Booz Allen Hamilton Director of Talent Development Jim Hemgen

Jim HemgenBooz Allen Hamilton Director of Talent Development Jim Hemgen

Jim delves into Booz Allen’s recruitment and talent development strategies, addressing the competitiveness in hiring tech talent and the distinctive measures they take. The conversation extends to their commitment to fostering a culture of continuous learning, utilizing data and predictive analytics for workforce planning, sharing insights into their most successful retention strategies, and much more.

Episode Transcript

Rob Stevenson 0:05
Welcome to talk Talent to me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the front lines of modern recruitment.

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Rob Stevenson 0:52
I’m your host, Rob Stevenson. And you’re about to hear the best in the biz. talk down to me. All right, everyone. Welcome back to the show talk down to me is back with a vengeance because we have an amazing guest here. Today. He is the principal and Director of Talent Development over at Booz Allen Hamilton. Jim Hemgen. Jim, welcome to the podcast. How the heck are you today?

Jim Hemgen 1:14
Well, doing well. Well, thank you for having me. And looking forward to the conversation doing great.

Rob Stevenson 1:18
Yeah, me as well. You have a really unique role in a company that approaches talent uniquely. And I don’t say that lightly. And I’m excited to to get into some of that with you. Before we do. Would you mind sharing a little bit about your role and kind of how you came to be in your current position?

Jim Hemgen 1:33
Yeah, no happy to do that. And I think I think we all kind of recognize that everybody takes different paths to get into these types of positions. It’s not many graduate high school and said, I want to be a chief learning officer. Right. So yeah, my role is a talent development director at Booz Allen Hamilton, where I really focus on crafting and cutting edge workforce development solutions that elevates our firm’s capabilities, which is aligned to our key strategic priorities. So I’m fortunate to lead a very dynamic team of various functions, including all things learning and development, talent management, learning analytics across the board. My mission is really clear in terms of the ability to continuously upskill and rescale a workforce, ensure they are primed to tackle our clients most complex missions. And our key mission is, as we say, Here, empowering our colleagues to change our clients world. In terms of how I got here, if I go way back, I majored in Business Education. And then I started out as a high school teacher taught business courses. And then at that time, there was a need for for some computer science teacher, so I got a certification there. So it’s a mixture of just starting to be technical and add that to business. And I did that for a number of years in Montgomery County, Maryland. I started to teach part time at a community college. And then they recruited and hired me to take over their continuing education department. So I got involved into workforce development for adults and spend a couple of years there. And then I joined a very small startup company that partner with community colleges, and helping them offer it training programs all throughout the country. And that really helped me kind of step out of a traditional education into corporate education. So I did that for a number of years. And then I became a chief learning officer for a small consulting firm based out in Seattle, Washington called write Robins worked with them. And then I joined Booz Allen Hamilton and I’ve been here for about 1 0 years,

Rob Stevenson 3:31
when you left your role as a high school teacher. Was it because you decided teaching was not for you? Or was the opportunity to good?

Jim Hemgen 3:41
Good question, I made a conscious decision to reevaluate my career to five year point, I was either going to be a lifer, as a teacher, or I was going to move on and at that five year point, I made the choice as much as I loved my job, the politics of education grew too heavy for me. And then I also when I was starting to teach at the community college, and I was exposed to the adults who are coming to my class, to learn skills, so they could potentially change or evolve their careers really appealed to me. And I you know, I that’s that was the next direction I wanted to go. And so it was a kind of a convergence of me wanting to not stay in public education doing the same thing. And then with the community college knocking on my door, it was kind of the right time,

Rob Stevenson 4:27
it sounds like you kind of honed in on the part of teaching you really enjoyed which in that case at the community college was Oh How can I help these individuals reskill or skill up for different or newer advancing career and maybe that was the part you liked the most not so much the syllabus writing and the lecturing grading papers right. So you are able to do that first part though that you honed in on right in your current role and the role since it sounds like

Jim Hemgen 4:52
absolutely and if I was to say if that was my power, skill, it is. It truly is right it is enabling others through Education to advance their lives and careers.

