The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce recently shared ideas, tips, and strategies to attract and retain workforce talent. Expertise and insights provided by Debbie Seeger, Senior Vice President and Co-Founder, Patina Solutions.
Finding and keeping good talent will continue to be a challenge for at least the next decade as significant shifts in the U.S. workforce are taking place: changes in generational work attitudes; an ever more global economy; companies re-sizing; and loss of experienced leaders and workers to retirement — it’s a Big Shift.
Smart companies know they must get ahead of these challenges or they will not be an employer of choice as the competition heats up.
Every day Patina is talking with business leaders who are challenged by doing more with less. Attracting the talent to help you not only grow, but to be cheaper, faster, better, smarter – is a huge challenge. The need to be agile and creative amid a firehose of change has created an environment where smart companies are thinking differently about how they make their talent programs match their growth needs. Here are a few strategies I’ve seen companies implement.
Grow your own
One company I’ve worked with recognized that they could not face increased loss of business opportunities, so they decided to create a “greenhouse” to grow their own talent. They worked with representatives across all levels of the company and identified the biggest skills gap for new entry level employees and for current employees considered as future leaders. Then they determined which of the skills could be learned. English as a second language was a major barrier in this company, so they decided to offer English courses to their employees. It became so popular that they decided to invite guests of employees (parents, cousins, neighbors). They found that their employees who were learning English were having fewer on-the-job accidents and safety violations, were more conscientious, had improved morale and retention improved.
Man to man coverage (women too…it’s just a sports analogy)
Another company decided that some of the skills gap it experienced was harder to address with traditional training programs (“soft skills” like work ethic, positive work attitude, being conscientious, etc.). They decided to implement a wrap-around program – or “Wrappers.” Each new hire is assigned another person in the company whose responsibility it is to mentor the person through their work experiences, and help build those soft skills into their core values. The Wrappers can help with any aspect that the new hire may find to be an obstacle: attendance; follow-through; quality; asking for direction; or having a crucial conversation. In this program, the new hire feels that there is someone rooting for them, expecting something of them, holding them accountable and helping them get the development they need. This company reports getting feedback from many of its younger employees that they’ve never had anyone support them like this – at all.
We all know that mentoring is becoming a staple in the development toolbox. But have you heard of “Reverse Mentoring?” I first heard of it at a large financial institution where they brought employees together from different generations for sessions to learn from each other. Millennials led interactive hands-on sessions on topics such as how to use social media or store your photos in the cloud. Some of the Boomers led sessions like the basics of Financial Planning and Saving in a 401K. This supports my long-held belief that everyone brings gifts and as leaders it’s our job to tap our gifts and apply them in the best way possible. It also puts the focus on the ways that each generation in the workforce can help each other instead of highlighting the differences.
Start by doing one thing, today
If all of this seems too overwhelming, think about what you can do to just get something started, right now, right where you are today. A few things to consider:
When you need an experienced professional, or team of professionals, to execute and/or manage a special project or key initiative, you can trust Patina to provide the right solution. We match your needs with talented executives who have done it before.
When a key position must be filled on an interim basis, Patina has the proven resources to help. We’ll provide a highly experienced, precisely-matched professional to fill that role on a flexible basis — and we will act with the utmost urgency on your behalf. In some cases, these interim roles become interim-to-hire positions.
Patina can help you complete your management team by providing ongoing, part-time executives in key leadership functions where a full-time role is not needed or desired. This is a great way to have a well-rounded, world-class leadership team no matter the size of your company.
Our Patina Professionals give back by developing the high-potential leaders of the future. Many of our professionals enjoy spending a few hours a month by phone, email, Skype or in person meetings working to develop your up-and-coming talent. This is the most objective and confidential way to implement mentoring and coaching.
Patina is an excellent resource for board members and advisory board members. We have access to a deep and experienced portfolio of professional talent ready to serve.
Patina provides consulting, advisory and thought leadership solutions that meet the unique requirements of a broad range of companies — all on a flexible basis. This work is delivered by highly experienced executives who bring specialized expertise with a focus on tangible and practical results and outcomes.
When you are facing vacancies in executive leadership roles, Patina can conduct an intense executive search to precisely match top-level candidates to your needs. We go beyond traditional executive search by leveraging our existing relationships with proven, accomplished executives - shortening the timeframe to place quality candidates in your open roles. Our process ensures candidates are thoroughly vetted and tailored to your unique selection criteria.
The vast majority of our professionals serve Patina’s clients by working on projects and interim engagements. Our opportunities include executing or managing special projects; providing consulting, advising and thought leadership solutions; and performing interim or part-time executive and management roles. These can be short or long term — or full or part time.
Some Patina Professionals enjoy spending a few hours a month utilizing their lifetime of experience, skills, accomplishments and wisdom to help develop our clients’ high-potential employees. Patina Professionals mentor and coach by using phone, email, Skype or live meetings to develop future leaders.
Patina is a great resource for board members or advisory board members. Many of our professionals choose to work with us exclusively in these types of roles. We’ll be happy to introduce you to these opportunities as they arise.
If you are interested in being considered for any of these opportunities, please register here.
Patina Practice Directors and Subject Matter Experts provide technical expertise and leadership in their field and serve as leaders of their practice area in a specific market or region. They make sure we have the right and best talent assigned to each engagement, provide oversight of engagements to ensure quality, deliver appropriate tools and methodologies, and facilitate knowledge sharing to other Patina Professionals. Part- or full-time opportunities exist.
Join the Patina team in a business development role as a Managing Director focused on establishing and fostering strong client relationships. Managing Directors find opportunities, develop solutions, help ensure a good match of talent to client needs and stay involved to ensure client satisfaction on projects and engagements.
As a referral agent, you make introductions on our behalf to business leaders you know at corporations and organizations and receive compensation for your valuable service. This is an extension of our business development function.
If you are a small firm, discover the possibilities of succeeding together by joining forces with us. Instead of facing the many challenges of being an independent small business owner, consider merging your business with an exciting, fast-growing company like Patina. We have a large group of dedicated business development professionals, a strong global presence and growth capital.
If you’re interested in finding out more about joining the Patina team, please contact the Managing Partner at the office closest to you.