Amy Dordek, co-founder and chief revenue officer of GrowthPlay, talks about the basics of starting a talent analytics strategy and what success with the plan looks like.
Amy Dordek, co-founder and chief revenue officer of GrowthPlay, talks about the basics of starting a talent analytics strategy and what success with the plan looks like.
Whenever someone tells me they want to be a manager, I make sure to ask them one simple question: Why? I’ve heard countless answers over the years: I’ll make more money. I’ll be more successful. I’ve been at this company a long time, and it’s the next step.
While any of these answers might be true, they’re not reasons to become a manager. In fact, only about 1 in 10 people is cut out for management. Still, there’s an expectation — set in part by companies, but also by society — that career ladders lead to this position. As a result, many employees feel like they have no other choice to advance their careers but to become a manager.
I wrote recently that we need to stop promoting star players into management roles, but it begs the question of where do we promote them instead? Sports history is rife with star players who tried to coach and struggled, from Wayne Gretzky to Magic Johnson. And why put Michael Jordan on the bench as a coach when he’s most effective on the court?
Using this analogy for the working world is useful, except for one key difference: In sports, star players like Michael Jordan get the accolades. It’s typically the opposite in the workplace, with career hierarchies designed to reward those working toward managerial positions. Individual contributors, meanwhile, often struggle to find a path for growth. And many of them take on management roles they don’t want or aren’t cut out for.
The solution to this problem requires a better focus on individual contributors and a prioritization on helping them find their career paths — with the help of company leadership.
Stop Overselling the Management Role
My daughter recently went through the job-search process for the first time. Along the way she told me many of the companies she’d applied to said the same thing, “If you succeed, we’ll promote you to a management role, where you’ll make more money.”
This sets an unrealistic expectation with employees about their career trajectory. To help promote the right people into management roles, we have to be more transparent about what the manager job is, beyond a pay raise and a title change. What companies should be saying is, “When the time comes, we’ll see whether management is the right match for you or if you should continue as an individual contributor. Either way, we’ll give you the resources and support to continue to grow your career at this company.”
Have Regular Conversations About Career Paths With Employees
According to Glassdoor, one of the top reasons for employee attrition is a lack of career path and sufficient compensation. Harvard Business Review researchers found that 73 percent of workers left their employer to achieve career progression.
Managers should be having regular conversations with their employees about career paths to help mitigate this turnover. I do this with everyone on my team. Once a month, I ask them questions like, “Where do you want to grow and why?” We talk about what opportunities there are for that kind of growth. Is there a gap in the organization somewhere that this person could fill? Is there a way we can quantify their improvement? There might not be a formal career path for your individual contributors, but show them that you’re willing to work with them to find one together.
Provide Training and Development Toward Career Goals
The managerial hierarchy exists because somebody needs to be accountable to drive performance of other people. Managers are being paid more because they’re responsible for a lot more. For that reason, I lead a lot of manager workshops across our offices at Cornerstone, giving them the training and support to become the best managers they can be.
For individual contributors to grow in their careers, they need to increase their accountability to the business’ bottom line. So why isn’t it a common practice to host workshops that help individual contributors have a maximum influence at the company? To better serve individual contributors — and increase their positive impact on your company — make training resources available to them so they can improve their skills and reach their career development goals.
Celebrate Your Individual Contributors
Gallup research suggests lack of recognition is one of the top reasons strong performers will stay at — or leave — your company. For managers, recognition comes naturally. Most of their work happens in front of other people. They help get everyone organized, they mentor, they troubleshoot. Individual contributor roles are much less in the spotlight. Find ways to make sure people know the great work these employees are doing and why it matters to the company.
Companies don’t want to lose their star players. But rather than moving them into management to keep them, help them find a career path that will help them grow on their own and continue to add the most value to your business. Overall, we need to treat individual contributors like the rock stars that they are. In sports, it’s the individual contributors that get all the publicity — the superstars. Let’s give them the spotlight in the workforce, too.
Jeff Miller is senior director of talent management at Cornerstone OnDemand. To comment, email email@example.com.
Many of the 6,000 employees at WeWork Cos. will soon have to make some dietary changes. Earlier this month, the New York City-based shared workspace company announced via an internal memo that it will no longer cover the costs of meals expensed if they include red meat, pork or poultry. Company events will also omit dishes featuring meat. There are still some options for workers not happy with this announcement. Fish will still be on the menu, and “individuals requiring ‘medical or religious’ allowances are being referred to the company’s policy team to discuss options,” Bloomberg wrote.
The company cited environmental reasons as cause for the change, but my initial thought was that there’s more to chew on.
