The way people perform and their engagement with your company is affected by numerous factors. While many organizations often cite the manager and manager/employee relationship as the main reason for employee engagement issues – and it certainly can be a big factor – I think we also need to take a higher level look at things. In my view, one of the biggest influencers is your talent management practices.
Think about it for a minute…
Your talent management practices affect:
- How new employees are integrated into the organization and setup for success (on-boarding)
- How job responsibilities and expectations get communicated
- When and how employees get formal feedback and recognition for their performance
- When and how employees are assigned goals
- Discussions around what is needed to accomplish goals (time, tools, skills, resources, training, etc.) and how employee goals contribute to higher level organizational goals
- Discussions about the importance of “how” work is done, not just what work is done, and what competencies are important to the role and the organization
- Employee development planning (to address skill gaps and/or expansion)
- Discussions around career aspirations and preparation for career progression
- Rewards and compensation based on performance
- When and how performance issues are addressed
- How employee departures are handled (off-boarding, succession)
I could go on…
When you look at this list, doesn’t it make you wonder…If every manager in your organization did these things well, wouldn’t most of your employees’ engagement needs be met?
So what’s holding your organization and your managers back?
Well for starters, many of these talent management practices aren’t well entrenched in organizational culture. To really be a part of your culture, they need to be embraced by your leadership team, not just your HR team. And they need to be “institutionalized” through formal HR processes. If no one is mandating these talent management best practices, they’re just not going to get done.
Next, I think organizations need to commit to training and mentoring their entire management team on these talent management best practices. Let’s face it, we’re not born knowing how to onboard an employee, how to give good feedback, how to write SMART goals or how to coach employees. And if we feel inadequate at the task, we’re likely to avoid doing it – that’s just human nature. If an organization values these practices they need to show it by providing their managers with ongoing training and support in them.
Lastly, I think many organizations fail to support their managers and employees in “doing” these management best practices by not providing them with effective tools. You just can’t do these things well with paper documents or spreadsheets.
What do you think? Do your talent management practices help or hinder your employees’ engagement?
Sean Conrad is a Senior Product Analyst at Halogen Software, one of the leading providers of performance appraisal software. For more of his insights on talent management, read his posts on the Halogen blog.