Rob Stevenson 5:02
What do you mean by power skill?

Jim Hemgen 5:03
Your power skill, I guess, if you know people works is to identify one characteristic or trait that really stands out. And I just say this through feedback and comments I get from others. That’s how I would define it.

Rob Stevenson 5:18
Is that important, you think for all of us to be doing?

Jim Hemgen 5:20
Yeah. Is it important for everybody? You know, it comes down to the Yes, knowing your strengths, right. And for me, it wasn’t readily apparent, right? You know, we kind of throughout our career, go different directions, experiment, or try different things as I did you know, that there was a point where I got involved into the sales side of things and how to sell education, solutions and capabilities. And I was really excited about that, but it really didn’t, really wasn’t my passion. And my passion was really changing the lives and careers of others. And, and once I had a better understanding of my own strengths, and how to capitalize on that, you know, it’s kind of, you know, the strengths finder know your strengths and, and really work on those. I think it’s made a huge difference in my career trajectory. There have been points where I wanted to pivot. But when I stepped back and looked at my resume and the things I’ve done, what mattered the most, was making an impact for the lives of others.

Rob Stevenson 6:17
Gotcha. Yeah. So it sounds like you’re well suited for this role, then. And it’s a unique one, because I feel as though who’s Allen Hamilton has some name recognition? Definitely have heard of it. I feel like though maybe most people don’t know exactly what y’all do. So you are this business management consultancy? And so in your role, are you concerned with developing an up leveling the talent working internally at Booz Allen Hamilton? Is it for the clients with whom you work in consult? Is it both? I assume it’s not neither?

Jim Hemgen 6:48
Yeah. So am I concerned? So the answer is yes. As you as you first defined us as a business management consultancy, that is our heritage. Right? So we’re 100 plus year organization that supports just about every agency across the government. And we started there. But in the last, I don’t know, probably 10 years or so we’ve evolved tremendously. We are much more technology focused now. And that means we are now moving forward with implementing digital transformation solutions with our clients. And it’s changed then the profile of our workforce of what is it that we need to deliver those solutions. So that has been a major mission of ours in terms of how we evolve the skills, as well as evolving the, you know, looking at who we’re hiring and bringing in and it’s changed also the landscape of who we compete against. It’s no longer Deloitte and Accenture, as much as we may be competing with Google AWS, SAIC and the other. So it’s completely change. We’re in a very competitive marketplace, when years ago when we would say that, you know, the war for technical talent is very real. And that’s something we’re tackling every day.

Rob Stevenson 7:59
what’s shifted to make your competition more of these big tech firms? Is it just that they are increasingly servicing the government? Or is it like a because they’re more tech forward, what happened?

Jim Hemgen 8:09
at the shift is really from us in terms of the capabilities that we now offer. So if you think about cloud transformation, software development, artificial intelligence, cyber engineering, it’s the spaces that we’re playing in, kind of puts us up against those names that we’re speaking to.

Rob Stevenson 8:27
Gotcha. And so then you’re concerned with when you mentioned the war for talent, finding these people but not merely fishing in the same pool? You also want to look at the tributaries, right, develop delivering this talent, and taking the people as they are getting them to the point where they can service new, more advanced different roles. So I mean, kind of a broad question, and we can get more specific. Where does that begin?

Jim Hemgen 8:50
Yeah, let’s begin. So we are looking at, I would say two big groups, right. In terms of the work we perform, we need experienced professionals, right. So we’re looking for those who are kind of early stage career, maybe have a computer science degree, and I’ve started XYZ company. So we are kind of looking at all those early stage career professionals and selling them on the mission and the employee value proposition of Booz Allen Hamilton to come here. As you noted, there is a name recognition, right? So people are, are kind of enamored by the words Booz Allen Hamilton. And then they start to evaluate as well, are we a technology company, a management consulting firm, and as you walk them through the problems that we solve in the white in the work that we provide, we then were opening up the eyes to too many talented technical professionals who may not have considered us originally. So we’re tapping a variety of polls by I’ll say, you know, for some of the younger folks, certainly tapping into at universities and community colleges, like the military has been a great source and it’s very helpful there because a lot of the work we provide requires security clearances. And there’s a shortage of those folks. And the military is a great channel of qualified folks who are building expertise, and have the clearances on top of that.

