Low unemployment rates have led to a highly competitive talent market. The Conference Board predicts talent shortages in key sectors over the next 15 years and in a recent survey identified that “…attracting and retaining talent ranks as the foremost concern not only among CEOs but also the rest of the C-Suite, including CHROs and CFOs.”
Organizations are coming to understand that career development is a powerful strategy for retaining top talent. They also recognize that recruiting is easier and more effective when they have a reputation for developing talent. And—for better or worse— given the visibility that social media facilitates, candidates are making choices based upon an organization’s reputation for staff growth and development.
“Career development is a powerful strategy for retaining top talent.” -Julie Winkle Giulioni
For employees to be empowered, they must have control of their immediate environments.
They must have the necessary mindsets and skill sets—either through hiring or training—to do their jobs effectively and authority to make decisions that maximize the quality, speed, and effectiveness of their work outcomes.
Following are ten key factors that must be present for employees to begin to feel empowered and act on doing what is right for themselves, their company, and their customers:
Theory Y leadership. Company leadership must demonstrate McGregor’s Theory Y management style, in which authority is shared. Theory X leadership, in which all decisions are made from the top down, and cultures in which employees are empowered to make decisions instantly in their realms of responsibility and expertise, are by default, mutually exclusive.
“The process of spotting fear and refusing to obey it is the source of all true empowerment.” -Martha Beck
Redistribution of power. Per #1, senior managers must be totally committed to the redistribution of power and authority. This presents one of the greatest challenges to culture transformation. Theory X managers at every level of a company have significant difficulty giving up control over even small decisions.
Bottom-up decision making. In the old bureaucratic control model, brainpower is assumed to be located only with management in the hierarchy. But this has proven not to be true. As customers have become more demanding, front-line teams have been tasked with responding swiftly to them. As a result, the emphasis moved in some companies from optimizing efficiencies from top to bottom to developing more flexible, innovative and responsible decision-making by close-to-the-customer teams. By default, visionary companies moved away from control and compliance management models to a greater emphasis on entrusting individuals and teams with expertise in their areas to act in the best interests of their companies and customers. In a more committed and empowered organization, front-line workers have the authority to halt a production line or solve customer complaint decisions on the spot, without getting okays from managers higher up in the hierarchy.
Leadership Tip: empower front-line workers as much as possible.
Donna Steffey, MBA, CPLP, president of Vital Signs Consulting, is an international trainer, author, facilitator of the ATD Master Trainer™ Program, and adjunct faculty member at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.
“Cultural Intelligence develops intentionally with your commitment to increasing your global mindset.” -Donna Steffey
How are the major trends in technology and globalization impacting the field of training?
The traditional face-to-face classroom training is now less than half of all training done. According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD) 2017 State of the Industry report, that means that 51% of training is delivered via webinars, mobile, self-paced online, or other methods like DVDs or Podcasts. This represents a 10% change in the last 5 years away from traditional classroom training. With over 300 multi-national organizations employing over 35 million people around the globe, online technologies really do become the best method for reaching remote employees.
We see a trend toward mobile learning with 67% of people saying they now use mobile devices to access learning. What is interesting is that only 20% of organizations have formal mobile learning programs.
A trend known as micro-learning is becoming popular to shorten the path from learning to succeeding. Micro-learning is a bite-sized chunk of learning lasting 3-10 minutes and only covering 1-2 crucial points. It often includes interactivity and testing. According to the Dresden University of Technology in Germany, micro-learning improves retention by 20%.
67 percent of people use mobile devices to access learning.
This is a guest post by Monika Götzmann. Monika is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company. It specializes in customer service coaching.
Customer service can have a decisive role in the success or failure of a business. In fact, an American Express survey found that 59 percent of people would try a new brand for a better customer service experience, while 70 percent are willing to spend more with companies who provide a great service.
59% of people would try a new brand for a better service experience.
Unconventional Yet Effective Customer Service Training Tactics
Here, we look at three unconventional customer service training tactics to help your business stand out:
1. Customer Service Training for Everyone
One highly-effective, yet unconventional, tactic is to insist that everybody in a company undergoes customer service training, even if their role is not directly linked to delivering customer service.
Perhaps the most notable example of this is Zappos, who insist that every recruit goes through four weeks of customer service training. The result is that all staff members, even in corporate positions, have first-hand experience of dealing with customers and can better understand their needs.
“Customer service is not a department. It’s everyone’s job.” -Unknown
Another unorthodox customer service training method is to focus on consumer psychology. Although people are all different, there are a number of behaviors and thought processes that are fairly typical for all consumers. According to Harsh Vardhan, writing for “YFS Magazine,” some of the fundamental customer traits are as follows:
When given a choice, customers generally pick the easier way
Customers want reassurance or solutions as quickly as possible
Pricing is not so important to loyal customers
Teaching your reps these basic concepts can allow them to deliver more satisfactory customer service.
“The customer’s perception is your reality.” -Kate Kabriskie
This is a guest post by friend and mentor Bruce Rhoades, who retired after having run several companies. He often helps me with strategy. I am delighted that he is a regular contributor.
Does your organization possess the skills necessary to successfully implement your strategic plan?
Strategic Planning Is Not Enough
Organizations invest a lot of time, talent and money in a strategic planning process. They carefully consider market segments, opportunities, trends and competition. Then they develop strategic initiatives and projects. They examine assets, products, pricing, costs, headcount, revenue projections and develop detailed 3 -5 year projections. Sometimes shareholder value and market value models are created.
“One often-overlooked aspect of a talent assessment is leadership.” –Bruce Rhoades
I have spent considerable time with organizations on strategy, planning and process as strategy officer, as interim CEO for several companies and as a consultant. I am surprised how often the entire process misses a key element of strategy: a strategic talent assessment.
If the organization does not actually possess the key skills to execute the strategy, what skills are needed and how can they be obtained? No matter what process is used for strategy development, a strategic talent assessment is needed before “dropping the flag” on execution.
“A strategic talent assessment examines the skills needed to execute.” –Bruce Rhoades
Ideally, the assessment should be performed when key strategic initiatives are identified. It is especially important to assure that the talent is available to assess the market and opportunity at the next level of detail before committing major resources.
The assessment should be performed at a sufficient level of detail to enable successful execution. Avoid a tendency to categorize talent at high, abstract levels. A good test for the level of detail is to imagine that you are trying to hire a person with these skills — how would you identify that the person possesses the skills? For example, do not just indicate “technology skills” but specify the exact technology skills. Likewise, do not indicate “sales” but what type of sales skills – consumer, consultative, B2B, etc.
One often-overlooked aspect of a talent assessment is leadership. Even if all the necessary talent resides in the organization, execution will fail if leadership is absent. We have all seen a sports team with an abundance of individual talent but with no leadership to get the talented individuals to perform and deliver as a team.
“Even if the necessary talent is present, execution fails without leadership.” –Bruce Rhoades
The result of the talent assessment should be a “skills gap” matrix that lists the skills currently resident in the organization and the skills needed to execute the strategy. They can even be ranked critical, important, necessary, etc. The “skills gap” matrix should be used as a guide to acquire the necessary talent.
One gap that often occurs in current strategies is when organizations want to utilize “big data analytics” in products, marketing or sales but actually have no resident skills in analytics, statistics, large database technology or modeling.
Another example is when organizations want to capitalize on “social media” but have scarce skills in the organization that actually understand how to best use social media to reach their goals.
“Execution before the proper skills are in place can waste resources and damage credibility.” –Bruce Rhoades