Jim Bitterle, Managing Partner of EDSI Consulting, presented at ASE’s 2016 Talent Symposium on the topic of growing your own talent. Check out the video recording if you were not able to join live!
Diversify your workforce by hiring people with disabilities and you will not be disappointed. This is, bar none, my experience over the last five years. Before coming to EDSI, I had the opportunity to work on a team of which over 90 percent of the members were people with disabilities. Not only did I learn about business and the beauty of diversity, but I also learned about myself.
According to the United States Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities 16 years and older was 11.1 percent in July 2016 (https://www.dol.gov/odep/). This is over double the unemployment rate for people without disabilities, and many of people with disabilities have very marketable skills and qualifications.
One of my goals is to make it to all 50 states by the age of 40, and all 7 continents by the age of 60. In order to achieve the domestic portion of this goal, about once a year I embark on an overly ambitious road trip. The goal is to cram as much as I can into a 4 or 5 day journey and see as much of this beautiful country as possible. To give you an idea, the last trip started in Boise, Idaho, and ended in Portland, Oregon, and included 5 states, 4 state capitals, 3 national parks, 2 flights, and 1 rental car. It also included a LOT of caffeine and very little sleep.
While a trip like this doesn’t allow me to fully experience any of these destinations the way I would like to, it does help me to understand which of these places I would like to revisit in the future … and how much time I would truly want to spend there.
During another recent trip, I visited Badlands National Park, Custer National Park, Deadwood, Mount Rushmore, and the Crazy Horse Monument. Fair, or unfair, there is some mental benchmarking that goes into deciding how much time I spend at each location, and whether or not I plan on revisiting that place. While both trips were great in their own right, I found myself comparing and contrasting the two. If I am being honest, I would much rather go back to Yellowstone than Mount Rushmore. If I were to make one of those drives again, I personally enjoyed driving through Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Oregon more than I enjoyed driving through Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa.
Jim Bitterle, Managing Partner of EDSI Consulting, was invited by Tom Borg Consulting to talk talent! Tune in to this podcast recording to learn more about EDSI and how to develop talent in your organization.
Has your organization ever gone “Unicorn Hunting?” If so, it probably played out like this:
- Somebody within the organization decides that you need to go find a mythical and elusive unicorn
- You post ads trying to get a unicorn to wander in off the street and when no unicorns appear, you send people out to try to hunt for one
- After a lengthy and futile search you get frustrated because you don’t find any unicorns
- The moment you decided to give up on the hunt, you finally find a unicorn
- Five different people want to weigh in on whether this is the best unicorn you are going to find and the best way to capture the unicorn
- By the time everyone agrees that this is in fact the best unicorn, and agrees on the best way to capture the unicorn, the unicorn has wandered off
- After several months of searching for another unicorn, you decide to go find a horse instead (which is WAY easier)
- Once you find a horse you like, you realize that the horse can do just about everything you needed the unicorn to do, and that you never really needed a unicorn in the first place
My wife and I are currently in full-on nesting mode as we prepare for the arrival of our second child. Throughout this nesting process, I have had the chance to reflect on the twenty months that have passed since our first son, Alexander, was born.
If I am being honest with myself, I was terribly inefficient at so many things during those first few months after our son was born. Everything from changing a diaper, to installing a car seat, to setting up and breaking down a pack-and-play took WAY longer than it does today. So what changed? Practice, practice, practice.
Luckily for me (and probably 95% of new parents), you don’t have to pass an interview or a test to get the job.
Jack Welch has a great quote, “The team with the best players wins.” For some, he could be referring to baseball or football, but in business we know the most important team is within the walls of your workplace. Your company likely spends lots of time and money finding people with the skill sets that most closely match your company culture, the challenge is keeping them.
What is the best approach keeping your best talent and avoiding having them swooped up by your competitors? What makes employees want to stay? Here are a few things to consider:
In its basic form, succession planning is a way to identify and develop professionals entering a leadership position. Transition is undoubtedly something every organization experiences - the ebb and flow of people entering and exiting various roles. Some organizations have mastered a process of continuous succession planning. Yet, many small and medium size businesses remain unprepared for sudden or imminent changes that require immediate action.
EDSI has identified a succession planning process to successfully address changes like retirement and loss of key people. The process focuses on the collection and analysis of specific data, allowing for highly customized solutions. One major focus of this process is certainly communication. Communication builds trust and subsequently reinforces a message to employees that their skills and experience are valued.
Kevin Schnieders Speaks on Leadership Development at International Society for Performance Improvement Event
EDSI CEO, Kevin Schnieders, spoke on the topic of leadership development at the 2015 Signature Event of the Michigan Chapter of the International Society for Performance Improvement. Please watch the video below!