Rob Stevenson 10:10
And this is both for folks to come work directly for Booz Allen Hamilton, but also to be referred into other companies?

Jim Hemgen 10:17
Let’s also work directly for us, right, and then they will be part of the project teams that we put on client sites.

Rob Stevenson 10:22
Okay, got it. So then getting these people in the doors, we then look to developing them for coming needs coming technological, you know, new skills that are increasingly important. So let’s go there. When you think about employee development, what does that mean at Booz Allen Hamilton?

Jim Hemgen 10:40
Yeah, I mean, so the employee development, it really, we’re taking a look at the overall skill skills and experience profile of the employees coming in. And then seeing how client ready are they we make a significant investment into their development early in their careers, we have certain programs and say, known as tech excellence, where on day three of being hired, you’re going to be exposed to upwards of an eight to 10 week program, learning very specific technologies, how they’re applied in the context of a Booz Allen project and job. Also surrounding that with some of the other key skills in terms of critical thinking and communications and presentations. We do that in an attempt to really get them client ready as soon as possible. And we find that they need that extra training and education to get to that point. So the significant investment in terms of the training and the time that we allocate towards that,

Rob Stevenson 11:38
what is the difference between that and onboarding that someone might experience at a different internal company?

Jim Hemgen 11:44
So or somebody onboarding that has experience? Yeah, what would be the difference between

Rob Stevenson 11:48
that process getting someone client ready versus the standard kind of onboarding that might happen in another company?

Jim Hemgen 11:53
Yeah, I mean, well, the difference is the immediately the employees see the upfront investment into them and their own professional development. We have great success with putting the employees through that who understand that the they don’t really realize until they get put into the client site, and they understand, wow, I we gave them the tools, the resources in the skills necessary to be successful, you know, we’re talking 1000s of dollars of investment that is outlaid. You know, it’s not something everybody gets on day three through monthly.

Rob Stevenson 12:28
this is a unique approach because most hiring happens because you have this need, and you need the person to be doing their job basically, day one, right? Not literally because there’s paperwork to fill out. But like day three, maybe, right? We need you to be chipping away at, you know, this list of tasks that we’ve identified. And it doesn’t seem like there’s this room for oh, well, if you are 60% 70% of the way there, we’ll teach you the rest of them. Now, you’ll be a good employee, people, and companies need you to be delivered right away as fast as possible. It doesn’t seem like that’s the approach for y’all.

Jim Hemgen 13:02
Yeah, I’ll say so that it’s a little bit of mix. Right? It’s it’s not to say that we, we hire some highly experienced folks who are already early on in their career like today, three, four or five, they’re out there being billable when you said that in terms of their skills profile, that that that that 60 70% Ready. And that’s what we’re doing is closing that skills gap, getting them from there to about 90%. Ready, which is really key. And that’s something we discovered out and we’ve been working on this for about five years, when I’m mentioning here, this this tech excellence program that we’ve created on a scale. Since that time, just to give you a sense of some of the specifics where we have programs that are very specific to cloud engineering, cyber engineering, data science, artificial intelligence, software development, DevStack ops, just to give you a sense of some of the technical domains that we deliver.

Rob Stevenson 13:52
Okay, gotcha. And then once they are once their client ready, once they’re billable, then is it okay, go do your job. What is the next step for them? Once they okay, we can put you in front of the client you can be delivering? Surely it doesn’t stop there.

