How to be a Talent First CEO

Savvy CEO WEB SMLCEOs focus on strategy and must also ensure their organization is financially sound. There is another critical concern and that is talent. The savvy CEO is the one who understands the importance of hiring good talent, ensuring a good fit, and then continuously developing that talent. Good talent pulls organizations through the good times, tough times, major changes, and navigating a crisis. But the CEO cannot and should not take on the talent task alone. One of the major partners in the talent effort is HR. However, the CFO should also be a part of that talent task triangle. Having these two partners in place is a great benefit to the CEO.

Alignment and Focus

The talent first CEO takes the time to focus and align key talent with the organization’s strategies; and the three-team member approach to hiring talent meeting strategic needs allows the CEO the ability to have this time and focus. The talent first CEO understands that “good fit” employees are the ones who will be driving these important strategies. The talent first CEO is keenly aware that this strategic alignment must begin with the executive team as misalignment of talent at the top will prove to be disastrous.

Focus on New and Old Talent

Focus on new talent acquisitions isn’t the whole picture. It may be necessary to look at existing talent for answers to chronic talent issues. For example, if a company is experiencing high turnover, a good strategy is to conduct an in-depth analysis behind the reasons. This investigation might uncover issues such as poor pay, a lack of developmental or growth opportunities, poor cultural matches, or that people are leaving because of a bullying manager. In a recent case we could causally link 11 resignations because of one manager’s such antics. Doing the math reveals a revenue drain. Less easy items to monetize include lost productivity, and low morale.

Go Deep

While we’re looking at talent, let’s dig even deeper. Valuable talent can be languishing away right under your eyes. Seek these jewels out. For example, there may be a seasoned employee who others look up to for mentorship. There are those who can create enthusiasm in anyone. These folks are invaluable when change is in the air. You no doubt have peacemakers, collaborators, analyzers, those who can drive business, and many other talented people whom, when given recognition and reward, can flourish and provide a plethora of talent ready to step in and grow with the organization. Pay attention.

Executive Focus

Looking at current talent can also include the current executive team, especially the CHRO and the CFO as members of the three-person talent team. The CHRO must take time away from onboarding and EEOC hearings and become more business minded, data driven, and analytical. The CFO must look up from the books and engage in understanding how the people side of business can drive numbers.

Job Shadowing

Having the Executive Team Job Shadow each other’s position can be not only an eye opener but a skill building exercise. Granted all executive positions, especially HR have proprietary information. However, if the executive team can’t be trusted, the organization is already in deep trouble. Job shadowing will help HR to understand talent needs and the other executives will promote a level of appreciation of the HR roll that no doubt, currently does not exist.

The savvy CEO understands there are several strategies available to become a talent first CEO. The shift to becoming a talent first CEO doesn’t happen overnight and the smart CEO can undertake this shift step-by-step to ensure success. Having talent that is a good fit for skills, attributes, and culture will help propel the organization to success as well.

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