Talent Sustainability? What does that have to do with Sustainability?

As we discovered at our inaugural Milwaukee Sustainability Roundtable meeting in March 2014 – a whole lot!

Talent sustainability is new concept to most in the sustainability realm, especially to those who have only looked at sustainability from the environmental, health, and safety lens.  At the Milwaukee Sustainability Roundtable we endeavor to engage the greater possibilities and scope of sustainability.  Through our collaborative dialogue with experts in the field and with member company sustainability leaders, we explore sustainability with both  tactical (nuts and bolts how to) and strategic (big picture, where does this all fit) lens.  For us, sustainability goes beyond environmental sustainability; it is about smart business: from supply chain to talent sustainability;  getting to zero waste to building efficiency; and from business strategy to growth opportunity.

Talent sustainability may be as important as supply chain sustainability.  Talent is perhaps the most valuable and risk related resource in your company.  Talent sustainability plays a role throughout a successful, sustainable, and smart business: from being able to source the new talent and meet the new demands of the ever changing workplace; to training the existing talent workforce to remain viable and secure the investment we have made in this human resource; to proper succession planning for uninterrupted leadership transition.  Talent Sustainability is at its core about risk reduction and smart business.

Is your Human Resources leader engaged in your company’s sustainability discussions? They should be.

What else did we learn at our inaugural session?

Our first roundtable gathering was appropriately hosted by our first member company, ManpowerGroup.  ManpowerGroup is the world’s leading recruitment and assessment, training and development, career management, outsourcing, and workforce consulting organization. They live and breathe the cycles and trends in the labor and talent marketplace.  They have a pulse on the people side of sustainability.

We were delightfully surprised by a visit from Jeffrey Joerres who stopped by for 5 minutes but stayed for nearly an hour. Mr. Joerres has been ManpowerGroup’s CEO and Chairman since 2001 and only the 3rd to hold the position since the company’s founding in 1948.  He shared with us his strategic decision-making-process with respect to his recently announced decision to step down as CEO, a job he loves, at age 54 instead of the typical 65. (See Milwaukee Business Journal’s discussion with Jeff for the strategic nature of their succession planning ). The process and manner in which it is being orchestrated is strategic, smart, and sustainable, and exemplifies the top end of talent sustainability.  Jeff’s passion for people, talent sustainability, and smart business practice is palpable. He stole the show in the best way possible.

Complementing our discussion with the Mr. Joerres was our opening roundtable conversation with Chris Jarvis of Realized Worth.  Chris’ engaged us in conversation around the concept of Transformative Value.  Transformative Value combines Jed Emerson’s “Blended Value” (a focus on investment strategies and the basis of the Triple-Bottom-Line concept) with Michael Porter and Mark Kramer’s “Shared Value” (a focus on creating business value through addressing social issues that intersect with the company’s business priorities. HBR 2011).

Through this combination, Transformative Value looks at the driver of successful sustainability/CSR efforts – PEOPLE and what motivates them.  The ultimate goal should be to move beyond reliance on systems and external constructs such as Shared Value and instead start making good, smart decisions on an individual level. Internalizing of external cultural values is the ultimate progression of People, Profit and Planet.

The next Milwaukee Sustainability Roundtable conversation will be on the concepts of Waste, Zero Waste, and By-Product Synergy with the conversation starter being Andrew Mangan, executive director of the US Business Council for Sustainable Development and the By-Product Synergy Hub.

To learn more about becoming a member of the Milwaukee Sustainability Roundtable contact the executive director, Matthew Rochte at matthew at milwaukeesustainabilityroundtable.com 414-939-3594

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