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How Agile Are You When it Comes to Talent?

CEOs know they need to keep their companies nimble, able to anticipate and quickly adapt to change, and to pivot in response to industry shifts without having to rebuild culture from scratch. But the talent you need tomorrow won’t necessarily be what you need today.

Small communities within organizations can also be developed in a high-touch way, said Greg Clark, chief marketing officer of Caliber Collision, which has 325 locations around the U.S. and conducts weekly team engagement meetings where employees engage in team-building exercises and games. “We challenge everybody in the organization to come up with fun ways for people
to just be people,” he said. “So that’s why I’m really interested in the low-touch side of it, because you can accomplish the same thing and do it across the whole enterprise instead of on an individual center-by-center basis.”

Making Room for Millennials
Shlanta noted that all companies have to think about how to create a culture to attract the next generation of talent, because as the baby boomers retire, the skills gap widens. “We have to import the talent. We aren’t growing it. We grow a lot of things, but we don’t grow the talent.”

“Collaboration is underutilized in our company.”

Ky Hornbaker, principal of United Excel, expressed a similar concern about his company, which operates fairly traditionally and may need to adopt new work systems to prepare for the future. “Collaboration is underutilized in our company,” said Hornbaker. “We come from a very traditional industry. We’re builders and designers. This idea of collaboration, to me, is so essential to the younger folks that we’re bringing into the organization. They demand it. So I’m sitting here thinking, as an older guy, that this is something we have to consider and get a team of people on board to implement it, because just the implementation of the tool to collaborate is a big deal.”

To be sure, those companies that want to attract millennials must create an environment that supports them, said Beliveau-Dunn.

“That means open, honest communications. It means having vehicles where they can communicate to you and tell you what’s on their mind and what they need from you, and likewise, with your customers and partners. That’s what they’re looking for.”

Attendees discussed the use of crowdsourcing games and polling tools to engage employees—particularly millennials—and to solicit innovative thinking. Of Woodforest National Bank’s 5,000 employees, 3,000 are millennials, noted Julie Mayrant, president of the bank’s retail division. “All of this gaming is sort of an expectation,” she said. “So that’s where we’re challenged to try and incorporate some of these tools while still running our business…[but] it’s less about gaming and more about creating environments for connection.”

Cisco 4Small and midsize companies have the advantage in creating that environment, said Beliveau-Dunn. “A lot of the younger generation likes to work, actually, in smaller organizations that they connect with. So being small shouldn’t be a problem in hiring. It should actually be a benefit in hiring, if you can figure out a way to connect your mission to the people and hire the right kind of people.”

Millennials want to work in a place where they have more opportunity to engage, to drive their own impact and to learn. So while it’s challenging to compete with employers with well-known brands, when it comes to talent, smaller enterprises can use their size to their advantage. And whatever your size, the key to success is to get people working together. “Innovation,” she said, “is a team sport.”


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