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Julie Ann Sullivan
Creating successful workplace cultures
Creating successful workplace cultures


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Want an organization where people want to be there?

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I interviewed 8 friends who are participating in the Women's March in D.C. See why they are going.

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Secrets of Success from Talent Managers

Talent managers come under a lot of different names these days. Talent Manager, Director of Talent Management or Chief People Officer. John Hopkins University defines Talent Management as follows:
“Talent Management is a set of integrated organizational HR processes designed to attract, develop, motivate, and retain productive, engaged employees. The goal of talent management is to create a high-performance, sustainable organization that meets its strategic and operational goals and objectives.”
I spoke with companies ranging from start-ups to 100+ years in business and from 500 to more than 100,000 employees. Whether your company has a designated talent manager or not, the following findings are great insights to new ideas for the development of more success within your organization.

I interviewed Talent Managers and Directors to see what they saw as their role and the benefits they brought their employees and their companies. I learned that the same title takes on a lot of different perspectives, some broader than others. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences which did not necessarily seem to fit with their size or years in business. For instance, one mid-size company’s Talent Director was not afforded the ability to use LinkedIn Premium, but was in charge of recruitment. That and the fact that manager’s input/approval was slow, meant that the best candidates were many times already at another position by the time the company got back to them. This created a hiring process that was inefficient and ineffectual.

The best definition I heard was, “Enhancing the talent within the organization, so business can meet their goals and objectives.” The most successful talent programs had an element to tie what they did with individuals to what the goals were of the company. Each of their definitions encompassed the processes of recruitment, on-boarding, retention and succession. Although some were only working on portions of those processes, to be effective, they are all equally important.

Here are some valuable ideas:

To recruit the best talent here are three musts:
• Clearly define what you are looking for
• Look beyond skills; find a good fit for your company’s mission, vision and culture
• Complete the process in a timely manner
And, as Steven Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.” Hire for succession

The on-boarding process is more effective with the following:
• Mentoring programs from day one
• Communication of best practices with staff to enhance internal programs used. This makes it easier for new staff to actually use what they learn
• Create clear opportunities to ask questions without fear of reprisal

Retention is in the forefront of talent management research and blogs these days. Here are a few ideas to keep the best talent you have:
• Build in accountability by having goals set with employees
• Establish continuous talent review of high potential employees and provide them with the leadership skills necessary for advancement
• Incorporate management engagement in the culture of the organization
I want to add one more. If you communicate the benefit of any training, like you would inform your customers and clients the benefits of what you do, you will get greater engagement and retention for the time and money you spend.

Succession planning is what set the companies I interviewed apart. It has been my experience that planning for future management is either missing or shortsighted from many HR/Talent Management departments. However, without it, continuity of company goals is severely affected. From other interviews I have done, one of the most annoying situations for employees is when a new member of management comes in that has not experienced the history of the company they work for. Trust and collaboration are just two of the areas that suffer in these circumstances. Here are a few ideas that you can implement and/or enhance into your HR strategies:
• Identify succession planning throughout the entire organization, not just the C-Suite.
• Clearly articulate company opportunities for advancement
• Engage employees to communicate their long term goals.
Remember, some people don’t want to be a part of management. (HBR: What if you don’t want to be a manager?) Everyone should be aware if that is acceptable in your organization. In some industries, you move up or out.

The company that had talent management in place for the longest amount of time expressed what I believe is a core belief for any consistency of growth and success:
“There is lots of cultural work to be done.” It is this understanding, that the importance of workplace culture is an ongoing process that creates greater engagement and retention.

Thank you to all who took the time to share their experiences with me.

To contact Julie Ann Sullivan 724-942-0486 or

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You cannot go wrong by hiring Pegine

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It’s all in Perspective.
The optimist sees the glass half full. The pessimist sees the glass half empty. The engineer sees a receptacle that’s too large for the amount of liquid present.
Each of you has a different perspective due to where and when you were born, how large a family you had, how often you moved around, if you had a dog, if you traveled and a multitude of other events that create who you are today. Each moment in your life imprints on how you act in and react to daily life occurrences. These events also color your perspective of the world and all of its circumstances. Why is this important in business?
When you respect the different perspectives of others, you will learn to work more as a community instead of rival gangs. Here are three distinct types of personalities that you might experience when it comes to perspective:
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A colleague asked me about a good book to read about culture and that got me thinking.
There are two ways to answer that.
One would be books to learn about what successful corporate culture looks like, and two would be books to assist in changing corporate culture.  
To focus on number one, I suggest the following books:
Tony Hseih – Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose  
In this book, Tony Hseih shares how he took his life lessons and turned them into business strategies for success.  His philosophy is rooted in hiring the right individuals and premier customer service.  
I find that the secret to great customer service is twofold.  The people who deliver your customer service, your employees, want to know their efforts are appreciated.  Most importantly, employees need to understand the purpose of the work they do.  The “big picture.”  
Tony Hseih is the CEO of Zappos and a creative partner and user of the Happiness at Work Survey.  You can take your free trial of the Happiness at Work Survey here:

Kip Tindell - Uncontainable: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Built a Business Where Everyone Thrives
Here is part of Tindell’s business philosophy: "Treating your employees with affection and respect is not only the right thing to do, it also happens to be the fastest road to success. In fact, it's much more successful than any other business methodology." 
This philosophy aligns with my belief that at a bare minimum people want to be acknowledged and know they have value.  Reading that may seem very basic, but creating that kind of environment in the very fabric of a workplace takes desire, persistence and continuous conscious choice.  
Always read with an open mind and with the ability to see what a good fit is for you at this particular moment in time.  That is an art in itself and can be a great exercise in self-awareness.  
Let me know what your favorites are.
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