Saturday, January 25, 2020
Monday, 11 October 2010 14:52

One Size Fits One

Written by Douglas J. Matthew

Employee turnover is expected to rise this year. Our latest research highlights that many workers are unhappy with their present jobs. In fact, 60 percent of employees intend to leave and an additional one in four are networking and updating their résumés.

This research provides a barometer of employee engagement in the workplace, with results that might likely alarm and surprise many employers. Employees are clearly expressing their pent-up frustration with how they have been treated through the downturn. While employers may have taken the necessary steps to streamline operations to remain viable, it appears many employees may have felt neglected in the process. The result is a disengaged and disgruntled workforce.

Common reasons for employee frustration often include such issues as:

Most Workers Want to Quit

  • Lack of connection to, and alignment with, core organizational values.
  • A sense of not being heard or valued; Lack of clarity about what is expected of them and their role, which can be exacerbated when there is also a lot of change occurring in the work environment.
  • Confusion about how individual roles link to the business strategy.
  • Increasing pressure and inability to achieve a reasonable work/life balance.

The Implications of Not Paying Attention

The best workers are mobile in any economy. Further research conducted by Right Management in this area highlights that people are attracted by career development opportunities, attaining work/life balance and working for an innovative company culture. If management doesn’t provide employees with these opportunities, workers are going to take their knowledge and skills elsewhere. Employees today change jobs because they can and want to, not necessarily because they have to.

The implications of not paying attention and not taking action now will cost businesses dearly. What’s the impact of failing to stem the potential loss of high-value talent? Consider:

  • Lower productivity as workers focus on job searches rather than on-the-job performance
  • Higher expenses, with the cost of unwanted turnover averaging about 1.5 times an individual’s salary or more
  • Diminished resources as rehiring and on-boarding take time away from other priorities
  • Lost business opportunities that not only impact profitability, but also negatively affect customer retention
  • A loss of intellectual capital as it walks out the door, along with the irretrievable investments made while the individuals were employed

Talent Management Best Practices

Lack of a talent management strategy is the number one impediment to executing on business plans. Follow this five-step approach to build a world-class talent strategy that is directly aligned with the needs of the business:

Inventory Current Talent and Future Needs

The ability to strategically assess current talent — and the future talent needed — underpins the ability to meet and exceed organizational goals. In today’s do-more-with-less business environment, higher productivity is often the single most important determinant of business success. With the right talent in place, brand-building is more effective and goal achievement is consistent, as is the delivery of higher competitive value to customers and stakeholders.

Every organization has a strategy, but may not have the right people with the competencies to execute it. Create competency models and success profiles to align and integrate what the business needs to accomplish with the talent needed to make it happen. Modeling identifies the knowledge, skills, abilities, experiences, motivations and behaviors an organization’s workforce must develop to realize present and future strategic goals and enhance company agility, innovation, engagement and retention. Well-designed competency models provide organizations with accurate criteria for optimizing performance management, as well as talent assessment, hiring, development, redeployment, succession management and promotion systems.

Align the Workforce with the Organization’s Strategy

A winning strategy is no guarantee of successful results. Unless an organization can align its workforce behind its strategy, that strategy is likely to remain on the shelf gathering dust. Identify employee and workforce issues impeding strategy implementation. Prioritize workforce management strategies and align them with broader strategic goals.

A well-articulated strategy provides direction in terms of execution, performance and workforce management. It aligns the capabilities, processes and attitudes needed to increase productivity and business performance. It provides a sustainable, proactive process to execute strategic imperatives and build internal understanding.

Once the strategy is communicated, it will often necessitate change. Mergers, acquisitions, restructurings and dynamic market conditions can all drive strategic change. But a change in direction doesn’t mean going off in all directions because the organization must maintain its focus. Managing change in a business environment that seems evermore volatile is an increasingly pressing leadership challenge. Yet if leaders are to do better than simply muddling through, they must be given the tools, techniques and support they require to succeed.

