May 16, 2013

Draft and Develop

In 2005, the Green Bay Packers had a quarterback named Brett Favre.  You might remember him.  Three MVP awards, two NFC Championships, one Super Bowl Title.  Future Hall of Famer.  He would play for six more seasons (2005 - 2010).

And yet, Ted Thompson drafted a Quarterback named Aaron Rodgers.  At the time, the decision was kind of a head scratcher.  In retrospect, it was a wise, wise decision.  Via a "draft and develop" philosophy, Mr. Rodgers was groomed to become the starting quarterback.

What does this have to do with talent in e-commerce / retail / cataloging?

You keep telling me you cannot find talent.  Especially at the Manager / Director level.

Well, I've prepared a brief quiz for you.  If the answer to each question is "no", it is time for you to consider a "draft and develop" program for your marketing team.


Question #1:  Are the salaries paid by your company consistently in the top 35% of your industry?

Question #2:  Is your company considered a leader in mobile or social?

Question #3:  If you made an offer to a prospective employee, and Google/Facebook made the same offer to a prospective employee, would the employee choose your brand?

Question #4:  Is your company headquartered in a major metropolitan area that is considered a trendy place to live/work?

Question #5:  When you have a job opening, is the position filled within 2-3 weeks, due to an ample quantity of highly qualified candidates?


If you answered "no" to each question, it is time for a "draft and develop" program.


Key Elements of a "Draft and Develop" Program.

  1. Hire talent right out of college.  Unemployment rates among Jasmine's generation are terribly high, and yet, these graduates have unprecedented tech / mobile / social skills.
  2. Pay 20% or more above industry average, and use this as part of your advertising/recruiting strategy.
  3. Clearly communicate to the prospective employee that they are being trained and developed, and will possess highly marketable skills in twenty-four to thirty-six months.
  4. Develop a "plug and play" process ... new employees go through a rapid training process ... make it so that your "program" can be quickly learned and mastered.
  5. Hire each candidate on a 90 day conditional basis ... promise to pay six month's of salary/benefits, but give yourself the ability to separate from the employee if skills aren't a good match.
  6. Give a significant salary increase at six months, to reward those who make good progress.
  7. After eighteen months, create a "Sr. Analyst" tier, and ask those in the "Sr. Tier" train new employees.
  8. Identify the rare, gifted employee.  Fast track this individual into Management.

I know, this is the opposite of what you are used to doing.  But everything you've been doing for thirty years is leading you astray!

First, organizations have "flattened out" ... you no longer see 1 VP and 3 Directors and 6 Managers and 14 Analysts ... with a clear and achievable career path.  These days, you get 1 VP and 2 Directors and 4 Analysts ... with remaining skills outsourced to vendors.

Why not evolve to 1 VP and 11 Analysts, with the occasional Director/Manager position reserved for the rare, gifted employee?  You'll spend the same amount on salary/benefits, but you'll keep knowledge in-house (as opposed to outsourcing all of the knowledge of your business to vendors).  You'll be able to identify talent and reward it over time.  You'll be able to remove poorly performing employees quickly.  And you'll tap into a big market of tech / social / mobile savvy employees who can help you evolve into future marketing strategies.

Draft and Develop.

If what you're currently doing is not getting the job done, why not consider Draft and Develop?

Discuss.