When employers involve frontline managers in the talent management process, it often results in improved market performance, says Jay Jamrog, senior vice president of research of Institute for Corporate Productivity.
Based on recent research by i4cp, top market performance is defined by those companies in the top quartile of revenue growth, market share, profitability and customer satisfaction, and 42 percent of high-performing employers have their frontline managers highly involved in leadership development while only 14 percent of low-performing employers do the same. High-performing companies are also twice as likely to bring in frontline managers for career and employee development as well as high-potential employee development.
Despite the correlation between talent management and market performance, few employers have their frontline managers involved in the process, Jamrog says. Often, frontline managers do not have the skills to manage human capital, which is why many employers fail to involve frontline managers in the talent management process. While frontline managers are responsible for managing employees on a daily basis, many are not receiving the proper training. Rather than taking on those skills, frontline managers are pushing talent management to the human resources department.
“If you’re responsible for product development, you’re held accountable for product development, and you don’t delegate that to marketing,” Jamrog says. “That’s the same thing with frontline managers – they should be held accountable for managing human capital, and they shouldn’t delegate that to HR. Instead, they should ask HR for help and support.”
Participating in the development of high-potential employees by frontline management is an especially key component to market performance, Jamrog says. High-potential employees are generally identified during performance reviews, and once they are designated as such, frontline managers should get these employees in leadership-development programs to prepare them as critical talent for the future.
“The one thing that we are hearing is all talent is not created equal,” Jamrog says. “If I’m a frontline manager, I need to focus on my high-potential employees. It’s really becoming that coach, teacher and mentor for the people the organization needs to bring along to increase the value of the company.”
Employers should also take a look at high-performing employees, which is not necessarily the same as high-potential employees, Jamrog says. After identifying high-performing employees, frontline managers should then evaluate why those employees produce more effectively than others in the organization. By understanding high-performing employees’ backgrounds, frontline managers can develop a better idea of how to replicate that talent.
“It’s just like doing consumer research that tells us about our consumers and what makes them buy or act differently,” Jamrog says. “It’s the same process you get into with a critical talent segment. You need to find out what makes them tick, and you need to treat them as consumers of work.”