In my short tenure with EDSI as an EARN Job Developer, I have had the privilege of observing and teaching Job Club. Most of the clients who participate are 50 years old+, have been employed steadily in a company or industry for a long time, and generally have no clue about the requirements of a job search in this century.
Five common concerns usually come to light during our weeks together in Job Club. The exciting news for us is that with empathy, active listening and open sharing, most of these concerns can be identified and relieved before “graduation” day. You can be the change agent that turns their fear, frustration and negative attitude into one of hope for a brighter and better new day.
The casino floor at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort offers many gaming options for its loyal patrons; its variety presents the opportunity for customers to choose the way they may “hit it big.” At the Michigan Works annual conference, there was only one option that participants were able to bet on – PEOPLE. The clear message from Michigan Works was that employers and agencies must focus their efforts on developing, utilizing and retaining top talent to ensure future success.
Conference speakers provided constant reminders that employees and jobseekers need to be looked at individually to determine what strengths they bring to the organization. Jim Abbot told the crowd that talent can come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s the responsibility of the employer to utilize the unique talent properly. This thinking reminded workforce development professionals in attendance to see through the eyes of the jobseeker and to search for the true needs of the employers they assist.
WIOA requires states and local Workforce Development Boards to work with adult education, post-secondary education and other community-based organizations to develop career pathways that will make it easier for all Americans to attain the skills and credentials needed for jobs.
What are career pathways? The US Department of Labor defines career pathways as a new way of doing business which operates at both a systems and an individual level. At the systems level, a career pathway is a broad approach for serving populations that may experience significant barriers to employment. The career pathway can substantively alter the way the workforce system delivers its services and the system’s relationship with partner organizations and stakeholders to better prepare the worker.
Career pathway programs should offer a sequence of education courses and training credentials which are aligned with work-ready standards and competencies which are validated by employers. Career pathways can also provide greater customer service at all levels by engaging employers, adult basic education, training providers, community organizations and service providers to design services that meet the needs of employers and job seekers.
Have you ever left a conversation with someone and thought, “she doesn’t get me?” Or, perhaps you have a customer you’ve tried to identify with in order to have more productive conversations. This was the situation Adria Strausbaugh found herself in when she was initially referred to Career Sculpting. Adria was, and still is today, a manager who we are interested in developing and retaining. Before we read more about Adria’s story, let’s take a closer look at Career Sculpting, one of EDSI’s talent development programs.
Career Sculpting helps EDSI develop the capabilities of current and future leaders. Two of the intended results of the program are increased engagement and retention of our team members.
Career Sculpting provides team members with an opportunity to:
- Connect with what drives and motivates them
- Change their perspectives through individual attention and learning
- Focus on the future
Kevin Schnieders, CEO of EDSI, likes to say that EDSI puts people before profits. At other organizations, this saying may be a platitude. At EDSI, it is a fact. The Talent Team, comprised of HR, learning and development, and training, encourages EDSI representatives to connect their passions with their work. We have formal programs to connect individuals with learning and development opportunities, as well as a mission statement and values that keep us on track.
How do we show our commitment to EDSI representatives?
Hire People Who are Motivated by Your Mission
EDSI’s three-step interview process includes a culture fit interview. Regardless of position, it is important to us that our new hires understand and are motivated by EDSI’s mission: to create enthusiasm in our clients, see through their eyes, understand their needs and deliver more than they expect. New hires must exhibit EDSI’s daily ways and values of “show up, smile, and support.” Being passionate about helping others is also a must. By hiring people who seek to join a mission-driven organization, we are selecting representatives who we think will work hard to support their coworkers and encourage learning.
Written by Jennifer Giannosa - Senior Consultant with EDSI Consulting
What do top HR execs, consultants and specialists say are the biggest challenges in retaining and motivating their talent heading into 2015?
“Keeping critical employees engaged and challenged while competing with progressive employers and dealing with steadily shrinking HR budgets.”
As an HR professional, embrace the challenge to keep the C-Suite informed on current and future HR issues. Ultimately, this allows you the opportunity to gain the necessary support to act as true problem solvers. What is the most effective way to grasp the attention of the C-Suite? Use DATA to bring validation to your challenges! C-suites often value communication that is validated by solid data. Use information to frame your issues and help your superiors understand the challenges and solutions your department requires.
Organize a relationship-building opportunity with C-Suite execs and groups of employees (once per week in small groups). It’s a win-win situation which brings the two groups together to keep employees motivated and challenged and give C-Suites an opportunity to build relationships and understand front-line challenges. Most importantly, both parties will begin to build a relationship founded on trust.
