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Best Practices in Developing and Attracting Key Employees. Robert Parent, Ph.D. Professor of Strategy Michel Delorme Professor of Human Resources Faculty of Administration University of Sherbrooke. What Do We Mean By Best Practices?.

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best practices in developing and attracting key employees

Best Practices in Developing and Attracting Key Employees

Robert Parent, Ph.D.

Professor of Strategy

Michel Delorme

Professor of Human Resources

Faculty of Administration

University of Sherbrooke

what do we mean by best practices
What Do We Mean By Best Practices?
  • Best practices are a form of Benchmarking that identifies the means by which leading organizations have achieved top performance.
why are best practices important to my organization
Why Are Best Practices Important To My Organization?
  • The fact is, that answer may be different for every business. Every organization has unique goals, opportunities, and obstacles.
  • Best practices must be evaluated in the context of your company's business strategy, its position on the technology curve, on the growth curve, and finally, the importance of the particular business process to the overall corporate goal.
does this practice make sense for my company
Does This Practice Make Sense For My Company?
  • Therefore, best practices function more as a source of creative insight, rather than the one irrefutable answer to a business problem.
three types of best practices
Three types of Best Practices
  • Internal best practices
  • Competitive best practices
  • Universal best practices
"Hiring, retaining, and developing great people is the biggest challenge and single greatest key to the success of any business"

--Scott McNealy, CEO, Sun Microsystems

roadblocks to success
Roadblocks to Success
  • Few business leaders would disagree with McNealy.
  • Many companies, however, consciously or unconsciously create roadblocks that prevent them from accomplishing this important goal.
companies to learn from
Companies to Learn From
  • Some companies, on the other hand, truly believe that finding, developing and keeping great employees is their primary challenge, and their actions support the commitment to that challenge. In our opinion these “world class” organizations are the companies we can all learn from.
aligning with strategy and culture
Aligning with Strategy and Culture
  • Some of these world-class companies are large, some are small, some of them are well known, and some are unfamiliar to most business leaders. Although different, all of these organizations have one thing in common: They focus on aligning their attracting, training, and management development activities to their strategy and culture.They realize that their strategy drives what gets done and their culture drives how things get done in their organization.
aligning with strategy culture
Aligning With Strategy & Culture





Attracting &




overall best practice
Overall Best Practice
  • Align attracting and developing activities to the organization's strategy and culture.
  • What's your strategy?
  • What competencies do you need to implement it?
types of competencies generally required to implement a strategy
Types of Competencies Generally Required to Implement a Strategy
  • Routine competencies (exploit the organization effectively and efficiently to continue to make money now), and
  • Innovative competencies(explore new possibilities to satisfy changing client needs and surprise competitors to allow the company to make more money in the future)
some attributes behind the competencies required to implement strategy

Know the company:

History Code Rules (follow)

Procedures (follow) Past success


Strong teams

Minimal risks


Break from the past

See old things in new ways

Enhance variance (increase diversity)

Future opportunities

Focus on learning

Break-up teams

High risk

Some Attributes Behind the Competencies Required to Implement Strategy
competency needs for kruger s future
Competency Needs ForKruger's Future?

Explore (new competencies required)


Projected success


Status quo

Exploit (competencies required =

continue to do what has brought us our success)

Past success



the role of culture
The Role of Culture

"The relationship we have with our people and the culture of our company is our most sustainable competitive advantage".

Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks

"Our culture is our competitive advantage".

