7 Themes on Talent & Work Culture - "State of the Nation"

I have had the enormous privilege of leading several companies over my career, which inevitably means I have had to hire scores of people and figure out how to get Teams to work most effectively together to drive creative work and business results. I have witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly in work cultures, and I have learned the hard way, through experience, on how challenging the “People” part of business can be. I have marvelled at those companies who have created incredible work cultures, and I have had the pleasure of working in several great places myself (Hello Citytv/CHUM!). Over the years, I have become increasingly obsessed in understanding the art and science of how exceptional companies become exceptional - and the role that Leaders & People play in creating a work culture that fosters excellence.

Today, I work at the intersection of People & Purpose, helping Leaders, and in turn, their companies, address opportunities to use Talent as a core competitive strategy to achieve growth and success. While every client’s circumstances differ, I have observed some common themes that most organizations desire to address:

  1. For most CEO’s, talent strategy is one of their key priorities - including how to find and retain talent, how to create great work culture, and how to align their Talent strategy with their Business strategy. In almost every case, it is recognized that greater focus and resources needs to be placed on the PEOPLE part of what a company is or does.

  2. That the majority of staff are unengaged or actively disengaged and that on average, only 35% of employees are working productively, enthusiastically and aligned with the goals of the company.

  3. That without the right expertise, the process to hire Leaders can fall short, with a 40% likelihood that a new hire will either leave within 24 months, or poorly manage their teams, harming innovation, productivity and culture.

  4. That too little effort is placed on on-boarding new hires, despite evidence that such programs dramatically improve the effectiveness and engagement levels of staff.

  5. That too little focus and investment is placed on development and learning for new Leaders - especially opportunities for mentorship and executive coaching that can dramatically fuel a leader’s contribution to a business.

  6. That corporate “Purpose” - the strategy to drive profit and growth by linking an organization’s reason for being (beyond making money) tor improving lives and impacting society - is one of the most powerful tools to drive work cultures, attract great talent, and deliver exceptional results. Yet too few companies fuel their corporate cultures by deploying Purpose meaningfully, such that it powerfully connects to employees.

  7. That the holy grail is to create a workplace that enables every employee to bring the best version of themselves to work; that supports, develops and inspires people, who in turn become passionate ambassadors for all that their company stands for.

All of these challenges also represent enormous opportunities for companies to rethink how to optimize their Talent to drive growth and success. We are excited to work with clients looking for new ways of thinking about how to harness, nurture and cultivate Talent, to create a sustainable competitive advantage.

Mark Rubinstein