Mentoring Programs > Open Door Policies
Open door policies have good intentions, but can be generic, vague and ultimately ineffective at maintaining a positive, supportive and collaborative office environment. They can feel passive and require employees to engage managers, which may never happen due to fear of rejection or retribution. To take open door policies to the next level, try a mentoring program. Mentoring programs are active and require participation from managers and leaders. They represent a great learning opportunity for both managers and subordinates regarding communicating effectively and building relationships founded on trust. Leaders should focus on understanding how employees like to be recognized and how to tell if they are stressed or engaged.
Guided Stretch Goals
Stretch goals are ambitious goals that help push people to new heights and inspire them to do amazing things! Before setting up a meeting with employees to develop stretch goals, ensure you are prepared. Make it a conversation as you guide your employee through the discussion on setting the specifics of the goals. Follow-up is key; show you are prepared by consistently holding your employees accountable for each goal, every time. Unfortunately, sometimes it only takes one slip-up for an employee to lose motivation and trust in the abilities of his/her leader.
Utilizing these solutions will help establish your organization as a progressive employer of engaged and tenured employees. Each involves careful thought and planning. Choose solutions you think will work best for your organization and those you have the support and resources to see through. Remember, sustainability is key! For more information on any of these creative solutions, please contact me at email@example.com.
Reflections from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Bus and Paratransit Conference
Written by Brian Lester – Senior Consultant with EDSI Consulting
The Public Transit industry has been a major focus of EDSI’s Workforce Development consulting efforts for nearly 15 years. Throughout this time, our participation as a business member in the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) conferences has been a consistently enriching experience. It is amazing to think how we have grown from a single engagement at SEPTA for a skill gap analysis of mechanics in 2001, to work across the country with dozens of agencies, state associations and governments, labor unions and partnerships in a huge variety of Workforce Development efforts.
At the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Bus and Paratransit Conference in Fort Worth, TX last month, I was privileged to help facilitate a table top discussion of maintenance training and development practices and to present as part of two panels on Maintenance Management and Workforce Development initiatives.
The table top discussion was a part of Maintenance Monday, a “conference within the conference” that gathered over 100 maintenance managers, trainers and fleet planners to share best practices through a variety of facilitated discussions. Topics ranged from alternative fuel infrastructure to bus procurement specifications, and everything in between. The critical conclusion at our table was that new technology on vehicles, combined with significant generational turnover, presents a huge resource challenge to train incumbent and future bus technicians. Whereas there are many avenues to become an automotive or diesel truck technician, there is always going to be a steep post-hire learning curve for bus technicians that requires internal capacity and innovative on-the-job training initiatives. You can’t just hire a bus technician, you must commit to supporting him/her in developing a career.
At the Maintenance Management panel, EDSI presented on our Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) sponsored research efforts on Bus to Technician staffing ratios, and previewed the detailed calculator and guidebook for staffing that will soon be available to the industry. Other presenters spoke on the use of Standard Operating Procedures in training, attracting and retaining women technicians, and the development and tracking of key performance indicators through maintenance and IT collaborations. For the Workforce Development panel, we shared case studies from our recent work in Knowledge Management for the utility industry, which is especially relevant as public transit has a similarly aging workforce and experiences the pitfalls of “knowledge silos” we’ve encountered with our utility customers. Other presentations included change management, public-private cooperation initiatives and future workforce planning. The enthusiasm from panels and audiences, both in and between conference sessions, was infectious.
After hearing from such a wide variety of people passionate about their efforts to improve their organizations and communities through reliable public transit maintenance and operations, I began to think on the flight home about how the common thread of all these efforts is seeking continuous improvement in the 3P’s of People, Process and Perspective that make up the EDSI Impact:
Public Transit is a place of great opportunity. It provides family-sustaining wages for people without college degrees, and there are innumerable stories of senior leaders in organizations who started as drivers, cleaners or mechanic helpers. This doesn’t just happen, it is the result of a lot of planning, effort and commitment on the part of agencies and labor unions.
More and more we are hearing about agencies harnessing data and engaging teams in moving the lead indicators that drive critical performance measures. There is a commitment at all levels to delivering quality service in an efficient manner.
I can’t think of any other industry where people are more willing to give of their time to help colleagues at other organizations across the country. APTA sponsors a peer review process where agencies can get valuable external perspective on their operations, and the conferences always facilitate new ideas and collaborations within and across organizations.
These are very exciting times for EDSI and the Public Transit industry. I’m very excited to see where we can go together over the next 15 years.
Written by Terri Kaufman - Workforce Development Specialist with EDSI
Congress and the President recognized the challenges and risks that employers face without a sufficient pipeline of workers to meet current and future needs. It is estimated that by 2022, the United States will be facing a shortfall of 11 million workers with postsecondary education.