Reducing or removing meat from our diets is an increasingly popular option for those who aim to reduce harm to animals, improve their health, save money and/or reduce their carbon footprint. In fact, veganism — the practice of not eating any food derived from animals, including meat, eggs, cheese and honey — is on the rise, too. In 2014, just 1 percent of U.S. consumers were vegan, rising to 6 percent by 2017, according to “Top Trends in Prepared Foods 2017.”
Health is a concern for many who decide to remove meat from their diets, as a diet high in red meat has ties to increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease and often hosts many artificial hormones that can cause health issues in humans. Many celebrity athletes embrace meatless or vegan diets as well, most notably Tom Brady, along with 11 Tennessee Titans football players and many more, often citing their plant-based diet for their improved game.
A desire to not participate in animal cruelty is a time-honored reason for omitting meat from diets. Factory farming often involves chickens stuffed into too-small cages, cows still being conscious during the slaughtering process, unsanitary environments, neglect for sick animals and clipping of tails and teeth without painkillers. Additionally, the human workers at meat processing plants tend to face low wages as well as dangerous and abusive environments.
The decision to go meat-free follows WeWork’s drive to reduce food waste and plastic use. Their citation of environmental reasons for omitting meat is legitimate, as carbon emissions from factory farms are at noxious levels. The amount of carbon dioxide emitted to produce one calorie of meat is 11 times higher than producing one calorie of protein via plants, according to PETA. Beef production alone creates the same amount of emissions each year as 24 million cars, writes the Union of Concerned Scientists, though there are ways to raise the cattle with a lower carbon footprint. Additionally, bacteria-laden runoff from the farms is a top cause of pollution to America’s waterways and impacts the air quality — and thus property values — of surrounding communities, according to a 2010 report from National Association of Local Boards of Health.
While these are all great reasons to reduce meat intake or commit to a vegetarian diet, my gut tells me that WeWork’s decision was one only partially driven by a desire to improve the environment. A likely aspect of the decision? Money. Going meatless just once a week for a year can save an individual $210, according to EatingWell magazine. Yes, I do eat meat, though I often opt for meals featuring beans or tofu for my protein. My most typical meat purchase at a grocery store is a package of bone-in chicken thighs to create my famous homemade chicken noodle soup (OK, maybe it’s just famous to my friends and family). Even when opting for the cheapest package of chicken, I often find that it is the most expensive item on my receipt.
In WeWork’s case, this could mean cost savings for them in terms of less money spent per meal, as well as employees continuing to choose meals featuring meat and simply paying their own way. Still, if ordering lobster is on the table, sign me up!
In terms of employees taking clients out for meals, this opens up a whole other can of worms (excuse the expression). Will clients only be able to choose from meat-free menus? This creates potential for some awkward conversations between WeWork employees and their clients, who might — rightfully or not — become too annoyed with the rule to follow through with a meeting.
However, making clients only choose meat-free options creates another avenue for savings at WeWork. Looking at menus at steakhouses — the traditional go-to for client dinners — the meatless options tend to cost less or not exist. Take McCormick & Schmick’s, for example. According to the menu on their website, the popular seafood and steak restaurant chain offers no meatless entrees. When comparing the fish menu to steak menu, the fish comes out to a few dollars less, on average.
When WeWork employees travel, their room service offerings are also likely to be significantly less expensive when omitting meat or opting for fish. When looking at an in-suite menu at The Venetian, a popular hotel for visitors of Las Vegas, lunch and dinner entrees with meat cost an average of $10 more than those that are meat-free.
By offering only meatless options at company-sponsored events, WeWork also will have fewer dietary restrictions to consider. It can be difficult to meet the needs of vegetarian and/or vegan team members, those who have various food allergies, as well as providing meat offerings. Simplifying the options should provide potential for cost reduction.
Expand this math to the 6,000 WeWork employees and try to tell me money wasn’t at least part of the decision.
While removing meat from the table could be a good way to reduce both cost and carbon footprint, not all companies that tried this found it to be successful. Juicero, a now-defunct company that made juice machines, refused to pay for employee meals at non-vegan restaurants. While this alone likely did not sink the company, this is a difficult requirement to meet (pardon the pun). Even in cities with abundant vegan dining options, the restaurant variety is still typically less convenient than the alternative. As a personal example, I can think of two restaurants within walking distance from my Chicago apartment that have a wide variety of vegan options – this would not ring true in all cities or even other parts of Chicago.
We’ll be on the lookout for any changes to or results from this new WeWork policy. For now, though, share your thoughts in the comments or on social media. I’ll be sure to read. Maybe I’ll even consider sharing my chicken noodle soup recipe.
