Employee Development: Brendan Farrell, Director of Operations for Shlemmer, Algaze and Associates and John Heyliger, HR Talent Acquisition Director for Lockheed Martin

Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 – TalentTalk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  TalentTalk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues like employee development, retention and succession planning. Today’s guests are Brendan Farrell, Director of Operations for Shlemmer, Algaze and Associates; and John Heyliger, HR Talent Acquisition Director for Lockheed Martin.  To hear the entire show, click here.

They both bring to life the two coins to the employee development path. One is for the employee to feel and take ownership of their work and proactively participate in the company. The other is for leadership to ensure they are being provided opportunities to stay challenged and motivated.

BRENDAN FARRELL employee development

Brendan Farrell is Director of Operations for Shlemmer, Algaze and Associates (SAA), an interior design and architectural firm located in Southern California and New Jersey.

Farrell was raised in a military family and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology, later earning a master’s degree in Fine Arts. While he originally wanted to become an orthopedic surgeon, during college, he decided to pursue acting.

Farrell early career included a role as an executive assistant to the CEO at a gaming company, Imagination. “There was a lot of opportunity,” recalls Farrell, which he capitalized on to quickly move up the ranks to operations manager and soon to director of operations. When the position ended in late 2013, Farrell took some time off to spend with his family.

He joined SAA in June 2014 as Director of Operations.  They currently employ approximately 35 people and are growing, expecting to hire 12 to 16 people in the next 6 months.

Contrasts in Culture

“You notice the contrasts first. Walking into SAA, one of the first things I noticed was how much care and regard they had for their employees.  From the top down it’s fantastic to care that way,” says Farrell. He was drawn to the culture at SAA, which is very focused on serving the needs of its clients and boasts a hard-working team that operates efficiently.

Farrell believes client service companies need to have an awareness of what you’re bringing to the table and always be listening to what the client is saying.  Communication is vital.

Permission to Try

SAA has ambitious growth plan over the next few years. “The company wants to go somewhere it’s never been before.  In order to go places you’ve never been before, you have to do things you’ve never done before”, says Farrell.  He said to be successful, their project teams will need to let go a bit to allow the company to grow as a whole.

Anyone who comes on board at SAA starts off in a fast-paced environment.  “Sometimes people get ‘kicked out of the nest.’ They learn to do it but it doesn’t always support the culture,” Farrell said. What makes employees feel valued is not to just be given a desk and left there to work.  What new hires need to know is “where to go when they’re lost and where to get the things they need.”

Working with employees who have management or leadership talent but are further down the ladder requires a different approach, but this is a key element of employee development. They are trying to figure out how to go from the job they were hired to do to doing something else they want to do.  It’s important to “let them know they have the permission to try things,” asserts Farrell. 

Ideally, employee development will include the fact that people will grow and move within an organization so it’s important for staff to take ownership and to “think about every part of the process as their own, even if they are not directly involved in it,” says Farrell.

What are you Reading?

Farrell is reading Common Senseby Thomas Payne, centered on the notion of “learning from history”.

How Can People Connect with You? Via www.saaia.com.

JOHN HEYLIGER employee development

John Heyliger is the Human Resources Talent Acquisition Director for Lockheed Martin.  He’s been in recruiting about 17 years and in talent leadership roles for more than a dozen years, having recently joined Lockheed Martin in early 2014.

Lockheed employs about 113,000 people worldwide across research, design, and manufacturing and locations in 500 cities. 

Big Data, Big Talent

According to Heyliger, “The biggest challenges at Lockheed have been attracting talent, planning for a future workforce and leveraging information.”

Lockheed has begun employing marketing methods to attract talent, but they face a challenge in educating management in how to use these methods. Currently, they are focused on how to plan for a future workforce using data analytics to leverage information, and, to “predict the future.”  More than anything, Heyliger is working to understand where they succeed and where they fail by measuring the quality as well as failure rates.

Succession Planning

Lockheed takes a very serious approach to our employee development and succession planning. “As our business changes, how does that impact leadership changes?” 

Lockheed has a full spectrum leadership construct, a specific set of behaviors and competencies they hire against. Heyliger asserts these values are keys to the company’s successful hiring and retention. Once onboard, the company offers the employee mentorship and on-the-job experience to ensure success. 

Heyliger believes career growth potential is a top priority and attention should be paid to whether people are getting to work on challenging and meaningful projects. In addition, the quality of management greatly adds to growth potential, employee development and retention of talent.  Research shows that money does not attract and retain great talent, especially when there is poor culture and leadership.

For the Love of Leadership

The culture and values start with the CEO.  Heyliger says, “There are differences between offices and departments and divisions, but the values are the same. I’m pretty amazed at the structure and commonality in which we all behave and act.”  

Heyliger had the good fortune of working for great leaders.  “They cared about people getting better and doing more,” says Heyliger.  “Leaders need to know if people are doing what they love.  You need to make sure you give them the freedom and the opportunity to go do it.  Understand what they care about and what motivates them,” he says. 

What are You Reading?

Heyliger is reading Start With Whyby Simon Sinek, a book which contains actionable information on how to be a great leader and to achieve success.

How Can People Connect with You? Via LinkedIn.

Remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.

Date: October 28, 2014