• Article
  • November 10, 2021

5 Minutes with Ginny Clarke: Building the Workforce of Tomorrow

In the midst of dramatic shifts in the workforce and in children’s hospitals — including the COVID-19 pandemic, renewed interest in diversity, equity and inclusion, and the Great Resignation—leaders are looking to develop the teams of the future.

At the 2021 Annual Leadership Conference, Ginny Clarke, author, business owner and former Google executive, identified how children’s hospitals can become more diverse and supportive of an inclusive environment through their hiring and retention infrastructure and leadership competencies.

What are strategies for finding and retaining the right talent?

You have to align the talent needs and the business needs. If you’re not getting the outcome and talent you want, start over. Identify the business needs and goals. It’s also important to ask; does someone want to work here? Build an ecosystem and infrastructure that supports the trajectory of your employees, in the evaluation processes, learning and development and succession planning. These are all things that identify how a person is doing and how you can support them.

I recently read a Harvard Business Review article that talked about hidden workers. These people are caregivers, veterans, formerly incarcerated or have disabilities, among other things. I suggest looking at algorithms of your applicant tracking system to make sure you’re not bumping people out who could do the work. There are little things like a resume gap of more than six months that would automatically take someone out of the pool. Veterans could have that. Mothers could as well. There are many things that would lead to overlooking hidden workers.

As for retention, it is the great rallying cry right now in light of the Great Resignation. We know what employees are seeking from the places that they are working; employees want to be optimized and challenged. COVID-19 has also called into question where we work. This will become the new normal and this shift will probably take a couple years to settle down.

How does an organization build opportunities for existing employees?

Internal mobility starts with coaching employees to identify their own competencies so they could make conscious choices about what they wanted to do, not just what was open. There are things you can do so people understand it’s a shared effort. Employees put the time and commitment in to know what they want and build it, and the organization needs to demonstrate a commitment to offering opportunities.

However, internal mobility and diversity are at odds. Hiring internally is fine, except that there’s underrepresentation. You’re not getting new individuals from underrepresented backgrounds into the organization.

What is conscious leadership?
Leadership isn’t about your title. Leadership is about influence. Behaviors are what leaders should be held accountable for and conscious leadership is about holding teams accountable not just for outcomes, but how those outcomes are achieved. There are plenty of metrics that let you know that how such as employee engagement surveys.

Another piece of the equation is one of tolerance. If you aren’t holding people accountable for good or bad behavior, you’re tolerating it—which leads to exclusion and toxicity.

What are three important leadership competencies?

Decision making. Most leaders know this is expected but I see a lot of conflict aversion and people pleasers. You can’t possibly make a sound and thoughtful decision if you’re avoiding conflict and trying to make everyone happy. How you make decisions is something to be introspective about. Are you going with gut? There is room for intuition. Are you being analytical? Are you trying to go with consensus?

The second competency is about communication and feedback. Relative to leadership, the good and the bad feedback is a gift. Providing feedback means you care.

Another attribute leaders should have is self-awareness, it sets you up to know others, to have empathy, to explore beyond your lived experiences. Look into yourself as a leader.

Send questions or comments.