How do you join the Best Places to Work list in your area? The Oliver Group has dedicated our work to building potential of people and accelerating organization success. Over the past several years we have helped companies toward this goal of being one of the best places to work and attract the best talent. How do we help attract top talent and create this environment? There are many things that make a difference and we will hear about many today, and there are 3 characteristics the Oliver Group has seen to lead to attracting top talent:
1. Identify what employees want: this may seem elementary, but it’s rarely done or done well. You need to learn what interests them or is important to them, and you need to find out where they see themselves 2, 5, 10 or even 20 years down the road.
When I was first out of college, I took a position with an airline. The pay wasn’t the highest of my offers, it wasn’t in a place where I necessarily wanted to live and I wasn’t connected with anyone that worked there. I came for the job opportunity and the travel, which was a definite perk. I chose a management rotation program where I rotated around areas of the business from finance to route planning, to the travel agency to marketing learning about the business and how they did what they did. Throughout this program they prepared me to become a leader one day or a manage part of the business. They never once asked me about my future and what interested me. I left after two years.
Creating a conversation with your employees, at every stage, early and often will align everyone’s goals and get us on the same page. Conversations alert us to issues or challenges. My previous employer learned this information about me in my exit interview –don’t have that be when you learn about your employees.
2. Connect people to the vision/mission/work to connect these things to what employees care about. Often organizations’ missions aren’t clear or inspiring.
For almost 5 years, The Oliver Group has partnered with Signature Healthcare who does a fantastic job connecting people to the work. Signature’s ambitious vision is to radically change the landscape of healthcare forever. How do you begin to do that? One of the ways they do this is to require their company leaders to attain their Certified Nursing Assistance (CNA) License. Certifying them connects leaders to the reality and challenges of healthcare and caring for people. Experiencing this detail of care takes healthcare from a huge undertaking of regulations and departments and makes it personal. These certified leaders are more connected to resident and employee needs. Signature makes their vision personal.
3. Build potential in everyone. We all bring different strengths and capabilities to the table every day. If we tap into what is already there and expand upon it strategically to help the company or customers, we fulfill the person AND get some incredible results.
When thinking of an example to share with you, I thought of one of our clients who exemplifies this characteristic of building potential, Farm Credit Mid-America. They are a financial services provider to agriculture and rural America, and they have enjoyed strong financial performance. But they also enjoy stability given their leadership strength. What they do is teach leaders how to build everyone’s potential. There is a mindset within the organization that it is a leader’s primary responsibility and opportunity to build people’s potential by coaching on a daily basis. The CEO, Bill Johnson, attends every leadership development session we conduct, even though the sessions can be 4 – 5 days long. His presence there is an indication on how important this training is with all levels. All leaders go through weeks of competency building, their bonuses are tied partially to people performance, and the culture built is a place people want to be, full of opportunities.
These are three examples and I encourage other organizations to continue striving to be a best place to work. Organizations contribute to our community by building organizations people want to contribute to, and it is amazing to see what people can do, individually and collectively, when the right environment is fostered.