Jim Hemgen 14:06
No. So this is where you know, when we say the words, a culture of continuous learning, right? What does that look like? So there’s a couple of things that exist, right? So those individuals are partnered with a career manager. And that career manager has responsibility for coaching and nurturing that individual and an older individuals that are responsible for in their ongoing development to make sure they’re successful in the job, that they have that moment, but they’re also having conversations regularly with them to understand what what are some of their career desires? And where do they want to eventually go to so they kind of help them get all those building blocks in place. So they’re leveraging programs and services, there are talent development offerings to help make that happen. So I’ll give you one example. You know, one program we manage is called Flexa. This is a tuition and certification benefit. To the employees on day one and get upwards of $5,250, they can spend on external training and education, that benefit increases based on years of experience, it’ll go up to 7500. At year two, and it goes at year seven, it goes up to $10,000. And then we help suggests and recommend programs that they would pursue leveraging that benefit. Let’s say it’s getting a project management, professional certification, or a CompTIA Security Plus certification. Right. So then we we have several learning partners that we work with who offer that, and then we connect them to the employees to leverage their benefit.

Rob Stevenson 15:38
The career manager, this is not that person’s direct supervisor, this is a separate role,

Jim Hemgen 15:44
right? That’d be a job leader. So we have two key roles on the front lines, you have a job leader and a career manager.

Rob Stevenson 15:49
Okay, so the role that sounds like a career manager fulfills that is typically one’s direct supervisor, and it’s happening in weekly one on ones like, Oh, are you? What do you want your next job to be? How can we help you develop? It doesn’t always happen like that. That’s the idea, though. But you have a specific dedicated role for that, what makes you think that is better than it being the person’s boss?

Jim Hemgen 16:11
Yeah, you know, so because if I’m on a project, I may be on a project for three months, and I could shift the move to another project, which means I’m changing job leaders. So to have a common anchor, we created the role of a career manager, that’s always a constant, you are connected to that person. So that continuity, then is really conducive to these types of conversations we’re speaking to. Now the job leader is also obviously very critical, right? So they’re observing the work, they’re observing the impact and output of their production. So they weigh in, throughout the performance management process, in terms of the talent evaluation, and that shared back to the career manager.

Rob Stevenson 16:52
Okay, got it, you might have a different boss every few weeks. Is that how that works?

Jim Hemgen 16:56
I would say every few weeks, but yeah, it’s imagine you know, the scope of a project could be a couple of months, couple years. But like I said, it’s you could be bouncing for projects. Plus, you might even have more than one or, or a couple of projects, which would expose you to multiple job leaders, in some cases.

Rob Stevenson 17:10
Got it. So when it comes to development, I really like digging into the question of how much shoulder tapping and suggestion is done, and how much waiting for people to raise their hand and ask to receive some kind of development? What is the balance? You look to strike there?

Jim Hemgen 17:26
Yeah, it’s a good question. You know, it’s a three legged stool, right. So number one is, is coming from the company, the company is a couple of things, a should have the right culture that fosters one’s professional development, you should have tools, programs, resources and investments in place to enable that, then is the role of the career manager. So he or she is helping having productive career development conversations with individuals and then leads the employee, the employee has to a be curious has to create space and time for their development. So it takes all three to come together. Now, the ratio in terms of the career management play is going to vary based on individuals, we do the best we can to allow for kind of self directed learning through our employees. So there are a variety programs and services available to them, that they can tap into. And then we have also targeted upskilling initiatives. It may be based on one’s skills profile, where they are and based in certain needs, and will target them and put them into specific initiatives. So they can take advantage of that, you know, for Talent Development, part of what we need to do is kind of help them orient the compass, meaning, what are the critical skills, where are the needs of today in the future, so then they know where to kind of invest their time and energy, because when it comes right down to it, we’re dealing with time, there’s only so much of that, right? They’re spending time working with their clients, spending time on writing proposals and other administrative work. And then it comes time for their professional development. They got to be highly selected. Now I’ll say there’s a certain amount of time they can invest during the business hours, but not surprisingly, many employees will tell you leverage your evenings and weekends as well. Whether they’re pursuing let’s say, some advanced degrees on their own, or we run many programs of our own, also after hours through cohorts that they can participate in. Like I said, it’s a it’s a combined investment.

