Tony Compton, Managing Partner
I’m blending two topics into this post because they go together. The first topic is the practice of overlooking talented people, and the second topic is creating exceptional employment experiences. My premise is that outstanding leaders have a gift for recognizing and encouraging talent when others do not. Moreover, extraordinary organizations establish company cultures which provide employment experiences
that tower above the competition. As a marketer, I viewed this material through a departmental lens.
Talent Resides Everywhere, But…
You’ve seen talent wasted. Employees who don’t fit in with the office clique are given the cold shoulder and written-off, while some individuals aren’t considered for new opportunities or advancement because of managerial ineptitude or shallow reasoning. It’s easy to discount talented people simply because of personality differences, educational backgrounds, career transitions, or any one of a number of lazy or biased reasons.
You’ve seen talent lost. Some companies have immediate business challenges, but take forever to employ talented people. Millennials seek meaningful career experiences,
but some companies will never offer a culture that adapts to the expectations of the younger generations. And internal staff can have knowledgeable views on solving enterprise-wide issues, but incompetent executives will never listen. In an improving job market, few will wait for a company to act or improve. Talent will be lost.
Are You Able to Recognize Talent?
You’ve heard of sports teams finding all-stars who didn’t fit in with previous organizations. Still, those players became winners within the culture of an outstanding system. The same can be applied to the corporate world off the field. Certain “players” came to mind when I imagined identifying talent for a high-performing marketing team. Others may have shunned or overlooked these players, but they’re all talented. Their versatility allows them to play a number of positions, and each holds the potential to contribute within an outstanding system.
That 70’s Guy (or Woman)
Some don’t want to hear about life before smartphones, laptops, and the Internet,
but I’ve never had a pen and notepad crash. To those looking down their noses,
into their smartphones, and at those 1970’s men and women, you’re missing out on experienced, human conversations and valuable corporate contributions.
Marketing is not the exclusive home of those who only know SEO, SEM, and PPC. Digital skill sets should reside in a marketing support structure, but the technical aspect of the department is not the only priority. Give me a non-techie who is a great conversationalist, storyteller, and producer. We’ll figure out how to get content online and in social media channels in no time.
The Table for One
This person is The Expert. He may not follow sports. She’s not in the clique. They’re headphone-wearing, wired-in introverts who know everything about technology,
but sit alone in the kitchen. (If you saw The Internship, you’ll remember this person from that movie.) The “in” crowd doesn’t pay attention to this person, and most don’t extend a hand in friendship. Working relationships between The Tech Experts and
The Non-Techies are powerful. Make ‘em happen.
The Remote Employee
You may have remote employees who feel disconnected because they’re not based out of HQ, or sit in traffic for hours commuting. They may be unable to attend off-hour work functions because of distance or a home life. Give me a laptop, phone, Wi-Fi, and close proximity to an airport, and I’m good. Trust remote workers to produce, and communicate effectively as a virtual team. They’ll appreciate the work/life balance.
The Career Transitioner, or Job Hopper
A seasoned employee is transitioning into a new industry, a millennial may be seeking an opportunity with greater personal fulfillment, or somebody has held several short-term positions. Value resides in each. Blanket negative assumptions about these individuals are misguided, and many companies are prone to displaying modern-day hypocrisy. Job security is a distant memory, and unless you’re offering guaranteed contracts in Xanadu, engage and seek to understand those in the midst of career transitions.
The College Dropout
My profile includes two degrees, but that doesn’t make me any better (or worse) a person than the next guy. Success stories are filled with people from all walks of life who don’t possess a college diploma. Don’t judge, and don’t automatically rule these individuals as unqualified. You’ll miss out on a tremendous segment of the population.
This person can accomplish 1,002 tasks, and is the “glue” that holds things together on the job. When given a challenge, the Gluer gets the job done. Strangely, some find this talent confusing because no one job title accurately describes what the Gluer does.
In basketball terminology, there’s a reason why the “6th Man” (or Woman) is a valuable asset. All teams need a Gluer.
The Military Veteran
I’m aware of the challenges veterans face when they exit military duty, reenter civilian life, and seek employment. For many, it’s not easy. Anybody who has been in the service of the United States Armed Forces, or its Allies, deserves respect for their accomplishments, and recognition for the experience and talent they possess.
Vets always have a place on my team.
The Person Different from Your Mirrored Reflection.
US Employment Law states that no employer can discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability. There are also provisions for political affiliations, sexual orientation, and marital status, among other considerations. The point here is not to debate written law, but to widen the scope of consideration. In every segment of society, you’ll find talented people who are passionate, experienced, and dedicated contributors.
The Employment Experience Millennials Seek
Writing this post began with the memory of a career question asked by a former boss.
I was asked what I really wanted to do in life. It was a great question.
The message was that no matter what I wanted to do, it could happen within the context of my current occupation and at my current employer. It felt as if my career goals were being respected, and my talents were being appreciated. Suddenly my work had greater significance to me, and to the company.
Millennials will appreciate that sentiment, but you don’t have to be one to understand the depth of its meaning.
And you should never settle for anything less.
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