Developing Talent – Tools, Training, & Breadth

Laura Schroeder

Senior Director, Global Development Engineering at Bose Corporation

Learning Objectives

This talk is about a subject which I am passionate about. Developing talent. This is one of the most important things leaders do and my definition of leadership is helping those around you reach their potential. I will cover three main areas of talent development. First I’ll review some of the development tools we leverage to identify and develop critical talent. Then I’ll share some of our global training tools and finally I’ll conclude with sharing some of the ways we try to provide opportunities to both broaden and deepen our talent.

"Leadership is very straightforward and simple. It's helping those around you reach their potential."

Laura Schroeder

Senior Director, Global Development Engineering at Bose Corporation


My name is Laura Schroeder and I’m the Senior Director of Global Engineering for Bose Corporation. Today, I’m going to talk to you about a subject I am very passionate about. That’s developing talent. This is one of the most important things we as leaders do. And my definition of leadership is very straightforward and simple. It’s helping those around you reach their potential.

So with that, let’s talk a little bit about what today’s talk will cover. We will talk about three different areas, the talent development tools that we use, which honestly, I’m a little partial to, I think they’re, they’re really great, how we do global training because we’re a global company. And also, very importantly, how do we try to develop talent in both breadth and depth. So with that, let’s get started. And we’ll go right into the development tools that we use. So our talent planning process is proactive, and it aligns strategy and investment plans with the talent plan, and we do this twice a year. The talent planning framework includes identifying critical roles and critical capabilities. It’s important for both the current state business needs but also future state business needs. This is why it’s important to connect the business strategy with the talent plan. Once we’ve identified the critical roles, and capabilities, we begin assessing the talent leading to the identification of critical talent. We then do our succession planning. In short, all critical talent has a robust development plan. Now provide a little bit more details behind each one of these activities, critical capabilities, roles, and talent, we identify critical capabilities as those which can drive competitive advantage. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know that we consider acoustic engineering, a critical capability, it’s very difficult to find acoustic engineering talent, and it takes a lot of time and effort to develop these specialized capabilities. This is this critical capability has a significant impact on a product’s performance, which translates hopefully into very happy customers and a strong brand. critical roles have broad responsibilities and influence across the organization. These roles make decisions, which have a significant impact on the company. An example of a critical role is the Director of Global supplier management, especially right now given all the Supply Chain challenges, it is responsible for all the direct spending of bows. This involves managing keeping supplier relationships and commercial negotiations, and really escalation meetings. And you can imagine, right now, what that role feels like for anyone in those groups across any company, it’s a pretty daunting task at the moment. And finally, critical talent or high performers with subject matter expertise or experience, they are critical to our business. These are the people whom our competitors try to walk away from. Critical talent also typically is in critical roles and identified in a succession plan for a critical role. Now on assessment, there are two key things that we take into consideration when assessing our talent. The first is employee performance. We use a qualitative scale for our performance management system as you can see here, and it ranges from do not meet expectations all the way through to significantly exceeds in a given year about maybe 60% of our talent falls in the meets expectations category with 30% and exceeds and the other 10% impartial meets or significantly exceeds it’s unusual to see does not meet expectations as these individuals are typically on a performance improvement plan, which is aggressively managed our talent assessment. Along with employee performance, we also assess an employee’s potential. Limited potential employees are great in their role but likely are not advancing beyond it. An engineer who has reached a senior level and does not have managerial aspirations would be viewed as having limited potential. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t highly valued high performing employees. I think that’s a really important point because people can get hung up on the language Talent with medium potential have demonstrated leadership capabilities and likely can take on leadership roles, while talent with high potential have also demonstrated leadership leadership capabilities and they likely can take on a leadership role with very broad responsibilities. An example of how we would differentiate between medium and high talent is someone who can grow into bleeding a single function. They might such as perhaps mechanical engineering as an example, would be characterized as medium talent, while an individual who can grow into leading an organization with multiple functional areas would be identified as high potential.


