— 11 min read

„When organizations take the time to recruit, assess, and hire talented individuals, with the potential to grow, they're making an investment in their futures.

Instead of looking for candidates who fit a particular position's needs now, organizations should look for individuals with the necessary skills and motivation to succeed, and grow deep talent pools that can be tapped into whenever a new positions comes up."

This is what Andre Lavoie, CEO of ClearCompany, told me when we started discussing talent management, talent alignment and leadership.Andre Lavoie

ClearCompany is the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees' work around a company's vision and goals.

We did an very interesting interview about what leaders can do to get maximum out of their teams. The key here is talent alignment and -management, a topic Andre is the most passionate about.

Want to know more, read the full interview.

This is something is ask almost everyone in a leadership position: how to become a great leader? What sort of skill set should you develop?

My focus has always been on being open and honest with the people I lead, and communicating with them both as a leader and as a colleague.

When you're open and honest about the direction of the organization and the goals you want to see achieved, you empower those you lead to find their own ways to achieve those goals.

The organization may have one way to do something, the clearer you make your goals and the more open you are about what you want to achieve, the more your employees will buy into the bigger picture of their roles.

Instead of mindlessly coming into work everyday, employees will feel encouraged to think of ways to impact your goals and drive the organization forward. When they do, it's key to recognize those achievements and connect with those you lead on a more personal level.

In the long run, communication is one of the greatest skills you can have as a leader. Because it comes into play in so many different iterations on a daily basis, leaders need to understand how to communicate with their employees, when, and on what level (personal or professional).

In your experience, what sort of mistakes are common among entrepreneurs? How to avoid them?

There are two big mistakes many new entrepreneurs make. First, they think "I can do this all by myself." Second, they don't set clear, attainable goals.

As a new entrepreneur, it can be tempting to try to keep costs low and work through everything on your own. However, this can actually hurt business going forward. When new entrepreneurs try to learn things like HR, payroll, accounting, etc. as they go, they're actually taking time away from developing their idea and, as a result, slowing down their business growth.

The solution? Find the right people to work with. Consider using a talent management platform to source, screen, assess, and hire talented employees that have the skills and insight to help your business grow.

The second mistake, not setting clear, attainable goals, can keep entrepreneurs in the slow lane to growth.

New entrepreneurs need to focus on setting short term goals that everyone on the team can work toward. Think "number of sales per month" or "number of business leads contacted," to get your team from the starting line to the finish line.

What is the main role for an entrepreneur in a workplace and how has it changed in the last years?

Today's entrepreneur needs to focus on creating and communicating an attainable, strategic vision to every member of the team.

In the startup world — no matter what the industry — life is fast-paced and stressful. It's the entrepreneur's job to show employees why they chose the right company and keep them engaged by helping them connect their role to the overall growth of the business.

What is talent alignment? Why does it matter?

In its most basic form, talent alignment is about finding talent with the potential for growth, and nurturing that potential. It encapsulates why hiring from inside the organization and via referrals is almost always a more attractive option than seeking "new blood" at every opportunity.

Instead of looking for candidates who fit a particular position's needs now, organizations that look for individuals with the necessary skills and the motivation to succeed, and grow deep talent pools that can be tapped into whenever a new positions comes up.

What are the first steps to improve your organizational alignment?

Step one is always to determine your business goals, so you can align your talent accordingly. Once you've done that, you need to determine what competencies you value at an organizational and position-specific level.

These first two steps will help you better align your talent strategy with your business strategy and give you insight into where you'll need further development.

For example, by analyzing what organizational competencies are key to the success of your business, you're gaining insight into which employees are well suited for leadership, which managers are successful, and where your organizational weaknesses lie — key determinants in effective succession planning.

Working with HR in ClearCompany, what's your opinion of the current workforce and how the group called "job seekers" has changed with millennials and younger people entering the workforce?

Many organizations have struggled with hiring Millennials because of their need to be instructed. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, require far less day-to-day interaction because they would typically rather figure out how to do things on their own and ask for help only when necessary.

However, Once Millennials are taught what to do and they understand the "why" behind it, Millennials are very resourceful.

Because they're so good with technology, they often find faster, more efficient ways to do things and are more than happy to share their solutions to make the organization better. However, the time spent "handholding," as some managers may think of it, could potentially slow down productivity and hurt the bottom line.

In the end, though, their technological expertise and willingness to prove their worth make them great additions to any team.

Based on your experience as a CEO, have most companies managed to adapt to the 21st century business climate that is dominated by technology, the Internet and millennials?

In many ways, businesses today have embraced the new interconnected business climate we live in. While some organizations and industries still lag behind, most have at least acknowledged the importance of technology and integrating the Millennial generation — those who use this new tech best — into the workforce.

Take big data as an example. While a majority of organizations have acknowledged that big data is useful in areas like hiring and HR, only a small percentage have fully implemented the use of that data in their recruitment and hiring strategies.

What do you think the main challenges will be for running a company in 2020?

Technology overload and the costs associated with it. It's become so easy to develop niche technology solutions for just about any business process, that businesses run the risk of purchasing and implementing too many different platforms.

The larger a company gets, the harder it is to manage a large number of different systems with all the user and administrator privileges that come with them. Not to mention, the training and upkeep. So, as tech continues to evolve, it will be important to find systems that integrate multiple functions and have global functionality, in order to succeed.

If you want to know more, you can connect with Andre and the ClearCompany team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.