The Lead Yourself First Blog

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Three reasons why you aren’t winning the talent war

Although the buzzwords “Talent Management” were first coined more than 15 years ago, many organizations are still searching for ways to attract and retain the best and brightest in order win the talent war.

Attraction is arguably the easiest piece of the talent management equation. However, companies that spend energy creating the perfect cocktail of salary and tailored compensation packages are missing the point for long-term success. High engagement and retention, coupled with developing outstanding leadership skills are the critical elements for gaining the strategic advantage. Conversely, your business will continue to lag behind if any of the following conditions persist: Continue reading “Three reasons why you aren’t winning the talent war”

All the world’s a stage, and now is the time to own your place on it

For the purposes of this blog, allow me to take license with William Shakespeare’s original quote: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…” Instead, I invite you consider that there has never been a better time to take our respective places on the world’s stage, and this has little to do with professional speaking.

When eighteen-year-old German podcast sensation Philip Rierderle recently took the stage as the opening keynote speaker at the National Speakers’ Association Annual Convention, he held an audience of 1400 professional speakers spellbound for the entire duration of his speech.  Mr. Riederle was the youngest speaker to grace the general session platform in the Association’s forty-year history.  With his excellent command of the English language, he mesmerized the audience of skeptical old-timers, first-timers and techno-phobs by smashing the stereotypical myths linked to his millennial generation.

He captured my attention, however, not only because of his remarkable confidence as a teenaged speaker. For me, it was the manner in which he has channeled his passion into a mission. At the age of fifteen, Reiderle became famous with his podcast “Mein iPhone und Ich…” (My iPhone and me), currently reaching over one million viewers each year. As he built his massive community of Generation Y followers, traditional corporations began wondering how and why he was able to attract this generational cohort in droves to his own on-line community, while they continued to struggle in their own marketing efforts to connect with this significant segment of consumers. Today, Rierderle is an entrepreneur and renowned thought leader consulting with major companies worldwide regarding the consumer habits of his generation.

Riederle’s delivery and presence served a dual purpose. Not only was his message timely, he also demonstrated a rare blend of authenticity and brilliance by completely owning the stage…the stage on which he stood as a speaker, as well as in his own life. His passion for educating others via podcasts on the multiple uses of an I-Phone that began as a hobby has morphed into a unique calling to heighten generational understanding on a global scale. By doing so, Riederle is helping businesses simultaneously open their minds and create new growth opportunities.

There has never been a better time to take your place on the world’s stage. You don’t need to be a publisher, a major media outlet or renowned speaker. You can claim your place by ensuring that, like Riederle, your vocation is congruent with your personal passion. At the click of a button, you can utilize social networks to tell others about issues that matter to you. There are no limits to expressing your creativity thoughtfully and purposefully.

Taking the lead with your multigenerational workplace

Taking the lead with your multigenerational workplace…Alberta’s Best Workplaces

Categorizing, generalizing and stereotyping are the most common reactions to working within a diverse, multigenerational environment. In many organizations, there is rarely a day that goes by without co-workers and managers hearing a disparaging comment about the values and attitudes of different generations, despite the fact that companies are investing heavily in educating leaders and teams at every level to develop collaborative relationships. The enlightened ones recognize that their future depends on creating an atmosphere where everyone, regardless of age or background, feels motivated to stay, contribute and enjoy their workplace.

As part of my preparation for my keynote presentation at the 5th annual “Best Places To Work in Alberta” event, held by my client, Alberta Venture, I interviewed several companies that are doing things right when it comes to leading the generations.  Many companies throughout the province participated in a rigorous application process to be judged in twelve different categories of excellence including: “Best workplace for health & safety”, “best workplace for diversity”, “best workplace for training and development”, “best workplace for perks and incentives”, best workplace for benefits”, “best workplace for working parents”, “best workplace for the millennial generation” and best workplace for volunteerism & community involvement”, just to name a few!

The common denominator in terms of the success of these companies can be summed up in one word: Flexibility. For example, these leaders understand that they cannot adopt a cookie-cutter approach to benefits and recognition programs. They have embraced a retention philosophy that minimizes turnover by offering individual employees personalized remuneration and health benefits packages. When it comes to adopting personalized incentive programs, whether they take the form of tangible benefits or work-from-home arrangements, one finalist described their leadership approach this way: “No is not our first answer”.

One VP in the financial service sector explained that employees can choose how to allocate some of their benefits by taking out gym memberships, purchasing sporting equipment, or claiming a significant portion of their benefits for massage or chiropractic services, while maintaining basic coverage for dental and prescription medication. This applies to more than 1,000 staff. The payoff? Higher levels of engagement, customer service and job satisfaction.

Their benefits also extend to their own products. For example, all employees receive a deposit bonus into their savings accounts at 1.5% above posted rates. Spouses receive the same benefits even if they aren’t working for the company.  In addition, staff can secure mortgages at a preferred rate; realizing significant savings over the long term. Financial benefits also apply to retirement savings, matching RRSP contributions as well as a formal dinner upon retirement with $1,000 cash recognition for service to the organization.

Another leader of a large engineering software company stated that flexible work schedules have resulted in increased productivity because employees know that they are trusted. Their firm takes work-life balance seriously and recognizes the priorities associated with family responsibilities. Their culture and solid client relationships are a reflection of putting these values into action. This year their company is vying for the best workplace in the “working parents” category. With over 60% of employees under the age of 40, they know that their business model can allow for staff to work from home, telecommute or take extended leave of absence during the quieter, summer months. Most importantly, the founders of the business believe in putting values into action. Therefore, all employees appreciate the fact that a company that accommodates personal demands outside of the workplace rewards their professional attitude and hard work.

In the category of “best workplace for the millennial generation”, competition was fierce.  These companies recognize that ongoing labour shortages as a result of on-going baby boomer retirements means that they need to keep their pipeline filled with younger employees and future leaders.

Encouraging innovation and educational learning experiences is an integral part of the philosophy of the award contenders in this category. They are consistently ahead of the game when it comes to maintaining a presence at recruitment fairs; building relationships with pre and post secondary educational institutions, encouraging the use of social media in the workplace (as well as for recruitment purposes) rewarding employees with a finder’s fee regarding peer hiring, frequent off-site brainstorming retreats to build teamwork and foster creativity, “bring your parents to work days”…the list is endless.

To effectively take the lead with your multigenerational workplace, the finalists are succeeding primarily due to the fact that their leadership; from the owners to the executive level, are supportive of every initiative. They realize that in order to maintain talent and build their future leaders, creating and sustaining the type of workplace atmosphere where people can simultaneously excel, learn and have fun means walking the talk. There is no doubt that the new generation of employees will consistently seek out workplaces of choice. When your organization stands out from the crowd with a “best place to work” designation, it makes the entire recruitment, engagement and retention that much easier.