Rob Stevenson 19:24
Yeah, it’s particularly with tech skills. There’s these sorts of technologies du jour that if someone is trained in then they become really a really hot commodity really eminently employable. And you see it constantly. Currently, it’s pytorch. Right? Like that’s the the sexy AI tech to be really literate with. And as you say, if you are someone who is just like in the weeds every day fulfilling a fast paced need for whatever work, you may not know, right, what’s coming around the corner. But if you have an organization like yours, that it’s like, hey, we do all this research. We’re like trying to coach all of these clients to be AI ready, for example, or future proof? And another way, then you can tell them hey, by the way you might consider pytorch. Is that the idea? It’s like they get this backup of the research and sort of seeing around the corner from the organization that otherwise they’d be kind of on their own to figure out.

Jim Hemgen 20:14
Yeah, that’s well said. So yes, I use the word smart are in demand sensing, right. So we’re continuously demand sensing what the future needs are. And there’s a variety of ways in which we do that in terms of, we use a lot of data to understand the skills that we have in our supply, we look at the skills that we’re asking for, we have some predictive analytics to understand what are the skills of the future. And then we also speak to the leaders understanding that as they’re building their businesses, what are the type of solutions that they’re gonna be working towards, and we deconstruct that then to understand the jobs necessary, which then backs into the skills necessary. So it’s a variety of sources, we pull that together, right, and then we share that out. And that really supports a kind of a the workforce planning process at a very high level, and all the way down to the employee level. Really, like I said, it’s almost like having a compass, and we’re helping them orient that compass for them, because they have this information available.

Rob Stevenson 21:15
Yeah. And the alternative is that as a professional, you would need to be doing all that on your own. And like you say, in your nights and weekends, probably watching YouTube videos, and in a million discords and going to community meetups, and you probably lack the resources or time to I don’t know, like be mining a bunch of 1000s of careers pages to see what technologies are, like trending up, or, or even understanding Oh, this technology is coming down the pipeline, these big companies are investing in it, it runs on this foundation. That is the skill with which we should be training people, it would be much better I think, for most people if their organization to be like, hey, our spidey senses indicate that you should learn pytorch. Right? And if you got that feedback from your company in 2017, you’re probably pretty happy right now.

Jim Hemgen 21:57
Exactly. Right. You know, I think in 2017, we made a big bold investment to data science, during that year, in our leadership had said, you know, what we are going to, we see this as a tremendous need to be providing to our clients. So therefore, we’re going to have the biggest workforce in this space. And we started an initiative, it was called the data science 5k, the 5k meant having 5000 data scientists and five years. And this is an example of what you’re describing. So as, as once we knew that was a critical skill need, we then thought about how we’re going to build that capacity, it was about combination of hiring and building. But we put forward some some signature programs to make that occurred. And then by the time that launch, there was so much pent up that demand and excitement around this. I mean, all the classes we had they were filled to the room, and that it stayed that way for several years. And it was employees reacting to the fact that they all knew this was going to be really hot. I’m going all in on this. I might have been a business analyst today. But I’m going to be a data scientist tomorrow. Fortunately, that all took place. Because some years later, you know, now as AI has taken foothold, that really allowed us to build a wide bench if you would. And it’s been allowing us to really build deep capacity and much more highly technical, skilled workforce to handle this tremendous need that we’re seeing now.

Rob Stevenson 23:27
Yeah, functionally, the idea was to be able to service clients anticipate their needs in the future, right with just loads of talent. But conceptually, this is this idea I see kicked around a lot. The idea of developing like a talent marketplace of like, can we create a scenario where we have developed the talent in advance of the need, and we have this community of people to tap into or, you know, source from at any moment? Is that kind of conceptually similar? And you’re like, am I onto something here trying to get to a talent marketplace?

