Raise your hand if you’ve had a talent win this week. This month? This quarter?! If you’re finding it hard to remember one, know you’re not alone. Talent typically takes up 50% of a CIO’s budget and is sometimes viewed as a problem to solve instead of the foundation for every kind of success your business will achieve.
Issues at the fore often include questions around departures of top talent, budget woes, and performance problems. What’s less common are discussions around talent wins: Which new hire successfully knocked out a big chunk of work faster than expected? Which team balanced their workload so the pressure is manageable? Which intern decided to start their career with you because she had a great experience?
Creating a strategy that showcases talent wins can boost morale and productivity. Here are some ideas to get you started on prioritizing talent wins and keeping your most important asset — your people — at the forefront of every leader’s mind.
Winning. Every week.
Start every leadership meeting with a “Talent win of the week” round robin. Take no more than five minutes to bring your people’s successes to your leadership conversations. The leaders who are killing it with their teams will have something to say right off the bat, allowing those who aren’t there yet to find inspiration and start looking for their own wins.
Clarify what winning means to you
Every organization will define talent wins on their own terms, but there are universal areas that benefit nearly everyone: Cross-training opportunities found? Check. Prioritizing the workload of a too-busy expert? Hell, ya. Did one of your employees refer and hire a smart friend, speaking to their immense job satisfaction? Yes, please. Whatever your metrics, define them and communicate them to your leaders. Catch your leaders doing something right and bring your own stories of their successes to the conversation. Setting expectations and celebrating regularly will create an environment where wins become a dominant part of the culture.
Transfer knowledge from the wins
Successful leaders who routinely bring wins to the table can be tapped to coach the rest of the team. Big ideas can be shared through “lunch and learn” sessions, and for some that would be a welcome stretch assignment. Often, though, the quick win could be followed with “three best practices” taking five minutes in next week’s meeting. This is a way for you to provide focus on the wins you’d like to see built into your culture and leadership practices going forward.
Of course, not every talent call-out is a win. It’s useful to allow for an equal amount of time for your folks to ask for help. That doesn’t necessarily mean a deep dive into the issue, but providing an opportunity for leaders to raise a hand in your regular meetings, label their concerns, and make a plan to solve the issue offline.
Discussing talent satisfaction and positive performance is often neglected because, let’s face it, solving problems is what IT professionals do best. But spending your talent time focusing solely on why someone quit or called HR with an issue detracts from opportunities to grow the leaders you need. Acknowledging the positives may seem obvious, but it can be unintentionally ignored. If you make talent wins a key part of your culture, everybody really will win—and win more often.