Talent Management Best Practices: Bill Peppler, Managing Partner, Kavaliro, and Dawn Kohler, President/CEO, The Inside Coach

Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 – Talent Talk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  Talent Talk connects professionals who care about culture, leadership, talent management and other talent-related issues. 


Today’s guests are Bill Peppler, Managing Partner, Kavaliro; and Dawn Kohler, President/CEO, The Inside Coach.

Having created and fostered their own businesses, Peppler and Kavaliro attest to the challenges and best practices attached to fast-growth companies, and the importance of talent management to continue to make things successful.  To hear the entire show, click here

BILL PEPPLER Talent Management

Peppler is a Managing Partner and co-founder of Kavaliro, an IT staffing and consulting company specializing in software development for companies from Fortune 500 clients to small organizations. The company has been recognized on the Inc. 500 list for the past three years.

Peppler himself has spent more than 15 years in recruiting. One of the largest shifts in talent management he notes is the steep decline in average tenure, currently estimated at 3.5 years opposed to the 12 year average in 1984.

Of course, IT staffing continues to be a challenge with technology unemployment rates much lower than the national average. However, Kavaliro has found success by being early adopters of technology to find talent. In fact, they have had a mobile app for years “to put our jobs in people’s hands literally.” This is critical since their tracking shows that a majority, 70 percent, of their website traffic comes from mobile sources. That said, “With all the great technology you have, you can never take away the personal service,” asserts Peppler. For Kavaliro, that means “knowing our customers, knowing what they are looking for and finding that right person for them.”

The largest talent gap he sees are professionals who are technical but also able to communicate technical priorities to non-technical colleagues. Thus Peppler encourages students today not to shortchange themselves on an opportunity to study both technology and business.  With these types of individuals, the talent management aspect can become a bit easier, knowing the employees in place can approach things from both sides.

Empowered Workforce

“To have an empowered workforce,” Peppler asserts, “you need to have a team that’s self-motivating without having someone over their shoulder micro-managing them.” When you are working for a fast-growing company,

“You strap on for a rocket ship ride of revenue growth…That doesn’t happen without having the right people, structure and systems in place. You are there to help them, but you give them enough to make their own way in the world.”

What are You Reading?

Peppler is reading Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hookby Gary Vaynerchuk and Jon Gordon’s “The Energy Bus.”

How Can I Connect with You? Via www.kavaliro.com or on LinkedIn.

DAWN KOHLER Talent Management

Kohler started her first company at 23 years old, providing an on-site respond and repair service when PCs first emerged. “We were promoting people because they were technically good…but they didn’t know how to manage,” recalls Kohler, resulting in systemic issues in the organization. “We reinvented our company around a management platform that empowered the people who worked there,” and as a result the company was later acquired.

Kohler believes strongly in the power of sheer determination, where “failure literally isn’t an option…It’s not even the smartest people who get ahead. I think it’s the most determined people.”

The Inside Coach has been operating for more than a dozen years as a talent development organization, born out of Kohler’s experiences with her own company. She works with high-potential employees who her clients want to help take the company to the next level.

Minding the Middle Management

To Kohler, many companies experience disconnect between senior leaders and middle management. “There is a missing link between how we get the middle management to buy in, push it down, understand the goals, and tie the individual efforts of the employees to how they are making a difference to the mission of the company.” She continues, “If you really want to take your company to the next level, focus on your middle managers.” Because they can affect the rank & file managers, middle managers can be a company’s biggest leverage point.  This sort of talent management makes sense so that you keep employees and managers at all levels engaged in the end goal.

Fundamental human motivators include a sense of belonging and a sense of making a contribution to something greater than ourselves. “Those are two motivators a paycheck is never going to scratch.” How does a middle manager apply this truth? Kohler advises that a good middle manager can help make the link between an individual contributor’s efforts and the greater mission of the company.

Another way to retain talent is to invest in their development. Coaching can be an ultimate show that the company cares about the employee and wants the best talent management possible, and the employee in turn responds to that with deep appreciation and a renewed desire to help the company succeed.

Leadership 180°

As a coach, Kohler is quite accustomed to the process of collecting 360° feedback on those she coaches, often bringing to light the unintended effects of your actions. She recalls a time when a direct report told her that the technicians are scared of her. Because she was so preoccupied, she never smiled, thus casting a perception she was angry at them. Kohler instantly acknowledged: “I have to be more mindful of the way I show up at work.”

What are You Reading?

Kohler is reading Buddha’s Brainby Rick Hanson highlighting the power of mindfulness on brain activity and offering practical tips for how to manage it.

How Can I Connect with You? Via LinkedIn.

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

Air Date: May 6, 2014