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Attracting and Retaining Talent – Battling the "Graying" Effect

Date: Sep 03, 2014 @ 07:00 AM
Filed Under: Executive Roundtable

From here Equipment Finance Advisor turns to the human resource professionals responsible for the implementation and delivery of programs geared toward attracting and developing new talent at their respective organizations.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  How do you implement a) recruiting the best and brightest new talent; b) developing that talent once it’s on board; and c) retaining that talent to gain an optimal return on your company’s investment?

Rita Dube: LEAF has a very well defined and systematic recruiting process that incorporates unique elements and several distinct steps to help us find the right people. The process starts with the job requisition phase, where key stakeholders quantify the skill, experience and educational requirements of the position. This information defines the job posting and informs the applicable behavioral requirements.

We then deploy a multi-faceted recruiting effort aimed at sourcing viable candidates through all available channels. We rely on a mix of popular online employment websites, college job boards, career fairs and personal referrals to provide a steady stream of potential candidates. We also rely heavily on multiple social media channels, primarily LinkedIn, for our recruiting efforts.

Photo of Rita Dube - Director, Human Resources - LEAF Commercial Capital Inc.

For a given job posting, selected candidates are first invited to a phone-screening interview before a face-to-face meeting is scheduled. After the initial in-person interview, we next rely on a battery of best practice assessment tools to help predict the probability of success. We augment these evaluations with a rigorous, multi-level interview process.

Our talent retention strategy extends far beyond simply generating an acceptable ROI for new hires. Indeed, hiring, nurturing and developing new talent are crucial to our long term growth and evolution. It might sound counterintuitive for a finance company to say that human capital is arguably its most valuable resource, but it really is.

For example, we always promote from within whenever possible. In order to facilitate this, we have a comprehensive process of semi-annual performance appraisals that enable us to synchronize our employee’s career objectives with the operational needs of the business.

Employee recognition is an essential element of talent retention, so we have a number of initiatives in that area as well. The quarterly LEAF Champion Award, service awards for exemplary employees as well as new hire and tenured luncheons are all examples of the employee recognition program.

We have also found that actively engaging with the local community not only benefits people in need but it also positively impacts our retention efforts. Social responsibility is a primary tenet of the LEAF culture and our employees eagerly and actively embrace it. We support a number of programs and other public health and wellness programs. All of our employees are encouraged to participate with these noble efforts and then are recognized for their contributions when they do so.

Sean McManus:  At DLL, we recently started a program called Next Gen Recruiting. We are hiring ten entry level sales people — inside sales and field sales — and bringing them through a tailored orientation and sales training program that teaches participants how to lead the commercial business from the bottom up. We are excited about this new approach to bring young professionals into the fold in a way that shows a clear development path right from the start.

Photo of Sean McManus - Vice President, Human Resources - De Lage Landen Financial Services

Bill mentioned our signature program that not only develops the whole person, but take members through the full cycle of professional development. Starting with True You we offered a program to identify individual strengths and motivate members to connect—working together in new and inspiring ways. Where True You was about the individual being their best and bringing their best to work, True Leader was about the leaders being their best selves/evolving from managers into leaders. Now with True Team we bring it all together to work as high performing teams in a global networked organization.

Providing development opportunities for our members is key. We have our Learning Management tool, which provides training on everything from fundamental computer skills to Myers-Briggs to managing conflict in the workplace. We have dedicated HR staff whose full time job is to develop, assess, and evolve our development offerings. We also support members if they decide that they need to return to the classroom to take the next step to advancing their careers. Finally, our HR Review process ensures that we are constantly measuring our members’ growth and determining if they are availing themselves to the development opportunities that are right for them.

At DLL, we have a very special culture that’s like a family environment. We provide learning opportunities that are going to strengthen that spirit and edify our values. We can actually say that our members have embraced the values in a way that reflects in everything they do at work.

Equipment Finance Advisor:  What modalities do you view to be the most effective in developing talent at your firms? In other words, how much is devoted to formal classroom type training, on-the-job type training, etc.?

McManus: All members at DLL are encouraged to create Individual Development Plans that are an ongoing reference point for members and their managers to map out a clear development track for success. This is a longer-term process and identifies how members can leverage our internal development offerings, mentoring, new assignments, etc. to reach their professional goals in an incremental and deliberate way.

Also, being a truly global company, we support and encourage members to explore positions of interest in other areas of the world. DLL is certainly not limited by geographic boundaries when it comes to finding positions that can contribute to the long-term—both for the member and the company’s vitality.

Dube:  Formal, structured, professionally presented classroom training is a key element—the foundation, if you will—of our talent development and retention efforts. It is not, however the only modality we use and it might not even be the most important one, certainly within the context of the “workforce graying” issue that we spoke about earlier.

At LEAF, we place a huge emphasis on post-training coaching and particularly on formalized mentoring. Although a certain amount of relatively informal, on-the-job-training will be present in any organization, we have found that a more structured coaching and mentoring approach yields valuable results.

Their ability to foster long term relationships is just as important—in fact, maybe even more important — than a sales person’s ability to close a sale. Those back office relationships can often build the loyalty and goodwill that keeps customers coming back over a span of many years. It’s very hard to put a value on that ability, but it’s a very valuable ability to have.

Equipment Finance Advisor Staff Writer
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