How to develop high-potential talent in manufacturing
COVID-19 put more focus on talent issues, and, like many industries, manufacturing has seen a shortage of people for roles across the spectrum. As a result of this, expectations have changed on both sides.
In addition, people and leadership are one of the areas where we’re still lacking here in Australia. The right talent is critical to success and, therefore, it’s extremely important that we focus on this aspect of business.
But how do we engage people? How do we develop them? And how do we get the most out of them? In my latest Manufacturing Mastery podcast, I spoke with Stephen Elliot, Head of NSW Rod and Bar Manufacturing at InfraBuild, for his insights.
The right people for the right role
Companies are often made up of mini-cultures. Each is at a different stage of its evolutionary journey, with its own unique problems and needs. Because of this, each demands a different leader with a different leadership style.
While we can have a cookie-cutter view of what makes a perfect leader and put them into a role, they may be a good leader, but they might not be right for that role. It’s, therefore, a bit of a ‘horses for courses’ situation.
When selecting and developing people, you need to think a bit like a football manager, says Stephen: you have to pick the right player for the right position and situation.
Develop according to career goals
It’s important to have an open conversation with talent about their career goals.
Not everyone wants to climb that ladder straight to CEO.
Once you know what their goals are, you need to think about how you can assist in developing them to achieve their goals alongside what suits your company. For example, what gaps do you need filling, and where would this person best fit?
A great way to develop people is through coaching and mentoring. It’s a highly effective way to skill share. In fact, you’ll find older employees are often more than happy to take on this role to pass on their knowledge and legacy.
Translating potential into results
These days talent is often promoted faster than they’re ready for. Largely this is expectation led. They want to climb, and if it doesn’t happen, they may leave.
However, while they have become competent in their existing roles, what results have they actually achieved? This is crucial. To take that next step, you need to achieve results for a company.
Developing this means saying ‘no’ to that promotion and giving them more time in their current role to progress and perform. If a person is really floundering, you’re better off finding a different role in the business that suits their skills better.
Importantly, these decisions often need to be made fast to keep pace. You can’t be hesitant. In the end, you may find people will thank you as they weren’t actually enjoying their work.
To listen to the full conversation with myself and Stephen, as well as other episodes, head to the Manufacturing Mastery podcast section of my website.