Mike Smith, CEO Lands' End

According to the Fuqua Report, the top two reasons people join a company are the opportunity for personal growth and the culture; core culture is seen as the key driver to individual growth.
means available to ceo s to ensure alignment
Means Available to CEO's to Ensure Alignment

Placing leaders who enthusiastically embrace the strategy and culture into key positions;

Communicating the need for this strategy and culture in every possible way;

Establishing measures and rewards that reflect and reinforce the strategy and culture;

Using management development as a tool to create understanding and deepen the commitment to the strategy and culture throughout the organization.

management leadership development
Management & Leadership Development
  • In addition to competing on price, or product quality and innovation, high-performing companies engage in an implicit competition for the most capable employees
  • This competition goes far beyond simply hiring the best people
  • It also involves the use of effective management & leadership development programs to develop the new competencies required to succeed
best practices in aligning management development to strategy and culture
Best Practices in Aligning Management Development to Strategy and Culture

1) Develop a Competency Approach to Managing Human Assets

2) Create a Culture of Learning (Become a Learning organization)

3) Create a Leadership Development Program

4) Create a Culture of Coaching

5) Partner with a Local University

6) Build a Corporate University

7) Treat Management Education as a Business

development best practice 1
Development Best Practice # 1

Develop a Competency Approach to Managing Human Assets

the competency approach some suggested competencies
The Competency Approach:Some suggested competencies

Focus on


Technical competence

Sense of urgency

People skills



COMPETENCIES (skills, knowledge and abilities)



External and internal customer responsiveness

Knowledge management



Focus on developing leaders


kruger s competencies
Kruger's Competencies
  • Determine your current set of competencies
    • Select those you wish to reinforce
    • And those you wish to downplay
  • Identify any new competencies you will need in the future to align employee skills to your strategy and culture
    • i.e. Coaching?
    • Benchmarking
    • Knowledge Management
    • Innovation
    • Personal qualities
build a great employee profile
Build a Great Employee Profile

You can't develop or find what you’re not looking for.

Define the ideal employee and build your staffing and development programs to support finding or developing to that profile.

Here are a few examples:

emc s seven factor great employee profile
EMC's Seven Factor Great Employee Profile
  • Technical competence
  • Goal orientation
  • A sense of urgency
  • Accountability
  • External and internal customer responsiveness
  • Cross-functional behavior
  • Integrity
yahoo s 4 attributes of great employees
Yahoo's 4 Attributes of Great Employees
  • People skills
  • Spheres of influence
  • Zoom in, zoom out
  • Passion for life
development best practice 1 build a competency approach

Clarifies where you are and where you need to be as an organization

Creates a shared understanding of competency needs

Crystallizes your culture


Takes a bit of time

Development Best Practice # 1Build A Competency Approach
development best practice 2 create a learning organization
Development Best Practice # 2Create a Learning Organization

The definition of a learning organization is one that is skilled in creating, acquiring, interpreting, transferring and retaining knowledge, and at purposefully modifying its behavior to reflect new information and insights.

  • Xerox, IBM, L.L. Bean
development best practice 2 create a learning organization1

Creates a culture of learning and change management

Stimulates innovation

Symbol of a world-class organizations – the type people want to work or

Encourages cross-functional cooperation


Time consuming

Hard to do - without expertise

Development Best Practice # 2Create a Learning organization
development best practice 3 create a leadership development program
Development Best Practice # 3Create A Leadership Development Program
  • GE provides a good example of a company that makes the most of the attribute approach for building and deploying better leaders
  • GE uses the concept of competencies to improve leaders and has become renowned among the best at developing industry leaders
building better leaders at ge
Building Better Leaders at GE
  • GE bases its approach on four essential tasks:

1- the organization recognizes the importance of leadership to its business success.

  • Senior managers strongly commit to doing what is needed to build the next generation of leaders.
  • Former CEO Jack Welch, for example, claimed he spent 40 % of his time on people issues, much of it on leadership development
building better leaders at ge1
Building Better Leaders at GE

2- GE has a specific process for developing leadership talent (30-year-old succession planning system):

  • annual review by the CEO, top executives participate in activities aimed at improving their abilities and increasing career opportunities
building better leaders at ge2
Building Better Leaders at GE

3- GE defines leadership behaviorally. All GE leaders are held accountable both for "making the numbers" and for "living the values".