We then look at talent in a matrix where performance is on the y axis and potential is on the x axis, x axis. Much of the organization typically are either are strong contributors are consistent contributors. Those are the two boxes we see mostly populated. On the top row. The key contributors are individual contributors who are great in their role and don’t Aspire or show the potential to move into a managerial role. They can be identified as critical talent as they often have critical capabilities. The ready star all star and emerging star boxes typically have talent who are demonstrating leadership skills, and will likely continue to advance in their career and move into managerial roles. It’s very important that opportunities are provided to challenge the talent in these three boxes if they’re likely to look outside the company. Remember, I said they like to be wooed by our competitors, if they aren’t challenged, or they feel like there are limited opportunities for growth. Strong individual sub element plans are key for these people. So they feel very engaged and they feel like they’re growing, assessment readiness and achievable level. Along with talent assessment matrix we just reviewed, we also take into consideration a person’s readiness and achievable level to develop our succession plans. achievable level is very similar to potential. And here, you can see the definition. This is our succession plan template. Here, as you can see, each leaders name is in blue, which signifies their critical talent. And it’s a critical roll. We typically like to see critical talent in the succession plan. And hopefully, at least one candidate who is either ready or within one to three years of being ready. The roles that don’t have any potential internal succession candidates are of critical importance. In these situations, we need to develop a plan to either hire in a potential successor and or look across the organization to see if there’s talent in other areas who could be a succession candidate. We have improved our process and thinking more outside our own organizations. But there’s more we can do. And we need to be disciplined to think broadly across when we’re doing our succession plans. Quite often, it’s very easy for a manager only to think about their own internal group, their subgroup, or maybe the whole group that they belong to. But really looking across the entire enterprise for talent is really key. individual development plans, the big picture, getting started. These are really critical. And this is just an example of what we do. These are some of the questions that we may seed with a manager for them to ask, what’s the reason for a particular development grow? What are the what’s the organizational and the personal playoffs? What are we trying to achieve here? Think about the milestones. And then in our company, we use workday as our tool. And so workday has a module where you can actually have the IDP put in there. And that’s what we do. And so a manager for across the organization at their fingertips, it’s really a wonderful thing. You can see the entire performance of somebody, right from annual performance reviews, all the way through their IDPs, the things they’re working with as long as well as their current goals and objectives.


So that’s a little snapshot for you of the tools that we use within our company to help develop develop talent. Now let’s talk a little bit about global training. And some of the things that we do because as you can imagine, on a global level, it can be difficult. So one of the tools that we use is Global Campus. And this is just a snapshot of my particular homepage. And here you can see though, that there’s a catalog of different learnings and teachings. courses that somebody can take. And they’ve highlighted them. So whether it’s brand new hire Safety Systems Security and Privacy, product development. They’re all there at somebody’s fingertips. And it’s really a self serve type of tool. So people can go in there. And they can choose the topic or in the catalog and see what’s available to them. We also use other things outside such as E, Cornell, and some other things that people can also access through this tool. It’s also great because it’s in multiple languages. And when we have certain training that’s universal across the company, such as our ethics, compliance training, it gets pushed out through Global Campus. So everybody receives an email, they’re told you need to complete this training by the state. And then it’s very easily tracked. And as a manager, I can go in and I can see who in my group has actually completed it and who hasn’t. To send those little reminders, as those due dates are getting close, that they do need to take the time for whatever the mandatory required training is. So Global Campus, a really important tool for us. Now, I just want to give you an example of some of the courses that we might find underneath Global Campus. So as you can imagine, lean is an important part of our company. And so here, we may not where somebody may not want to necessarily go through the entire course load of getting a green belt or getting a black belt, but there may be certain modules that are of great interest them that could really add value to their work. And so here, you can see that all the different tools that are part of the lean suite, are actually available as individual models modules. So for instance, if somebody on their team or in their group suddenly wants to leverage visual management, a tool that I’m very partial to and use a lot. They can go in there, and they can take a class to learn how do you do visual management, what is its purpose, how to use it most effectively, and things of that nature, same thing with PDCA. That’s another one plan, do check act. In fact, our co Ops, we actually asked them, many times they participate in a PDCA as part of their experience at boat. So this is a great thing where people can go in and they can self serve to a given course, or a different subject area that they have interest in, in quite often, it may actually tie back to their development plan, and the things that they’re trying to accomplish to help continue to grow their own knowledge and capabilities. So along with that, another thing that’s really important and really becoming very competitive, and essential is how do you not just have deep expertise, but also how do you have people who have broad understanding of the enterprise, that entire value chain? How do you do that? Right? Those individuals are really critical, because they have experience and understanding and knowledge that really is broad across the entire enterprise. So when they’re working on an initiative, they can have input through multiple lenses, they might be a very strong, let’s say, deep engineer, who is, you know, a really critical talent. But they’ve also had experiences that brought them across the enterprise, whether it maybe it’s in research, if they’re a development engineer, maybe it’s in sales, maybe it’s in marketing, maybe finance, with business plans, but having that critical talent that have that broad understanding of the enterprise, along with deep expertise is something that we’re focused on in the place where we feel like we can really have a competitive advantage. So with that, what are some of the things we do? So one thing that we’ve created, and I’m sure there are probably other companies who have a similar


