Friday, December 4, 2009

Managing talent in turbulent waters

You've heard it many times: public service leaders are accountable for leading and managing people to achieve results aligned with strategic directions.

This is a tall order at any time in a dynamic political environment marked by evolving priorities, shifting resources, changing employee expectations, and ongoing public scrutiny. However, people remain at the heart of it all – people who take on the challenges of leadership, and the people they lead.

Many pieces of the puzzle need to be in place for leaders to achieve results in the short and longer term. Talent management is one key piece. Leaders need to strategically manage the flow of talent through their organizations so that the right people are in the right place at the right time.

Critical to managing the talent flow is recruiting the right people and developing them. In the hurly burly of daily activity, however, leaders often focus less on developing people after they are on board.

For some, that talent flow is now becoming a sea of white water as the reality of baby boom departures sinks in and new generations are being recruited to fill their shoes. The timely development of the right people to fill those shoes is a major challenge for many managers.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

The ABCs of Coaching

Do I really need a coach?

You could go at it on your own. Many have. After all, there's lots of self-help literature and coaching techniques. However, it's been shown that some of these help, and some don't.

There are the times, however, when most of us could use a little, or a lot, of extra help – the kind that only trained professionals can provide — like those with a background in coaching psychology.

Coaching is based on the needs of individuals and reputable coaching uses constructive methods to support those individuals in meeting those needs and to identify others that may be required to achieve goals.

What is Coaching?

Coaching is meant to help individuals or groups strive for and reach particular goals, or develop certain competencies. It can take any number of forms (lifestyle, executive, etc).

Over the years, coaching has evolved by incorporating elements from other disciplines — psychology (e.g. clinical, counselling and industrial) chief among them.

While coaching isn't new, it is being used increasingly, both in the private and the public sectors. And who better than trained psychologists and HR specialists to provide the expert coaching you or your organization may require?

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Rather not know what's really going on in your workplace? I don't blame you!

Do you know if things are working well (or not) in your workplace? Are employees happy and engaged in their work environment or is there conflict and dissatisfaction? Are you aware of issues or concerns causing problems in your team/organization? Are you interested in doing something to determine the health of your organization and to resolve any problems that might exist?

The answers to all these questions may be simpler than you think and a workplace assessment may be the next logical next step for you to undertake with the help of professionals in the field. Many managers – both in the public and private sectors – are hesitant to commit to workplace assessments because they may learn things about their organizations that they don't know or may not want to know (e.g. sleeping dogs). Then, again, they might find out that any problems they uncover were inherited from their predecessor(s).

But once you have the results, chances are you'll have to do something about them.

Are you in the process of hiring someone? Don't waste your time with traditional reference checking.

Many managers believe that checking references is a waste of time. After all, you ask candidates for lists of references, and are they likely to give you the names of referees who will give less-than-positive references? No, although it does happen.

Still, reference checks can make the difference between hiring one or the other of two equally qualified candidates (based on already-administered assessment tools and/or following other stages in a competitive process). In addition, references can often confirm the strengths and the weakness of candidates.

Other managers believe that reference checking is a necessary evil but overly time-consuming process, if they conduct the checks themselves, or expensive, if they hire a company or a consultant to do them.
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