“We have bigger things to do right now than focus on value.”
This is what I have been hearing in many of the conversations I’ve been having with private equity owners and operators in the last while. We live in strange times indeed when value (traditionally expressed as market cap), an all-encompassing indicator of success, takes a back seat.
The way I look at it, onboarding programs should be taken more seriously in the world of talent management. Done well, onboarding can help people in roles critical to a company’s value agenda get traction in their jobs much sooner, accelerate results, and reduce time to value. Onboarding, therefore, has to be more than just a matter of lining up a series of personal introductions. It should be a matter of precisely introducing a person to what is “new” to them—the specifics of their work, the challenges of the business, the anticipated risks they will face, as well as their key working relationships—in a way that will have a significant positive impact on both their performance and their results.
Like most CHROs, I have spent all of my career operating within the universe of talent management. The established, widely accepted practices and processes of talent management, many of which are highly consensual, have stood me in good stead. In fact, I and my C-suite partners have only ever had one serious concern when we look at our well-equipped HR departments: how we manage talent isn’t always linked tightly with what is relevant to the company’s performance.
It is up to you as CEO to calm the chaos and focus your organization’s people and resources on values-based value creation.
Considering the number and scope of the decisions you have to make these days, it’s probably not even humanly possible to look at everything being brought to you. The reality is that the important, urgent issues being thrown at you are not going to stop. The emotions being stirred up are not going to subside quickly. Spreading yourself thin to cover everything won’t get you or your company far in this day and age. What you need is leverage.
C-suite leaders have been inundated by the practical problems they are facing in the wake of COVID-19. Many have had to completely rethink what matters to their business and adjust their operations accordingly. In the initial turmoil of the pandemic, many people became more amenable to change. Now some individuals are insisting, “Everything will be different.” Such desire for sweeping change, while it may be based in good intentions, noble aspirations and opportunistic thinking, is not always realistic.
This is the first article in a series by Hein Knaapen, the former CHRO of ING Bank, and CEO.works’ new managing partner in Europe.
Driving Company Performance By Connecting Talent to Value™
As an executive advisor, chairman and board member, I help CEOs, CHROs and CFOs focus on what drives performance and delivers value. And in this day and age, I tell them that if they aren’t paying attention to where value is shifting in society, they will be putting the future of their companies at risk.
We build and grow our companies because we wish them to perform better for our stakeholders. That performance is measured by what we deliver to stakeholders that they value. That, in turn, gets expressed as the value of the company. The best companies have a strong, almost raw ambition to create much more value than they currently do. When a CEO and their senior leadership team couple this ambition with a desire to survive the current crisis and have things be much better than they are, then rapidly and effectively connecting talent to value becomes a leadership imperative.