activity is we call it the gig marketplace. So what’s a gig? It’s a short term assignment. It might be job shadowing, or project work. It’s about six months in duration and a maximum of 30% of their time. And this is really important, right? Because people do have full time jobs so and work that needs to get accomplished. But at the same time, it’s about balancing that development of these people in different people. So 30% is something that the executive team is able to align on and we’ve actually had the gig marketplace in place for about three years now. You can only you’re limited to host one gig at a time. Because this is also an opportunity for managers to get maybe work done that they needed done. But it’s been hard to get traction and movement on. So good example is we wanted to revamp our cat capital asset disposition process. And we made it a gate. And it turns out that somebody else in my group who’s a plastics engineer, he wanted to gain more understanding and experience as a program manager, leading an initiative. So it was a gift for him. And I will say he ended up doing a great job. So it was a great development opportunity for him. And so as a win win all around, and now we have our process updated. Participants can participate in two gigs maximum, and they can accept one per cycle. So like I said, That’s twice a year, right? And they can do, they can only participate in one gig at a time. It’s an ongoing process. So we run them q1, q2, and then q3, and q4. And the gigs are development as the first priority. So as I was saying, and so the particular plastics engineer I speaking to on his development plan, he had growing project management skills. So as I mentioned, it was a great win win for him. Another thing that we try to do relative to broadening people, is we have a couple of rotational programs. So within our Manufacturing global Supply Chain organization, we have a leadership rotational program. In here. What they do is, it was established to offer high potential recent college graduates the opportunity to accelerate their career through a variety of foundational learning experiences, right participants receive challenging cross functional rotations, and either Supply Chain or operations. And the mission of the program is to attract, develop and retain high performing talent for the future advancement of MG sc. And I must say, this program is very popular. And it’s brought great value to mgse. Usually, over the course of the two year period, they have anywhere between three and four assignments. The assignments are challenging, as we mentioned, right, and they get to have exposure to a bunch of the different leaders across mgse. And just to give you a little sense, here are the logos of some of the colleges to which those rotational participants have been recruited out of and are part of the program right now. In one last one that I want to share with you is our pace. So this is our engineering rotational program. In here, I’m quite partial to this because I’m the current host of it. And so it was established back in 2007, with the purpose of hiring high potential recent engineering graduates and providing them a very unique opportunity, and of course, retaining them. And what we do is we have a very robust summer intern and Co Op program, especially on the engineering side, but across the enterprise, but especially on the on the engineering side at Bose. And so what we do is we put out a call to the managers of those in the program who are rising seniors, and or they are finishing up perhaps an advanced degree that’s less typical, but certainly the scene the rising seniors are very typical. And we asked them that, are you current? Do you currently have a co op or a intern who really stands out relative to their peers, really outstanding, both in terms of technical capability, but also showing leadership. And then if they do, they can nominate them into the PACE program, that individual if they so choose, goes through an interviewing process.


And at the end of the interviewing process, if there’s agreement and alignment that we should bring this person into pace, that’s what we do. We give them a job offer, so they leave the company at the end of their internship or Co Op with a job offer in hand. Typically, I believe our Human Resources Group usually gives them about two weeks to make a decision. And then they go about their senior year. Hopefully, you know, most of the time they do accept, it’s actually a fairly rare occasion that we get denied. And it’s really, really great because they view it as a real big benefit and then attracted to Bose. And then what they do is when they come in, they’ll go through four different rotations, which they get to choose. So the only time I might prod them a little is if, for instance, they had been in the same product division, I, I’d really encourage them to try another product division. If they’ve spent all their time in development,


I might, I would, I would


encourage them to do a rotation in research. And I must say, because the program has been established since 2007. And I’ve been involved since about 2016. It’s really a testament to the people that have been in the program, it’s very well known in the company, in highly regarded, so usually managers are knocking on my door asking me if I have any engineers who are ready for their next rotation. So it’s really great. And at the end of the rotation, they rotate out of the program, and into their first permanent role. And But with that, over the course of those two years, the breadth of knowledge that they’ve learned in the network is extensive compared to if we had hired them into a given group, they certainly would have perhaps certainly deeper relationships with the people in that group. But they wouldn’t necessarily have the knowledge across the company or the network. And this is really invaluable for them. They find it very valuable. And then you can see these are our rotational participants goals, right? So we have a very wide swath, which we recruit from, and try to get talent. So that is our engineering rotational program. So with that, I’d like to close it’s really been a pleasure talking to you about this subject of developing our talent. I’m sharing with you some of the tools that we use to do that, how we do global training in some ways, and also, how do we really try to just grow our talent, not just in depth, but in breath. So with that, I hope the remainder of your time at the conference, the virtual summit goes really well in Thank you for your attention.

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