Developing Talent - Jay Millen

Point of View
4 min readMar 14, 2023

As we explore developing the workforce, I want to challenge you to consider this an extension of recruiting the workforce. We often forget what has worked in past generations that we can modify to today’s faster-based environment.

The higher the capability and skills needed in the workforce, the more expensive attracting outside talent becomes. From that perspective, identifying skills-based potential and learning agility in applicants early in the recruitment process can be a game changer in developing upward mobility and an important part of your employee and team development process.

Using Assessment Tools: We use the Predictive Index, the Leadership Styles Indicator, and other psychometric and learning agility testing instruments for most of our senior and emerging leader recruitment efforts for our clients at Caldwell. Internally we use the PI for all potential new hires at all levels and want to encourage you to cinder the PI or similar tools on an enterprise-wide basis to assess incoming talent and existing team members you are evaluating for progression/promotion. These tools can provide you with a gap analysis and development road map in the team's soft skills and intellectual horsepower you are developing. And that’s a great start, but it doesn’t solve the skill-based piece of the puzzle.

For years, the US Military used the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery or ASVAB to evaluate potential technical competence in recruits. Look at this (easily available descriptions online) and consider similar technical competence evaluation capabilities for your business where needed.

Skill-Based and OJT Training Programs: You probably have something in place, but does it really qualify team members for what is needed to do the next job and certify their capability? This starts with appropriate job descriptions and specific skills and tasks required to perform in that role — go back and review those in a few areas to see if they are up to date and capture what’s critical. Importantly, whatever your labor situation — who are your trainers, and have you trained them to be trainers? Are they being recognized for their contribution and compensated for their efforts appropriately, and do you have a succession plan for backfilling these critical roles?

Keep It Interesting: There is an annual refresher and certification required for many roles and many aspects of roles, including safety, specific skill certification, and compliance issues that are becoming more complex every year. Look for ways to keep it interesting, inject appropriate incentives, and add entertainment value where possible!

Next Person Up Sports teams use the term next person up for stepping in and up when a teammate is injured. Using this analogy, think about it as what is your succession plan at the operational level for either stepping up talent into more responsibilities or complex jobs. We all think about leadership succession, but what about advanced manufacturing techs, truck drivers, cooks, and mechanics — if the operations shut down doesn’t matter how good your leadership team is.

These are just a few ideas to add to your development arsenal, and I hope at least one of them brings some new thinking to you. As always, if you have ideas to contribute or suggestions to add, please send them to me via LinkedIn.

Tags: Leadership Business Benefit Board of Directors Value Creator



Point of View

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