Team with executive leadership to explore current- and future-state implications, determine project scope and deliverables, define leadership roles and accountabilities and plan communications. Once strategy has been clearly articulated and agreed upon, support execution by clarifying fit-for-purpose structures and roles; deploying people, systems and processes; and assigning capable leadership.

Assess employee change readiness, taking into account workforce morale, motivation and understanding, and identifying potential blockers and enablers.

Develop Leaders and Build a Pipeline

Build leadership capacity that is both deep and wide. Organizations must continually identify, develop, nurture and retain leaders as part of an ongoing talent management strategy.

Investing in leadership development will ensure a steady flow of available talent to continue to grow the company over time. Succession management can ensure a smooth, seamless transition from one leader to the next — and the one after that. A growing number of company boards and executives today are viewing succession management as an essential business process.

As the challenges confronting organizations proliferate, bringing leaders to the peak of their potential with maximum efficiency takes on increasing urgency. Coaching can accelerate leader development and deliver performance improvements that lift the entire organization.

People perform better when they understand what is expected of them, participate in establishing performance goals and receive continuous feedback and coaching. They perform best when their efforts are linked to the organization’s strategy. Ongoing performance management should align individual performance with strategic objectives and measurable business results.

Focus on Employee Retention and Engagement

Employee engagement is a key driver of organizational effectiveness and directly impacts productivity and profitability. It’s a critical measure of person-organization alignment, expressed as employee satisfaction, commitment, pride and advocacy. Leaders need to articulate business strategy, vision, mission and purpose clearly and effectively to the entire workforce. A workforce that understands the organization’s strategy is better able to execute it.

An engaged workforce is 50 percent more productive than an unengaged workforce and displays retention rates that are 44 percent higher. Improve retention and engagement by helping employees understand the significance of their role and how they directly participate in achieving the company’s business objectives and performance goals.

Invest in Career Development and Redeployment

Strategically mobilize and size the workforce to meet the ever-changing business needs, as well as to minimize turnover and maintain employee productivity. Organizations that provide opportunities for career growth successfully retain top talent, sustain productivity and employee engagement, and align workforce competencies with new organizational needs.

Helping talented employees develop their careers offers forward-looking organizations a powerful engine for driving workforce engagement, retention and productivity. It also builds their reputation as an employer of choice and strengthens their ability to retain and attract top talent. Consider redeployment to align workforce competencies with new organizational needs.

Supporting individual career development across entire organizations can have a significant impact on engagement and productivity while ensuring that organizations are able to fill their strategic needs. With a more skilled and qualified workforce, organizations are positioned to achieve better business results.

A Leader’s Responsibility

The changing world of work demands more choice where one size fits one. Leaders must be able to accommodate different lifestyles and expectations and find ways to balance these with business needs to ensure high levels of productivity and performance. This influences how organizations attract, engage and retain talent.

A segmented, customized and flexible talent strategy is critical to stem the alarming levels of employee turnover anticipated this year. Implement flexible human resource policies and processes that address the unique needs, preferences and expectations of individual workers.

Put effort into attracting the best candidates — those who will be engaged and go above and beyond the call of duty, provide advocacy for, and commitment to, the firm. Employees are looking for a partnership. They want an employer who will invest with them, not just in them.


Doug Matthews is president and chief operating officer at Right Management, leading sales, marketing, finance, global solutions, technology and all regional operations. Doug earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Stony Brook University in New York, and has continued graduate studies at Xavier University. Right Management ( is the talent and career management expert within Manpower. Right Management helps clients win in the world of work by designing and executing workforce solutions that align talent strategy with business strategy. Our expertise spans Talent Assessment, Leader Development, Organizational Effectiveness, Employee Engagement and Workforce Transition and Outplacement. With offices in over 50 countries, Right Management partners with companies of all sizes. More than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies are currently working with us to help them grow talent, reduce costs and accelerate performance.

Thomas H. Shea, CEO of Right Management, Florida/Caribbean launched Florida’s first Outplacement firm in 1979, which became a founding division of Right Management. Today Right’s consulting team delivers the highest caliber career and talent management services from offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Visit or call 1.800.330.4448 for more information.

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