Now more than ever local governments need our most talented employees to help us maintain productivity and organizational performance in the face of continuing and even increasing demands.
A Center for State and Local Government Excellence survey found that recruiting and retaining qualified personnel was the top priority for 91 percent of its respondents. The study ultimately reported that governments are sharpening their talent-development tools, and it's paying off.
In a recent Governing article written by Elizabeth Kellar, Senior Fellow with the Center for State and Local Government Excellence and director of public policy for ICMA, she notes that Hennepin County, Minn., and Sunnyvale, Calif., for example, are willing to hire beyond immediate needs for certain positions, such as those that are hard to fill or where bench strength is needed to develop a pool of talent for upcoming vacancies and retirements. Robust employee-development programs complement these efforts and are a key part of their strategy to be an employer of choice.
Below, find out how to create a purposeful talent and leadership development strategy to be successful in maintaining productivity and organizational performance. It might seem like a lot of work, but the result from this framework is organizational success and engaged talent.
1. Identify key talent.
The executive team must identify specific high-potential employees who have the skills and aptitudes required to advance over time. The talent belongs to the whole organization, not to a particular department.
2. Assess readiness.
The executive team as a whole provides its perspectives on the readiness of emerging leaders to advance or take on new roles. For example, emerging leaders are evaluated as ready now, in 1 to 3 years, or in 3 to 5 years. All department heads also identify development areas for each of the high potentials.
3. Offer an array of development opportunities.
Organizations must offer, by themselves or with other local governments or educational partners, an array of special assignments, interim management, project leadership, training workshops, certificate programs, and professional development opportunities.
4. Create development plans.
Based on the development needs of the specific high-potential employees, managers create development plans with the individual employees, focusing on their targeted areas of development, such as people or leadership skills, community engagement skills, budgeting, or public speaking skills. The plans include specific development assignments, measurable objectives, and timelines.
5. Measure progress.
The executive team meets three to four times per year to further identify high- potential employees, assess readiness, and measure progress toward their development goals.
For more on talent development, download the ICMA IQ Report: Creating a Multidimensional Talent Strategy to Avert Brain Drain and Other Future Disasters.