – illegal!
- Provided with a rota which would have meant 10+ days without a day off – where was the common sense?
- Not given a radio/ communications tool & then team leaders complain when they cannot find her(it’s a large site) – not to mention lone worker regulations
- Team leaders that have had no management training & lead by ego – poor productivity & employee engagement
- Team leaders allowing some workers to “pick & chose” their work activities, while “dumping” on those willing to work
- Managers & team leaders go home before telling all staff they can “stand down” leaving staff wondering what to do!
- Being part of a team of just 20-30 people and the department manager has never spoken to some of them. Seen them working but never approached and said “hello”
- A manager saying I’ll call you on return from holiday and tell you what shifts you are on – they don’t call – & when you phone they are not available – then when you do start work the same manager asks ”where have you been” forgetting that they were responsible for the individuals work schedule!
- A manager asks “why aren’t you coming to the staff event tonight” and is surprised when the reply is – “I have not had an invite or been given the information, I did not know one was happening” – this event is supposed to engage & motivate staff!
- A six week probation review that happens after 12 weeks – the outcome of this entitles the employee to “contractual perks” – now almost too late for the employee to use this!
- Given an average score in appraisal when the main comment given as to why it was not “above average” was she “needs to delegate more” – SHE IS A CLEANER! Who does she delegate to customers? This she found particularly demotivating
I could go on – but you get the picture and this is enough to get a discussion going…
The only reason she has not left by the way… not because she needs the money, but she does not want to say at some point in the future at interview – reason for leaving – I quit due to a bad company & poor management. She does not see herself as a quitter. The ironic thing was she had an interest in joining the sector post graduation. That thought has now gone!
What is the cost to our businesses long term survival if we promote people to team leader or manager post without them having the right aptitude for the role, and certainly without training and appropriate support/ coaching.
The experience of this individual will stay with her for her life time. As students we all took work that was not particularly engaging, however it was work. Here is a person not complaining about the work, but more at the way the site and she is managed, and more importantly (her words) the lack of commitment to the people that make the experience what it is for their customers. This type of business relies on repeat business. If the owners and shareholders knew of then I am sure they would not be impressed.
- Where is HR in ensuring that people in roles have the right skills?
- Where are the management ensuring that health & safety is at least meeting legal requirements?
- Where are the stakeholders seeing the brand undermined?
Anyone want to hire a 19 year old management consultant? – reasonable day rate ;)
If a 19 year old can see where quality can be improved, customer experience improved, costs reduced and employees engaged for no outlay, what does that say about the level of managers they have employed on a permanent basis?
Of course this would never happen in your organization would it?