With today’s focus on advanced technologies, it’s easy to overlook a simple fact: all tech is meaningless without the talent to put it use. In an age of automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence, human talent is more important than ever. While the best facilities recognize this and put people at the center of their agendas, many others continue to pay lip service more than they actually devote time to their “most important asset.”
Long-term care organizations require a fresh view of recruiting and talent development that takes into account the fact that the technical talent they need, especially in more advanced positions, may not be immediately available. They need to manage teams made up of traditional employees, techies, and people from outside the organization (such as interim consultants). They need to figure out how to “reskill” or “upskill” people displaced by automation or other technological advances.
This is an enormous challenge and one that should be atop every facility’s action list. For those who want to get it right, here are five simple ways to think about establishing a people advantage out there. A word of warning, however: simple is not the same as easy. Effective talent development and management, especially in a time of fast-paced, tech-driven change, takes commitment – and, most importantly, time.
TIP 1: IT’S ABOUT TIME
Great talent management is like raising kids – it’s all about how you spend your time. Organizational leaders and their teams often devote just a days a year to talent management, when 30 to 40 is what is closer to what’s required.
A few years ago, respondents in a survey of 2,000 executives said that their leadership teams spent fewer than nine days a year on activities related to talent management. Top executives at “the best companies’ spent 20. Given the importance and complexity of managing talent today, the time required has doubled, but the average actual commitment has not changed. Leaders in long-term care should commit to daily and weekly opportunities to coach and mentor. In these interactions, dramatic positive changes can be seen by actively taking an interest in the career of others.
TIP 2: IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE 2%
In the NBA’s 2017 season, two teams with below-average payrolls- the Colden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics – won their respective divisions. Golden State went on to win the NBA Championship. At the same time, eight teams with above-average payrolls all finished with losing records. One big reason: teamwork – specifically, cooperation, or acting in ways that improve the effectiveness of others, often at personal cost.
Sticking with this sports analogy, players on the Celtics and Warriors “assisted” their teammates more frequently than players on other teams – on average, 15% to 30 % above the league average. Side note: an assist is passing the ball to another player rather than shooting it yourself. An assist embodies the cooperation because players forfeit personal points in order to set up a teammate who potentially has a better shot. What does all of this mean?
The idea that the top 2% of your people will merit 80% of your talent attention has become a tenant of conventional wisdom. Problem is, it has always been exaggerated and the importance of the 2% is declining in today’s world. As more organizations realize that it’s better to offer an “assist”, they are turning to cross-functional teams to speed things up and get work done. The teams heighten the importance of abilities such as communication and collaboration and mitigate the impact of the 2%, no matter how skilled they are. Do you still need these superstars on your team? Absolutely! Just teach them how to throw an assist.
TIP 3: BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE
Leaders are not immune to the many changes that take place in the long-term care industry. In fact, as organizational change continues to happen at such a rapid pace, success involves adaptive and agile leaders who can embrace change, let go of old habits and behaviors, and lead their organizations in new ways.
Here are four capabilities of the adaptive leader:
Navigating the Business Environment. Adaptive leaders embrace uncertainty and adopt new approaches in order to chart a course amid turbulent conditions.
Leading with Empathy. Adaptive leaders develop a shared sense of purpose and manage through influence rather than command and control, creating cohesion in a time when talent is increasingly dispersed geographically, functionally, and organizationally.
Learning Through Self-Correction. Adaptive leaders encourage – indeed, insist on – experimentation. Of course, some experiments will fail, but this is how adaptive organizations learn.
Creating Win-Win Solutions. Adaptive leaders focus on sustainable success for both the company and its external network of stakeholders.
Great leaders adapt to their times. They spend a lot of time and effort thinking about what’s going on around them and what’s about to change. They learn to be comfortable outside of their comfort zone. And they encourage others to do the same in their daily interactions by recognizing and rewarding adaptive behaviors in their organization’s performance management system.
TIP 4: LOOK TO THE FRONT
This may come as a shock, but organizations typically spend much less time supporting and developing the leaders who manage customer-facing functions or functions that have a direct impact on growth, profitability, or other critical performance metrics. These frontline leaders work at the base of value creation. They are also key to embedding a company’s purpose throughout the organization- which contributes directly to performance.
The move from individual contributor to manager is the single biggest change in role for any staff member, yet in many companies these newly minted “leaders” get little or no helpful support. Many receive only a token welcome-to-management training session or some management modules to look at when multitasking.
At Tobin, we ensure that your long-term leaders stay knowledgeable and engaged by offering relevant and current leadership training that can be readily applied in their organizations. We understand that change can happen fast. As such, we want to help alleviate, if not eliminate, the burden that comes with backfilling a role, coupled with ensuring the new person can hit the ground running.
TIP 5: FOR WINERS, TALENT CREATION IS A DAILY RESPONSIBILITY
Every organization has, or should have, learning and developmental programs, but these are typically geared to produce incremental improvement rather than transformative capabilities. Companies must address their talent needs in a comprehensive and transformational manner that is embedded in the day-to-day operations of the organization.
Long-term care organizations can win on this front by allowing people to work together in fast-moving, agile teams on projects that have clearly defined business objectives. Each team has a point person, with extensive industry knowledge, from within or outside the firm. This person remains there until the project is complete and objectives are reached. Hiring an outside agency for these types of projects is a good idea. Contingent workers and new hires include a lot of knowledge in order to effect its transformation.
While each organization will approach the talent challenge its own way, winners share the view that talent is a critical business priority and act accordingly. Strategic priorities and operational plans address talent-related questions. What talent do we need in order to execute these plans? Do we have it? Where will we get it? How will we build it? At Tobin, we can partner with you and offer solutions to these questions that align with your mission, vision, and goals. Call Tobin today at 888-336-7800.