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Jan 30, 201811:56 AMMaking Madison

with Buckley Brinkman

Can we really transform Wisconsin?

(page 2 of 2)

Supplement these advantages by creating a new talent pipeline that engages nontraditional workers. It’s amazing to me how locked in companies are on recruiting efforts with diminishing returns. They continue to refine and intensify historical talent approaches. It’s like trying to get more juice from a dry orange by squeezing harder. It baffles me why these organizations return to the same sources time and time again when they know where large pools of nontraditional employees exist. These companies seem to operate with a paradigm that says it’s not their job to invest in these workers. This makes no sense when there’s a possibility to develop a reliable new talent pipeline.

Here are two quick recent examples of approaches to this talent pool. Employ Milwaukee taps into the population of recently released prisoners. They use the Department of Corrections’ assessments to target people with the best potential. Once identified, Employ Milwaukee provides the training and connections to build new careers. They provide a steady talent source for companies willing to invest in and catalyze these new efforts.

I also ran into an example that demonstrates ongoing lock-in. That company uses a traditional recruiting approach and wound up with a core group of immigrant employees speaking limited English. All of them are reliable, effective employees for a solid company. The company knows they can create a new talent pipeline by tapping into this community, but language is an issue. Company leaders encountered some equal treatment issues when they invested in language classes for these employees. Rather than finding a solution and pushing through this obstacle, they are choking off this talent source by reinforcing a locked-in approach.

The future we face demands creative workforce approaches. Our ecosystem is going through transformational change and our organizations must transform as well. Lock in to traditional approaches prevents us from growing in the face of pervasive talent challenges. We have an opportunity to transform our state for future generations. That requires all of us to open our minds, release old paradigms, and engage in new efforts to make the most of what we’ve been given.

Are you up to the challenge?

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About This Blog

Buckley Brinkman is executive director and CEO of the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity and writes about the manufacturing sector in Greater Madison and throughout Wisconsin. He has a breadth of experience in helping companies drive growth, world-class competitiveness, and performance excellence, and has led efforts to save dozens of operations in the U.S. by finding new ways for them to compete. A Wisconsin native, Brinkman holds a business degree from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

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