Working together, Congress and the President introduced bipartisan legislation that will improve the nation’s workforce development system and educational services. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was signed into law last July. WIOA aligns federally-funded services to help job seekers access employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market and helps match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.
Did you know WIOA requires Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIBs) to design and deliver services that are based on business and industry needs?
Did you know employer engagement is one of the key metrics that LWIBs will be evaluated against?
The challenge: how do LWIBs and employers work effectively with one another?
A solution is Industry Partnerships!
The WIOA legislation references Industry Partnerships over 74 times as a means to engage employers to identify and address their current and future needs by working with LWIBs.
Industry Partnerships bring together multiple employers from the same industry sectors to identify and address both current and future workforce needs. These partnerships can strengthen participating companies by identifying the specific needs of their current and future workforces, identifying and analyzing the gaps between the skills needed to perform jobs and the skills of incumbent workers or job seekers, and then matching skills needed to training providers.
Industry Partnerships provide a targeted approach to education and training that is data-driven, needs-based and employer-focused. Partnerships are designed not only to identify local human resource needs and skill gaps, but also to address regional skill needs. By implementing regional strategies, LWIBs can improve the skills of incumbent workers, job seekers and youth.
Industry Partnerships can help LWIBs, employers and workers to:
- Identify skill needs
- Align educational curriculum to meet industry needs
- Develop cost-effective training solutions for companies
- Increase productivity
- Develop new career pathways
- Help companies identify and address organizational and human resource challenges
- Identify barriers to “entry level employment” and develop strategies to remove those barriers
- Collaborate with youth initiatives to connect with careers in demand
- Promote communication networks between companies, between managers and workers, and between companies and their communities and educational institutions
Your success is critical to the success of your LWIB! If you haven’t already, reach out to your LWIB and start the conversation about building your industry partnership!
If you are interested in learning more about WIOA, Employer Engagement, Industry Partnerships or working with your Local Workforce Investment Board, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please visit our website at edsisolutions.com/wioa to learn more!
Written by Jim Bitterle - Managing Partner with EDSI
Once again, EDSI sponsored and participated in the Human Capital Institute’s 2015 Annual Summit. This year’s HCI event was an excellent opportunity to listen to a variety of professionals discuss the broad spectrum of talent issues that are facing our country. Attendees and speakers discussed a variety of best practices to manage the various issues.
Although there were many excellent speakers, one speaker was most memorable to me. Her name was Sheryl Connelly. She is the Chief Futurist for Ford Motor Company. At one point in her presentation, she said “ask yourself, what are the big, long lasting, slow moving trends? These are the things you can do something about.”
She then went on to list ten trends that we can do something about. Here is the list:
- World population is growing, and it will continue to grow.
- Birth rates are declining on a per woman basis.
- The population is aging.
- The number of retired persons per working person is increasing.
- The greatest growth opportunities will continue to be in both China and India.
- People will continue to migrate towards cities (“Urbanization”).
- The global talent shortage will get worse.
- Women will have increasing influence in corporations well into the future (“Girl Power”).
- Connectivity will continue to increase.
- Multi-tasking will increase. (However, it has been proven that people have lower applied IQs when multitasking).
I thought about it relative to our company, EDSI. It strikes me that the big, long-lasting, slow moving trends are:
- Skill gaps for our clients will continue to grow.
- Online education/training will continue to grow.
- Out of necessity, the number of companies that grow their own talent will increase.
- The workforce will continue to age.
- Millennials, as a percentage of the workforce, will continue to grow.
I also thought about our work with Kraft (Mondelez). We helped Kraft (Mondelez) build their own apprenticeship program. Although it didn’t seem like it at the time, Kraft (Mondelez) was significantly ahead of their time. They’re obviously smart enough to recognize the investment in their people was well worth the cost. Instead of waiting for the growing skills gap, combined with an aging population, to create significant talent issues in their organization, they decided to proactively do something about it.
Sadly, for every proactive company such as Kraft (Mondelez), I can think of hundreds of organizations that are doing nothing. In the end, these companies are going to struggle with skill gap and aging workforce issues. These issues will cost them dearly in terms of high costs, excessive overtime, poor service consistency and inferior product quality. Let’s hope Mrs. Connelly’s message gets to all corporate leaders. It’s time to start looking at these trends, then acting. To start, building your own talent pipeline is going to be a critical capability of American companies. I believe the companies that do this effectively will have a significant competitive advantage!
Remember, organizations with the best teams will win! It’s time to start growing your own talent.
Founded in 1979, EDSI is a national leader in workforce development, customized training and consulting.
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