I am currently unsupervised. I know, it freaks me out too. But…the possibilities are endless.
Some anonymous employee with an ineffective manager
By developing manager proficiency in talent management organizations can strengthen the people who are asked to lead over 75% of the global workforce. And yet, according to a recent study by the Association for Talent and Development (ATD), only 40% of the managers from 147 companies surveyed felt they had received adequate training and development to perform their duties. In that study, 80% of individual contributor respondents thought their manager was not effective. Think about that when it comes to motivation, commitment and performance in the workplace. How motivated and committed will people be if they think their manager is ineffective? If there are issues with motivation and commitment, it is likely that performance issues exist under these conditions. This is not an insignificant challenge for organizations in a global economy. If manager effectiveness is essential to your survival and there is only one thing that you can invest in and focus on, what would it be? If your answer has something to do with people then we’re thinking alike because it’s people who perform a role, people who make up teams and teams that achieve results. In the context of this post, there are two aspects I’m going to cover, people development and talent selection. People development is one of the most effective ways to shape your culture and involves getting to know each person, what motivates them, what talents they possess, what goals they have, how they’d like to grow and what they think can be done more effectively in their department. Knowing the answers to these questions is table stakes for being an effective manager and leading a successful team. Additionally, the answers to these questions are beneficial for developing and selecting people.
If you would like your managers to perform more effectively in their roles they need to be knowledgeable and skillful in performing the duties of a manager, including how to develop people and how to select the kind of people who will perform in your organization. This knowledge and skill does not come naturally to many people, particularly those who have been promoted because they did well at the role of the people they are now being asked to manage, and it takes time and investment to learn how to select and develop people. Thinking about ATD’s study, it is more than likely in today’s business world that the list of managers who are proficient in these areas is much shorter than the list of those who are not. If managers are expected to lead effectively, yet they have not been developed in these areas, is it any wonder why they and their teams fail to reach their potential and meet expectations? Investing resources to help your managers become proficient in these areas has the potential to make a significant impact on culture and performance…if the right conditions exist.
Looking at education and training in this context by focusing on hiring people (talent selection), will paint a picture of how this fits together as it relates to shaping culture and performance. Selecting the best-fit people for your organization is essential to executing business strategy and meeting performance expectations. If you get this right, it makes life for everyone less challenging and enables you to focus on the priorities that will help you grow your business. Training managers on how to establish a systematic approach to identifying, attracting, assessing, interviewing and selecting people will provide a significant return on investment. Unfortunately, a systematic approach that is consistently executed is not in place in many companies, leaving managers untrained and having to figure it out for themselves and because they are not properly prepared to hire they experience mixed results. The result is poor-fit people are hired who end up in roles for which they are not well suited leading to:
- Missed targets
- Time dedicated to managing people who are not meeting expectations
- Hidden costs associated with turnover that financial models show are significant and impact the bottom line
These create significant drag on an organization’s performance. By educating and training managers to be proficient at hiring, you will influence your culture, increase your likelihood of achieving your revenue targets, and create an aligned approach that will improve efficiency. Establishing a talent selection system enables leaders to increase efficiency, establish metrics and define performance standards, which are all hallmarks of successful organizations.
From a development perspective, you can involve hi-potential people in the talent selection process. This can be achieved by having them review and dissect resumes, participating in candidate interviews, and debriefing their thoughts and instincts about each candidate. This is a powerful way to develop people, and all of these tasks will give them increased responsibility and prepare them for a management position. Developing people through involvement in the talent selection process engages hi-potentials in learning about one of the very first things they are likely to do…fill a vacancy. By developing them within the talent selection system, they are more likely to execute the system and succeed when they have to perform on their own.
If organizations prepare their managers to be proficient at talent selection and talent development they will go a long way towards avoiding the kind of statistics revealed by the ATD study described at the beginning of this post. If they do invest in these areas it is likely that their culture will be positively impacted and the performance of people and teams will lead to the attainment of goals and objectives.