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Invest in Your People – Invest in Your Future

July 29th, 2014

By: Karen Colligan

Employee engagement has been a hot topic for awhile now, with some pretty staggering statistics around engaged vs. disengaged employees and their respective business impact.  A number of studies have shown that companies with engaged employees fare much better than their counterparts with employees who rate themselves as partially or fully disengaged.

To get a closer view on what’s happening in corporate today, PeopleThink interviewed human resources professionals across a variety of industries – hi-tech, biotech, professional services, architecture, nonprofit and healthcare. Despite differences in their core businesses, when it comes to the people component, there were a number of common themes that emerged:  keeping employees engaged and motivated, retaining top talent, having the right people in the right positions, and ensuring that there is sufficient “bench strength” for the next line of leadership.  Here are some of their comments.

“We need to continue to invest in the people infrastructure. Our employees need to have development plans in place so they can see there is a future with the organization.”

“We have to put the needs and future of our organization first, and then plan backwards: provide development and promotion opportunities; recruit the right talent.”

Build the talent road map. What will the organization’s people needs be one to three years out? What competencies? What level of employees? Build the talent plan to move, grow and flex with the organization’s business needs.”

It’s important to maintain company culture. One of the things I hear on a regular basis is that people want to work here because of the culture and how employees are treated. It comes from the top. How we treat people is how we keep our people.”

Each leader of the organization needs to have a successor they are training and preparing for the next role. Leadership can be viewed as a second-tier component of the business; however, what we know is that without strong leadership, the organization will not be able to sustain its growth.”

The clear message is that organizations need to recognize that their people are the lifeblood of the business. Don’t take your employees for granted. As the economy continues to improve and there are options for them elsewhere, you want to keep those employees in your organization.  Find creative ways to develop and challenge them. Let them know they are valued, and that they are a critical component to the business moving forward.  Build succession plans to ensure that your bench strength is available and ready to grow the business.

And most of all, don’t forget the old adage…treat your employees the way you want to be treated. It will pay off in leaps and bounds in the future.

Till next time,





Engagement, Leadership, People, Performance, Professional development, Succession planning, Uncategorized

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Succession Planning – Not a Nice-to-Have, a MUST-HAVE

July 11th, 2014

By: Karen Colligan

Companies succeed in large part because of strong leadership. Yet, according to a recent succession planning survey by Human Capital Media Advisory Group, nearly a third of companies have no plan in place to ensure ongoing leadership strength. Of the 70% of companies who do have some form of succession planning, their plans range from minimal to comprehensive.

With most organizations trying to do more with fewer resources, it’s easy to put things like succession planning on the back burner. And if things are going well, it’s easy to get complacent about the leadership team in place. And yet, even the most loyal of leaders may not be able to resist an incredible outside opportunity, or may decide to retire. Do you have the “bench strength” prepared to step up to the plate?

There are myriad benefits to succession planning. In addition to building your “bench strength,” it engages top talent and improves employee loyalty; identifies and develops critical skills and competencies; uses training dollars more efficiently; and saves money by reducing turnover.

There are four key steps to succession planning:
1. Identify the critical talent needed, i.e., key skills and competencies,
2. Create individual development plans for high potential employees, based on the key skills and competencies needed, and connect those plans to corporate goals,
3. Communicate the succession plan to targeted individuals so they know they have a stake in the future of the company and vice versa, and
4. Validate and improve the program through employee feedback and measurable results.

As the economy improves and companies focus less on how to survive and more on how to thrive, succession planning becomes a key strategic lever. Knowledge and wisdom from retiring or exiting leaders needs to be transferred to those on the bench. High potential employees need to be retained and developed to guide the organization to the next level. And a plan for continually supplying the leadership pipeline needs to become a part of the culture. Succession planning is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.

Till next time,

Career planning, Leadership, Professional development, Succession planning