December 3, 2020

Talent Management, The Virtual CMO Podcast

Many companies struggle with talent management and dealing with teams. Company structures, team dynamics, and unique personalities can often make it difficult for businesses to get the best from their employees. HRTechnologist defines Talent Management as "A methodically organized, strategic process of getting the right talent on board and helping them grow to their optimal capabilities keeping organizational objectives in mind." As a leader, you should try to be a good role model for your employees and ensure that their voices are heard. The goal is to create a trusted workplace environment and thriving company culture. What you don't want is to see your best employees leave because of a toxic work environment.

This episode is for business leaders who aim to grow their business and have a healthy, collaborative working environment. The Five Echelon Group's Founder/CMO Eric Dickmann talk with HR Specialist, business coach, and 304 Coaching Founder- Jennifer Thornton about talent management and the proper way of dealing with your employees.

Jennifer Thornton is a business coach and the Founder of 304 Coaching. In over her twenty years of being an HR Specialist, she has developed talent strategy and leadership expertise. Thornton has worked with numerous teams across Greater China, Mexico, the UK, and the US to expand marketing, manage brands, and franchise businesses. It is her passion to help global brands build rockstar teams to support rapid and sustainable growth. Jennifer and her team at 304 Coaching help businesses expand by developing their communication processes, rebuilding strained employer-employee relationships, and educating them on the different stages of growth and stability.

The Major Reasons Why Many Companies Struggle With Hiring

It wasn't so long ago that the hiring team was known as the Personnel Office. That expanded over time beyond simply managing hiring and firing to include all aspects of Human Resources (HR). But today, businesses must look at HR as a talent strategy group that can drive your business forward. Jennifer Thornton tells us some of the primary reasons many business owners are bad at hiring and talent management.

  1. We don't take the time to understand what we're hiring to.
  2. We don't take the time to work around the activities that need to be accomplished.
  3. We don't know why we're hiring someone and what we want them to do
  4. We start to get emotionally attached to candidates
Top 3 Barriers to Internal Recruiting

Job descriptions are notoriously tricky to write and most end up being poorly written. Instead of looking at them as a list of duties and required skills, they should really be framed as a piece of marketing collateral that sets a tone for the cultural way of work. Thornton advises us not to look at the job description merely as a check box of things we expect of job candidates, but instead, view them as a step to building a culture and improving talent management.

For many candidates, job descriptions are boring to read. They do nothing to make the job position sound interesting or exciting or the company a vibrant place to work in. According to Jennifer, one of the major things you should be putting in your job description is your company's culture, values, and core mission. If you value an entrepreneurial spirit in your business, then the job description should discuss that aspect further. It should give potential hires a feeling of what it would be like to work at your company and how the candidate could fit in and becoming a thriving member of the team. You have to sell your vision of what you want! If McDonald's wants to sell you a Big Mac, they don't show you a list of ingredients, they present an image of what it would be like to eat one! You need to do the same when selling a job position...don't just talk about the ingredients.

Culture as a Major Player in Talent Management 

Culture is such an essential thing for companies given the competitiveness in attracting the best talent. Businesses need to be smart with their talent management and hire people who are culturally fit in their organization in order to foster a thriving company culture. Thornton tells us that culture is always going to be a key factor in the business's success because job satisfaction and job purpose come from the way in which employees perform the job. There are many instances in which the job description is the same, but accomplishing the tasks on hand is done differently depending on the company. In hiring, businesses must strike a balance between cultural fit and work experience. You can't ignore skills and experience and focus only on cultural fit . Hiring someone who will be at odds with an organization's culture is a recipe for a bad match.

Top inter-generational conflicts

Understanding OAD- Organization Analysis Design

One way to help employers find the right hire is to use a personality assessment. OAD or Organization Analysis Design is a test that can be taken in less than ten minutes. This assesses the job applicant's natural work traits, creativity, methodology, patience, adaptability, and problem-solving skills. Often, employees pass the skills tests, but they fail in OAD because their qualities do not match the job description. OAD helps the human resources team select the traits that the company needs for a job at the time being. There are many instances that the people don't show the same attitude in the workplace as they had in the job interview, which is why Jennifer says that this kind of test enables them to look at candidates more effectively and ensure that they've got people who have the appropriate experience and right job traits. 

Strategic Components of Talent Management

How Do You Position an Assessment?

To some, having to take an assessment as part of the application process can be a turnoff. Candidates have already filled out applications, submitted resumes, and written cover letters. Now they are being asked to take a test? It's important to communicate to the job applicant that they are benefitting from taking the OAD test. When you are use the OAD for interviewees, it's important they understand that there are no right or wrong answers. In fact, companies should seek diversity in their environment. Assessments help find candidates who are a good fit, not seek out cookie-cutter employees.

Talent management may be challenging, but companies should try to uncover what a potential employee will be like outside the interview process. It's easy to charm someone during a 45 minute interview but can you uncover signs of what a person will be like over an 8 hour work day? A job impacts not only a person's work lives but their relationships with family and friends. Jennifer Thornton states that companies should put effort into the upfront hiring process and not rush to fill a role. A new hire not only impacts that person's life but the culture of the company as well.