Jim Hemgen 23:56
Absolutely. So yeah, for me, like a talent marketplace. I view it as a dynamic platform or system within an organization, right, that facilitates the identification, deployment, and development of skills across the workforce. And we embarked on that journey just about just about two years ago. And there was a huge need to close a gap, where we have a number of employees who were they’re applying for jobs internally. And if we discovered from from the data, if they didn’t get a job within a year within Booz Allen, they were looking elsewhere, and they were leaving. So about 60% of that population that was applying for jobs left within a year. So we had that that was a compelling business pain. Our solution for that was to develop a talent marketplace. And ultimately, what that allowed us to do is kind of it’s like an agile, agile deployment of skills you know, instead of employees being confined to say to fix roles, allow the organization to quickly match the right skills to projects and tasks needed and allowed us to really optimize our work force efficiently. And it really is kind of demand and supply. And that marketplace expose employees to gigs and projects that they had no knowledge of previously, it’s a continuous optimization in terms of having enough jobs and the employees to match that. So a couple of things happened within their to its LLC. Number one is culture was super, super key to a talent marketplace. Because think about me, I’ll use myself as an example, right, with my team of 50 employees, you know, unless I have three or four people that are scouring the marketplace and have interest, and taking on a gig or a project, but I’ve already got them connected to critical work, they’re gonna knock on my doors. Hey, Jim, yeah, I’d love to try something different. Can I go over here, I have to then support their career mobility, or I could be really concerned about the output of my work and say, No, you’re not going there just yet, I need you to do ABC until that that is finished. It’s a cultural thing where we need to be able to support career mobility. But in doing that, I gotta be flexible, and at the ready to pull in other people to backfill continuously for allowing people to take on some additional stretch projects. So that was not easy. And I will tell you that is it his leadership style and the way of doing business, and it takes some time for this culture to take root? is really a big deal.

Rob Stevenson 26:29
Yeah, it’s a delicate thing that to deal with, it feels like you have a lot of hands on the stovetop there. No one says that. But the the idea is like a delicate, because I’ve heard that from leaders of both sides. I’ve heard the whole like, okay, let’s figure out how to get you into the role you really want to be and I hear you, but I’m ignoring you. Basically, I hear you, but your current function is to critical, suck it up, basically. Right. And then, you know, we’ll revisit us in six months. That’s the kind of feedback that has you as an individual contributor going home and you know, looking for new jobs. Right,

Jim Hemgen 27:01
exactly. That’s the outcome. Right? So I am stifling that individuals career and desires. So you’re she’s got a choice to make, do I ride this out? And wait, or do I start looking elsewhere? So you’re going to start potentially seeing, you know, reduce production, the employee engagement starts to diminish? And then they’re going to be apt to click that button in LinkedIn that says, looking?

Rob Stevenson 27:26
Yep. So I would love to hear maybe I’ll present you a hypothetical. And I’d love to hear what your approach would be. And the hypothetical is this. Let’s say I apply for VP of marketing role, the role is open, I interview for it, bunch of external candidates also come in, blah, blah, blah, I don’t get it right. Now, you know that I want to be a VP. And I’m not a VP. And I’m back to doing my job before. How do you handle that situation?

Jim Hemgen 27:53
Certainly, there’s a couple of things there. One, I am a proponent of building and promoting from with them. For many reasons, I want the leaders of the future to grow through the ranks of ice pulling people from the outside in, unless you absolutely positively need to do so it sends a number of vital messages. If employees can see themselves through the eyes of others in terms of navigating your career journey, whatever direction horizontally or vertically that takes place. The other is then now that I know you want to be a VP, let’s deconstruct maybe the moment as to why you didn’t get this position. And let’s start to create a development plan that sets you up for the next job that becomes open. And I may ask you to reach out to some of the folks that interviewed you to better understand why do they deem you is not ready for that particular position. So that’d be some input that I could take back to set up a coaching plan for you. Now bear in mind is, as you’re going up the leadership ranks, there’s a number of things we have to take into consideration in terms of what your visibility across the ranks and viewed by others, making sure others are understanding the impact that you have, I gotta make sure you’re presenting the leadership voice, and you have all the skills and abilities to be ready for that. And then that becomes between you and me and understanding where you are today. And the path I’m going to carve out. It could mean three, six, maybe 912 months until you get to that destination. And it’ll be up to you. You know, if you’re going to be fully committed to that.

