Talent is a Scarce Resource


I don’t have to tell you that talent is a scarce resource. The search for the best and the brightest who are focused on delivering remarkable customer experiences is constant and never ending.

I am excited to share that our February Series is focused on Talent. My goal is to provide some insights about building a pool of talent inside your store or district.

My personal success in running great stores and districts has come from my ability to identify and develop talent. Do you have a never ending pool of motivated and trained associates in the pipeline? I can tell you it is vital to your success. But perhaps you are asking yourself, where do I get this never ending pool of talent? That information is coming in this month’s blogs!

Your Team

Evaluating your own team requires the use of art and science to ensure we have a balanced viewpoint. As humans, we have a tendency to use emotion when evaluating the strength of our team. Have you ever said this: “I really like her, I know she isn’t a super great floor supervisor but she is so sweet”. We can view our teams through an emotional lens when the facts might tell a different story.

By using the bell curve to evaluate your team, you can stop the emotional spin that might be holding you and your team back.

Acquiring Top Talent

Acquiring, developing and retaining TOP Talent is how you will WIN, regardless of the type of store you run. Even in a high performing environment, there will be top, middle and bottom performers.   I like to use the bell curve to visually demonstrate this.

Using the Bell Curve

The bell curve is a graphical depiction of a normal distribution, and in this case, of your talent. The extremes sit at the front and back where the curve tapers. The middle portion is where the majority of the team resides.

Bottom Performers – Average Performers – Top Performers

Start with Top Performers

Top Performers usually make up ~10% of the team. These are associates who are consistent in their performance (aka role models).
– Who are the top players on your team? List by name.
– What do you need to do to keep them engaged or get them promoted?
– How can you leverage theses top performers to develop your average performers?
– What is your suggested timeline for promotability to the next level? 0-6 months; 6-12 months; 12-18 months.

Move to Average Performers

Average Performers usually make up ~70-80% of the team.
These associates could be:
1. New and still learning
2. Inconsistent performers
3. Would benefit from additional training in a specific area

Some of these associates might be your “steady eddies”. They are reliable, responsible, and bring continuity to your team. They may never become your top performers but you rely on them. Don’t underestimate the importance of these team members. If you value them, it is important to figure out how to keep them engaged and retain them.
– Who are the middle players on your team?
– What do you need to do to move them up and keep them engaged?
– Are there any who just aren’t the right fit for the role or brand?
Evaluate this group through the lens of the value they bring to your store and if the answer is none, time to move them to the bottom performer category.

Bottom Performers

Your Bottom Performers usually make up ~10% of the team. These are associates who lack the will and or skill to do the work. If you have worked with these associates and there is no improvement, transition them out with the support of your supervisor. This assessment requires courage and honesty. In the long run, making the difficult decisions will move you further faster.
– Who are your bottom performers? List by name.
– Have you worked with them on performance improvement?
– What decisions do you need to make?

Time to Jump In

Evaluating your team using the bell curve puts a bit of science into the art of leading people. You may find you have more than 10% at the top or less than 80% in the middle. Don’t get caught up in the exact percents. The most important outcome of this task is to objectively assess your team and create a plan to continue to hire, develop and retain top talent so that you deliver an experience that you want to be famous for.

I am rooting for you,

P.s. Our next post is about creating a leadership pipeline, that never ending pool of talent I mentioned earlier in the post!

P.s.s. if this was a helpful post, please click “like” below and share it with a friend.

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