  • GE leaders designed and deployed a pragmatic, measurable tool known as the Leadership Effectiveness Survey (LES).
  • This survey synthesizes GE values and stipulates specific behaviors consistent with each value.
building better leaders at ge3
Making the numbers:

Annual cash contributions


Market share gains

Living the values:


Customer/ quality focus



Team builder

Initiative/ speed

Global mind-set

Building Better Leaders at GE
building better leaders at ge4
Building Better Leaders at GE

4- GE uses the the leadership competencies to integrate a number of management practices with the purpose of building quality of leadership. These include:

  • considering a candidate's abilities on the LES categories when making hiring or promotion decision
  • using annual 360° feedback to rate the leaders (this score often affects annual and long-term compensation decisions)
  • LES concepts also guide the portfolio of training courses delivered throughout GE
development best practice 3 create a leadership development program1

Reinforces the alignment of leadership activities to the strategy and culture

Symbol of commitment to leadership and learning

Develop the reputation of building leaders

Reinforces cross functional cooperation


Time consuming


Risk of loosing good leaders developed by your organization

Development Best Practice # 3Create A Leadership Development Program
development best practice 4 create a culture of coaching
Development Best Practice # 4Create A Culture of Coaching
  • Hold leaders at all levels accountable for coaching and mentoring future organizational leaders
  • Bombardier Aeronautics makes coaching a core competency for all of its leaders. It requires all first level supervisors to have a coach within the organization
development best practice 4 develop a culture of coaching

Reinforces commitment to developing leaders

Reinforces commitment to cross functional cooperation

Reinforces commitment to knowledge management


Time consuming

Requires some coordination

Danger of creating

an elitist mentality

Development Best Practice # 4Develop A Culture of Coaching
development best practice 5
Development Best Practice # 5

Partner with a Local University

partners with the university of sherbrooke
Partners with the University of Sherbrooke

Executive Education Center at U de S

Between 1998 and 2001 corporate students enrolled in custom corporate programs have increased by 340%

Corporate MBA's:

2 Cascades


2 International MBA's

Executive MBA (First executive MBA in Canada)

DBA geared toward practitioners

leadership programs at u de s long tradition of partnering with business
Leadership Programs at U de SLong Tradition of Partnering With Business

Leadership programs:

Standard Life (offered 30 times)

Bombardier Aerospace (Combination coaching and leadership)

Prévost Car - Volvo


Johnson & Johnson

development best practice 5 partner with a local university



International affil.


Qualified faculty

Symbol of commitment



University's values must align with yours

Development Best Practice # 5Partner with a Local University
development best practice 6 create a corporate university
Development Best Practice # 6Create a Corporate University

Corporate Universities in the U.S. & Canada

1990 200

2001 1800

2005 (projected) 2000

(Budgets ranging from 20 to 60 million US)

general electric
General Electric

Grottonville, New York (The Grandfather of Corporate Education Centers).

Entry-Level Level Leadership Programs

Masters-Level Level Leadership Programs

HR Leadership Program

Risk Management Leadership Program

Global Leadership Development Program

Marketing Leadership Development Program


development best practice 6 create a corporate university1

100% controlled

by you

Fully adapted to your needs

Symbol of corporate commitment to development and learning



Time consuming


Not invented here syndrome

Development Best Practice # 6Create a Corporate University
development best practice 7 treat management education as a value added business
Development Best Practice # 7Treat Management Education as a Value Added Business

Identify objectives:

