Anthea Stratigos – August 7, 2016
When I left off, we talked about innovation and talent being the 7th and 8th keys to success for companies in our industry to thrive beyond the tipping point. A firm can’t innovate without the right talent and the right talent is increasingly becoming harder to find. The information industry is competing with software firms and the big platform companies for talent. Our ability to find STEM talent is becoming harder with challenging visa laws internationally, and global competition for developers, digital advertising, product management, data science, or solution or challenger sales skills.
Talent, the #8 key at Outsell’s Signature Event, is the basis for success, yet where to find it?
I hear leader’s daily talk about their methods for ensuring they have the right talent. Best practices our research points to:
- Innovative intern programs with local universities in order to grow their own.
- Strategic HR at the executive table and operating as partner to the CEO (not for small firms but for most.)
- Identifying core competencies and using strategic outsourcing for the rest or using the gig economy to round out key functions.
- Leading edge practices such as flex time off – no vacation and sick policy, no accruals, no measuring ‘time off.’
- Fostering engagement in the community or leveraging the ‘causes’ our industry serves as a way to attract talent to the mission.
- Eliminating archaic performance appraisal processes while measuring performance in real time using KPIs, analytics, and transparency in metrics.
- Providing opportunities for rotations and co-mingling work teams for greater fostering of cross-training and knowledge of functions.
- Continuous improvement in talent: reward and challenge the A & B players, up or out for the C’s, and eliminating positions where D and F simply won’t cut it and doing it as a natural part of an org’s ‘management of the garden’ – weed, feed, pluck or prune. Add in new plants, remove some deadwood, but never ever clear-cut.
I know of leaders who have turned over 50% or more of their exec team. Others who know the metrics on their sales team will be 30% routine turnover and always hire utility players who are on the bench and ready to step in. They feed their sales engine all the time knowing a third won’t make it. Others, like IDG have innovative programs developing executive talent out of college, putting them in rotations with executive sponsorship, grooming them for executive positions on a fast track. The options are endless but everyone we know is on the hunt for A players or bust.
At the end of the day companies in our industry don’t prosper and grow without the right talent. If anything the singular lament I hear from leaders is they’ve waited too long to remove talent thinking they’ll come around, turn around, grow, could be or should be something possible. The common refrain is, “I waited too long and should have listened to my gut.” A coach I know said focus on ‘what is, not what’s possible’ and use the evidence you have right in front of you. Either put a person in a better fitting role or acknowledge a gap and let them move on to something that is better for them and better for you.
There are many methods to managing talent and no one better to share practices about this essential key to success than Clare Hart, CEO of Sterling Talent Solutions. Clare, a longstanding and respected leader in our industry with esteemed careers at Factiva, Infogroup and now as leader of a leading information firm focused on employee screening, background checking, and building a platform on which to scale these solutions, sees how talent is managed every day.
As a peer and a fellow leader in our industry, she also sees talent through her own lens of hiring, growing and retaining top talent for her firm. We’ve asked her to join us to share her lens on this important topic: finding, retaining and ultimately leading an A team.
Slow down to speed up, learn something new, meet new people, and get deals done. To know more about talent – register today for Outsell’s 10thAnniversary Signature Event, 5-7 October, London.