Lauren Dixon is senior editor at Talent Economy. To comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
[/vc_column_text] Bob Cerone, CEO of CognosHR, talks with Senior Editor Lauren Dixon about what areas of HR that startups tend to get wrong and the changes that have taken place in the past 20 years.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December 2017 is the biggest one-time corporate tax rate reduction in U.S. history. The rate dropped from 35 percent to 21 percent, leaving major corporations with money to spend. Deloitte’s “CFO Signals: 2018 Q1” report found that 31 percent of CFOs expect to increase domestic hiring and 38 percent anticipate raising wages as a result of the tax reform. According to The Washington Post, Republicans argue the cuts will provide a surge for the economy, but most independent economists and Wall Street banks predict the growth will be modest and short-lived.
Either way, companies must decide what to do with this extra cash. According to a recent poll by BizBuySell, 32 percent of small businesses plan to use the majority of their tax savings to invest in marketing and sales initiatives, and 21 percent plan to invest in physical improvements to business. Of the 1,100 small-business owners polled, only 12 percent said they plan to use the savings to invest in current employees.
That number seems about right to Camille Preston, a psychologist who has spent the past 20 years looking at systems and understanding how to promote resiliency. She is also the CEO and founder of AIM Leadership, which develops individuals, teams and organizations to be more agile and impactful in a changing environment. She said the current market instability and political instability are leading to a sense of uncertainty that has been rippling into corporations she works with.
According to Preston, learning and development strategies won’t change as a result of the tax credit. “Corporations are making decisions based on pre-existing strategies. I don’t think the tax cut is having a drastic impact,” she said. “I think they are allocating those resources to what will optimize their business, whether that’s shareholder value or investing in infrastructure assets. They are using a business mind rather than a human capital mind to think about how they reallocate those resources.”
An article in The New York Times outlined various investments by companies like Home Depot, JetBlue and Pfizer that will give their extra cash to shareholders through stock buybacks. It was also reported that Apple, AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Disney are giving employees one-time bonuses. BNY Mellon, FedEx, JPMorgan Chase, Walmart and US Bancorp are raising wages.
But Preston compared the entire tax credit to the short-lived feeling of getting a raise. “Research shows that when someone gets a raise, they feel good for a finite amount of time and then it’s almost like regression back to the mean,” she said. “They don’t really notice that raise and they go back to feeling about the job how they felt about the job prior to that raise.”
If an organization is trying to create engagement or collaboration with their employees or make it a more enjoyable place to work, Preston said how it uses the tax cut is not going to be the lever that will move this factor. “If companies are really interested in investing and engaging employees, they can do that, but I think it’s decoupled in most companies’ minds from the tax cut — unless they have a strong PR team who’s really pushing what they are doing and why they are doing it as a one-off,” Preston said.
Indeed, some companies are investing in employees with the tax savings. Boeing will spend $100 million on workforce development, training and education; Disney will spend $50 million for tuition payments for its hourly employees; and AMN Healthcare will, among other investments, add $100,000 to its $4.2 million training budget.
“We had a large commitment to training anyway, but now we put some additional dollars against our budget that were originally in the plan to focus specifically on training,” said Julie Fletcher, chief talent officer at AMN. “Last year we were named on the Fortune list as No. 11 fastest growing company. So you can imagine from a talent perspective, we have to keep up with that growth internally.”
Part of the investment will go toward a new leadership development program. This year, they will fly every new leader in for a 2 1/2-day session to set the stage for leadership expectations. “Bringing our leaders in for a culture deep-dive when they first start really helps from the onset to communicate our expectations of leadership,” Fletcher said.
The company also intends to do more e-learning through its newly acquired LMS, improve career development tools on its intranet and improve its job rotation program. Fletcher said they also want to listen to their team members to find out what kind of training the employees want. Through the firm’s past engagement surveys, they know their employees desire more development opportunities. “Knowing that more dollars are being spent on training is something that excites our employees,” Fletcher said. “We’re doing a good job of it today, but with some additional dollars we’re able to invest in development even further — whether that’s on-the-job training, technology or career development.”
Fletcher said when companies are deciding where to spend their tax savings, they should be thoughtful about what their team members want. She said she admires AMN’s own comprehensive approach and believes it will have a long-term effect. “Giving employees bonuses is a wonderful thing to do, but what will that mean a year from now?” she said. “Instead, we’re building up everything from work environment to culture to investing in development.”
A long-term effect is what Preston is looking for too. She said corporations understand the impact of engagement on the bottom line, but their drive for engagement is often short-lived.
“The best investment for corporations is developing individuals’ self-awareness — helping individuals understand who they are and what they need to perform at their best — and then providing resources so they can make small modifications in their work environment so they can spend more time at their best,” Preston said. “If corporations did this, very quickly they would be able to separate engaged employees from unengaged employees. The employees who got excited about this would be the ones you would want to invest more resources with.”
Ave Rio is an associate editor for Talent Economy. To comment, email email@example.com.