Employee results

Organization results

Customer results

Investor results

Measure against objectives

Fund the activity as a business

leadership development with results in mind
Leadership Development With Results in Mind
  • Results diagnosis: define the results we need to produce:
  • employee results
  • organization results
  • customer results
  • investor results
leadership development with results in mind1
Leadership Development With Results in Mind
  • employee results:
  • collect data on employee competencies
  • define expectations for employees
  • evaluate employee skills
  • provide employees with opportunities to enhance intellectual capital
leadership development with results in mind2
Leadership Development With Results in Mind
  • Organization results:
  • diagnose current capabilities and define desired capabilities needed to win
  • could come from examining how successful and unsuccessful firms build capabilities, using action learning projects and case studies, and having participants use their units as living cases
leadership development with results in mind3
Leadership Development With Results in Mind
  • Customer results:
  • assess and anticipate customer needs
  • partner with customers
  • share management practices with customers
leadership development with results in mind4
Leadership Development With Results in Mind
  • Investor results:
  • train leaders on basic economic liberty before moving on to more focused training on reducing costs, creating growth, and sustaining management equity
  • these skills can best be conveyed in workshops with investors so that leaders can understand their perspective and expectations
development best practice 7 treat management development as a value added business

Focus is on results

Symbol of commitment to learning

Forces measurement



Forces you to walk the talk

Development Best Practice # 7Treat Management Development as a Value Added Business
best practices in attracting key people
Best Practices in Attracting Key People
  • According to the top headhunters in Canada, four sectors of activity are looking feverishly for new executives:
  • Telecom
  • High Tech
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Pulp & Paper
8 best practices for aligning attracting activities to your strategy culture
8 Best Practices For Aligning Attracting Activities to your Strategy & Culture

1 The "WOW" Factor

2. Treat the Applicant as Customer

3. Image is Everything

4. Get Real

5. Job or No Job

6. Multiplicity

7. The Great Employee Profile

8. Beyond Benchmarking

attracting best practice 1 the wow factor
Attracting Best Practice # 1The “WOW” Factor
  • Capitalize on your uniqueness to create an environment that applicants want to work in.
      • Southwest Airlines is a “fun place to work”
      • GE “we build leaders”
      • University of Sherbrooke “L’expérience de la pratique; la pratique de l’expérience”
attracting best practice 2 treat the applicant as customer
Attracting Best Practice # 2Treat the Applicant As Customer
  • Know what you want in an applicant
  • Communicate the same message to applicants as customers
  • Give applicants a positive experience
attracting best practice 3 image is everything
Attracting Best Practice # 3Image is Everything
  • Aligned companies create an image that portrays them as both community leaders and industry experts.
    • Support for various local and civic organizations and causes
    • Support for nationwide initiatives and programs geared toward social change
  • Reputation in its industry
    • Reputation as an employer
attracting best practice 4 get real
Attracting Best Practice # 4Get Real
  • Know precisely where you are strong and where you are not and clearly communicate that information early on in the recruitment process.
  • This ensures maximum fit between the applicant, the job, and the organization
attracting best practice 5 job or no job
Attracting Best Practice # 5Job or No Job
  • Aligned companies know that it is no easy feat to attract and hire top talent, especially those that are innately aligned with the core culture of the organization. In today’s competitive labor market, good applicants do not remain applicants for very long. Companies must seize the opportunity when they find culturally aligned top talent.
attracting best practice 6 multiplicity
Attracting Best Practice # 6Multiplicity
  • Use multiple methods and involve multiple people and departments in staffing
attracting best practice 7 the great employee profile
Attracting Best Practice # 7The Great-Employee Profile
  • Precisely defining your ideal employee creates the standard by which you compare applicants
  • The profile includes information about job requirements and expectations as well as personal characteristics that are associated with the company’s culture
attracting best practice 8 beyond benchmarking
Attracting Best Practice # 8Beyond Benchmarking
  • Constantly challenge yourself and your employees to identify even better ways to find great people
  • Don’t be satisfied with copying how other organizations attract great employees, strive to be the company that others copy
the 6 b s to developing and attracting the competencies your organization needs to succeed
The 6 B's to Developing and Attracting The Competencies Your Organization Needs to Succeed
  • Buy acquire some outside talent in line with your new competency requirements
  • Build an aligned management development process to develop the great people you already have
  • Benchmark visit and learn from other firms as well as teach other firms
  • Borrow immediate management development expertise by partnering with a University
  • Bounce remove under performing employees
  • Bind developing a reputation for building leaders