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By David Harder on July, 27, 2018

7 Questions Every CEO Needs To Answer About Talent

I wrote The Workplace Engagement Solution with a commitment to define a practical and actionable response to disengagement. It’s a big deal. According to Gallup’s last global survey about 87% of the world’s workers are disengaged. In our country, billions of productivity per day are removed from our economy because so many of us are simply not present with our work.


The symptoms of disengagement are closely aligned with the turmoil rolling through our culture. While unemployment rates are lower than ever, the real scourge within our country is underemployment. In a recent survey 48% of America’s workers characterized themselves as underemployed. More and more people don’t see where they fit in with the future of work. Until we resolve this challenge, we cannot possibly turn around the dismal number associated with engagement. That kind of correction has to be corrected by none other than the CEO or the business owner. Far too many engagement programs fail based on the following chain of events, repeated in organizations every day.


The CEO visits human resources and ask that the “engagement problem” is resolved. By the time the CEO hits the door, he or she is disengaged. The chief human resource officer starts telling the organization, “We are going to fix the engagement issue.” The employees look past that individual’s shoulders to the CEO and witness business as usual. The organization takes an employee survey. The feedback makes managers feel even more inadequate in dealing with the problem. They are sent to a leadership program. They return to work with enthusiasm and the employees respond, “So what.” Sadly, the talent executive is usually held responsible for the failure.


CEOs have a long history of turning culture over to human resources. But CEOs from our most successful organizations, the category leaders, take charge of their cultures and recognize that talent is king in achieving ultimate success. We see this in CEOs like Bill Bechek at Bain, who makes the ongoing development of all employees as their #1organizational priority. We find individuals like Scott Scherr of Ultimate Software, who treats talent as members of the family and does everything he can do to give everyone a sense of life balance on their own terms. These are not metaphysical, float across the room in a Saffron robe to hit the gong pushovers. In fact, they are far more rigorous and honest than many other leaders. During the development of my book, we interviewed Adam Miller, CEO of Cornerstone on Demand. Throughout, we witnessed his thoughtfulness and his active responsibility in the culture of yet another category leader.


CEOs such as Adam Miller ask and get answers to questions like:


  • What kind of employer brand will fulfill our vision? 
  • What are the values, central competencies, and style of our ideal employees? 
  • When people hear our organization’s name, how do we want them to envision our people? 
  • How effective is our workforce with active and continuous learning? How can we build this practice into our culture?
  • What is the current “engagement state” of our managers and how will we improve that? 
  • What are the various forms of bias in my own dealings with talent as well as bias within our hiring managers?
  • How will I orchestrate an engagement solution in my organization? 


My readers know that I advocate employee engagement as synonymous with our commitment and ability to change. We cannot have one without the other. Authentic personal change involves a certain degree of discomfort. But, when we expand the dynamics of personal change to a workforce, only a CEO can establish the kind of accountability necessary to transform the culture.


For years, we have told our participants that instead of debating about the philosophies of Inspired Work, try on our point-of-view for a couple of days and see where it leads. If it doesn’t turn out to be valuable, set them aside.


Answer the questions.


See where they lead.


Brought to you by David Harder, President – Inspired Work, Inc.


Schedule 15-Minutes to Discuss Your Workplace or Career with David (Here)


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