UNICEF Thailand Lists the Six Reasons Why Companies Should Consider Hiring Young Talent:

  1. New energy and perspective
  2. Workforce development
  3. Better leverage of resources
  4. Tech advancement and Early adoption
  5. Adaptability and Agility
  6. Increased Corporate Citizenship Ratings
What generations prioritize i the job

The Age of Remote Work

Jennifer Thornton is a remote leader who doesn't believe being remote is a hindrance to good talent management. Working remote doesn't mean spending hours in your seat but instead leaders should be focusing on results. Jennifer Thornton further explains that hours in the seats do not equal productivity and success. In fact, as we work more hours, our productivity actually goes down. If employees are only getting recognition for how many hours they're behind their desks, instead of being appreciated for results, businesses might start to see their work deteriorating. A common problem among companies, especially during this pandemic, is that highly effective might get work done more quickly remotely but not be recognized for their efforts if businesses focus too much on time, not results. It's important to allow autonomy and flexibility to get work done and recognize achievement.

Trends IMpacting Talent Management in 2020

Dealing With Talent Cliffs

Talent Cliffs can happen with aggressive companies and fast-paced businesses. These businesses can be overly focused on sales and marketing strategies to the point that they don't have their talent management and business strategies in sync. When this happens, employees can begin to suffer. When companies staffing needs increase rapidly, oftentimes they end up not making the best hiring decisions anymore because they need to quickly fill open spots.  As the business gets busier, the company's culture can suffer with the addition of poor hires to the team.

When this happens, you may reach a talent cliff where the best employees start to leave in search of better opportunities.  It is frustrating to realize that the best employees usually opt to leave the company first. These top performers joined your company because they believed there was a good fit but they are also the ones most in demand. The poor hires generally are grateful to have a job and won't be the first ones out the door. This only exasperates the problem and steepens the cultural decline. Having a talent strategy in place is critical to prevent your employees from exiting over a talent cliff.

Why Internal Recruiting Matters

Hiring should not be an afterthought. You should not wait for the problems to grow before you start looking for solutions. Strong organizations hire for growth and bring people onboard before so that people can be trained and fully productive which helps reduce the threat of talent cliff. Thornton points out that unfortunately, many companies only hire employees but don't focus enough on talent management. Many fail to invest in the talent management programs that their team needs for future growth. 

For many publicly traded companies, there's always this push for increased earnings and profitability and, at the same time, reduce their expenses. Companies are often too focused on cutting costs and growing their business that they tend to slash their workforces for short-term gains. Jennifer shares with us that the workplaces need to identify the activities that would push their business forward and cross out the items that are not essential to improving their metrics- or what Jennifer Thornton calls as "vanity work." Do not let your employees waste their time on things that aren't producing the outcomes your business needs to be successful.

Why Businesses are Having Trouble Dealing With People

Many companies don't give their leaders and managers the proper training in the skills they need when screening job candidates because businesses don't make time for this expensive training. Thornton adds that people don't understand the importance of educating their team in these skills which ultimately can save the company money. Managers need to be equipped with the right course of training, but part of talent management is understanding that not everyone needs the same training. Some need more specialized training for them to be more effective during work.

Leaders also need to be open minded when operating with their businesses. They should listen to customer and employee feedback more and adjust their business approach if necessary. Business owners should stop the habit of pushing falsehoods in the company by assuring the team that everything will be fine even when they are not. In any business venture, collaboration and transparency are the keys to the company's well-being and further success.

Jennifer thornton

And so that's a piece of the puzzle that leaders have to understand- They have to understand how to have great reward conversations and how to consistently apply accountability.”

A leader who thinks he/she is always right is underpinning the toxicity within the working environment. This can cause a break in the confidence of the employees in themselves and their management. It can cause employees to not want to speak up and provide feedback because they fear they either won't be heard or their suggestions won't be implemented. The last things you want is to have  a bunch of YES men and women who are afraid to provide the right kind of feedback. It hurts the company and it's demoralizing. Always remember that talented people want to use their voices to want to make a difference in the organization.

Percentage of professionals that say the multi-generational workers help make a company become more successful

Where Companies are Going Wrong With Their Compensation Policy

The compensation policy of many businesses is a means to incentivize workers. But sometimes, the way the system is rolled out can be a disincentive. Some people are very tied to their quarterly or annual incentives that they feel discouraged when they fail to receive these benefits. Salaries and bonuses are very important, but paying bills is not the primary reason people stay in their respective companies. As a business leader, you have to prove your talent management by incentivizing your team and providing appropriate recognition. 

Scope and Impact of Organizational Skill Gaps

According to Jennifer Thornton, there are so many ways to compensate your personnel, aside from pay. Companies need to get creative to achieve strong business results, fulfill your organization's purpose, and retain your best employees. You have to show your employees that you value their efforts and loyalty to the company. You can do this by offering them spot bonuses even if it's not yet the time to give out bonuses. If your company closes a big deal, you can reach out to the hardworking team members and reward them with education or training incentives. These bonuses and incentives will push them to work harder and stay with your company longer.

Live Stream Replay


  • Job Descriptions should be viewed as a step to building a culture and improving talent management.
  • Culture is always going to be a key factor in the business's success.
  • The workplace needs to identify the activities that would push their business forward and cross out the items that are not essential to improving their statistics
  • Talented people want to use their voices to want to make a difference for the organization they are in.
  • You have to show your employees that you value their efforts and loyalty to the company by rewarding them with the bonuses and incentives they deserve.

Episode and Guest Links

Eric Dickmann - Founder/CMO of the Five Echelon Group, can be found online on Twitter or his personal website.

Jennifer Thornton HR Specialist, business coach, and Founder of 304 Coaching can be found online on LinkedIn.

  • Adopt a Perfect-Fit-Hiring Process and Cultivate a High-Performance Culture with 304 Coaching!
  • Gain access to Jennifer's exclusive Executive Coaching to fuel your business's expansion and groom the next generation leaders.

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