Rob Stevenson 29:30
Yeah, you shared that piece of data 60% of the folks who apply for role internally and don’t get to end up leaving that feels like what I would have anticipated, but that number is that’s upsetting. It’s like okay, so we look at all of the we encourage internal mobility, and yet in the case where it doesn’t work out, over half of them are just going to leave. You can either just looked back to those people or identify the gap between where they are and where they want to be and help them get there and whether whether they end up doing that role for you or leaving to get it somewhere else, I guess Seems like those are the only two possibilities. Right? And so are we just prepared to accept the reality of the ladder knowing that if they do that, well, at least we’ve done right by them? And at least we got a few more months of work out of them, like, what is the approach to developing them? In that case?

Jim Hemgen 30:15
Yeah, let’s say doing right by the employee always matters, right? That is the philosophy and the culture that we want to promote. And it’s possible, right? That ultimately, you mean that timeframe that you and I have outlined may not be ideal for you, and you want something sooner and you want to pursue some other opportunity? That could be an accessible exit, and then I can check the box when you leave that your you know, we would rehire you should you want to ever come back? You know, so that is also important. But listen, it’s if I can make a dent, that number of 60%, it’s going to reduce our overall attrition, right. And you think about the cost to hire new folks to backfill continuously, we’re going to be leveraging skills and abilities internally and to

Rob Stevenson 31:02
I guess in that hypothetical, I outline there’s a third possibility one is they upskill and they get the role. Two, is they leaving the role somewhere else? Three, is they just are disengaged and do bad work, right? And he’s like, Yeah, well, whatever this company isn’t, I’m not gonna get what I want. I’ll just like there are less engaged employee. And that’s maybe just as likely as the other two, there’s this old quote, I’m sure you’re familiar with what happens if we invest in our people, and they leave to which the Henry Ford or someone I don’t know is like, what happens if we don’t? And they stay? I guess that is the risk. Right?

Jim Hemgen 31:32
Right. And like I said, if I have a disengaged employee, well, I got a different kind of problem and different kind of conversation in terms of the performance management.

Rob Stevenson 31:39
Yeah, of course. Well, Jim, we are creeping up on optimal podcast length here. And before I let you go, I would love to just have you share some wit and wisdom with the folks out there listening, particularly in the case where let’s say someone in the talent space maybe doesn’t have the benefit or privilege of a company like Booz Allen Hamilton, kind of showing them, hey, here’s what we how we think you should develop to be, you know, more employable, and future proof. What can they do on their own to make sure that they are upskilling in a meaningful, fruitful way?

Jim Hemgen 32:10
To your question, you’re talking about, like, just employees in general, or folks in the talent development space? Specifically? Yeah, let’s keep it to talent given our audience. Yeah, I mean, so I’ll say this, for those in the talent development space, a couple things. One, I highly encourage soliciting a mentor from an outside organization, you know, find somebody who’s in a role you aspire to be in and get engaged in conversations. It goes a long way. So I try as best I can, with my own team make connections with folks from on the outside. To support them, they take that even one step further, is getting connected to cohorts, with other organizations. And I say this because you learn so much through others, you find out that we’re all chasing pretty much the same problems, somebody when you start engaging with them. And it gives you a sense of kind of where you are right? And the space as you can compare and contrast. But then you’re learning through the successes and failures through others and talent development. One thing I’ve discovered we love to help each other and share information. It’s not like we’re creating intellectual property that it’s highly exclusive ik let somebody know how I did that. So we are we will share. So I encourage that it’s and I say this as it’s a step up from just going to a conference. And we right now conferences are great to go to you can tend to work so option sessions to get smarter, but I find industry conversations to be the most beneficial.

Rob Stevenson 33:37
Yeah, that is really sound advice, Jim, at the end of an episode full of it. Thank you so much for being here and sharing your experience. This has been a really interesting look into what is I think a very unique approach to development and in talent and all of that. So thanks for being here. Man. This has been a fun episode.

Jim Hemgen 33:52
Great. My pleasure, enjoyed it.

Rob Stevenson 33:56
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