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TALENT MANAGEMENT: Forming an Incubator and Accelerator Program to Foster the Next Generation of Leaders within Your Organization

Deborah-Mackin-2013-NewDirectionsNext week I present Preparing for Tomorrow’s Talent Gap at the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Talent Management Conference in Las Vegas.   I believe this presentation peaked SHRM’s interest because of the humongous challenge that organizations face in the next 5 to 10 years as Baby Boomers fade out, Gen X steps into the role of strategic leader and Millennials fill the void with new ways of communicating, interacting and leading.

It’s estimated that 6,000 Baby Boomers are retiring every day.  Some of that may have been stalled because of the sluggish economy, but as a Baby Boomer myself, we are not far off from handing the keys over to a new generation and taking with us much of the history, strategy and core competencies of the organization.  The idea that we should be managing our organizational talent isn’t a new one, but often times gets put on the back burner to put out the fires of today.

Hopefully in the 4-hour presentation, I can help organizations see the urgency in building a strategic pipeline of talent and give a couple key points to focus on in the next year as they manage the gap.  In fact according to experts, companies that align talent management programs to business strategy deliver a ROI 20% higher over a 5-year period than those who don’t align.

YoungSuperOne thing I’m going to share with them and I want to take this opportunity to share with you as well is our idea of building an “incubator” program and an “accelerator” program for the continuum of employees that need their talents managed.

When I started my business in 1984, we began the business in an industrial development incubator building.  This incubator state was designed to provide a safe and economically feasible environment to grow, learn and adapt.  That idea of “incubating” resonated with the needs of the Talent Gap.  Why not place newcomers into an incubator program that will help them grow in a managed and successful method.

Now, in my business as I look to Matt and a next generation of the business, we recognize the need to be in an accelerated state – one that provides proper resources (finance, talent, technology) and guidance to navigate another 28 years of business growth.  Again, the same holds true for employees who are identified as high potentials in an organization, but need to accelerate their development to accommodate the “brain drain” of the boomers leaving.

We realized that this idea of incubating and accelerating applies to talent management as well.  As we build an incubator program for our D1 and D2 employees (low/some competence, high or low commitment) we are:

  • Providing an environment where it’s safe to learn and grow with opportunity for trial and error
  • Providing organizational exposure
  • Identifying a Training Plan for development
  • Providing access to resources (Chambers, professional groups, work groups, conferences)
  • Introducing Mentoring and Sponsorship relationships

As these employees grow and need to be a bigger part of the strategic leadership of the organization (your D3 and D4 – high competence, variable or high commitment), an accelerator program should provide:

  • Involvement in strategic planning
  • Advancing to “empowerment” levels in problem solving and decision making
  • Organizational exposure to tactical, operational and strategic cross-functional experiences
  • Communities of Learning:  Leadership, X-Teams to explore things out there and what’s new, 70-20-10 rule with 10% to explore
  • Sponsorship support
  • High profile project assignment
  • Accountability for development in their field of expertise – Subject Matter Expertise

You can see where this might be a great way to harness the energy, talent and engagement from all levels of your talent pool – from Millennial to Baby Boomer.

Well, hopefully there will be lots of input from others at the SHRM conference as I’m sure many attendees are looking for new and innovative ways to balance all the plates of an organization.  I look forward to reporting back on their ideas and suggestions for addressing the anticipated “brain drain” in our organizations.

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An innovative training and employee development firm located in southern Vermont since 1984, we specialize in helping organizations get the most out of their people by raising the bar, inspiring potential and partnering with organizations to build a people-centered, high-engagement culture.

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