The Sweet Spot Between Performance Improvement and Promotions We talk enterprise-level talent development with Matt Schmidt and Christine Moore. BY AIMEE BORDERS MATT After rising through the sales organization, Matt unexpectedly found his passion in teaching and facilitation. As the business manager of the Nalco Champion Business Functions Group, Matt oversees talent development for Nalco Champion, with a focus on creating employee opportunities for both personal and professional advancement. CHRISTINE With a background in organizational behavior, basically “how people show up in the context of their work,” Christine brings both consulting and workforce experience to human resources at Ecolab. Today, she helps the enterprise manage a “good challenge” — the talent development necessary to support impressive organizational growth. MATT SCHMIDT Business Manager Business Functions Group BASED IN: Houston, Texas JOINED NALCO CHAMPION: July 1997 What is talent management? MATT: To me, talent management is, in a very literal sense, the components associated with the management of an employee’s career, including onboarding, developing technical and behavioral competencies, assessing performance, career planning and individual development. Does it apply to everyone in the organization? Absolutely. I think we’d be failing ourselves if it didn’t. CHRISTINE: From an enterprise perspective, we’re here to support our businesses and functions in how they develop and manage their talent. We focus on the elements of attracting, engaging and growing our associates across their careers. MATT: One of the concepts that Christine and I continually discuss is that, while we’re in the business of providing solutions to our customers, we’re also in the business of developing our people, both personally and professionally. How does talent management factor into a customer’s experience? CHRISTINE: A lot of the roles that our people play require skills and capabilities that take time to develop, so one component of talent development is ensuring employee engagement and fostering a deep commitment to the customer and organization over time. MATT: The benefit for our customer is the assurance that we have a pipeline of well qualified individuals to provide world-class, onsite expertise, even as our employees progress in their careers and move on to new challenges. Now that we’re part of the larger Ecolab enterprise, we can afford people the opportunity to advance their career in multiple channels — whether a different discipline within the same business unit, a similar discipline in a different business unit or a completely different discipline in a new area of the business. How does talent management factor into an employee’s experience? CHRISTINE: It’s a wonderful part of our story that our geographic diversity and the diversity of our businesses really afford almost endless opportunities for people who are interested in building a career here. And part of our talent vision is that we want to help people reach their full potential however they define it. If full potential is growing into larger management roles, we want to make sure people have opportunities to do that. If full potential is having a great life in the place where they grew up, we want to provide opportunities for them to do that as well. MATT: Exactly. Talent management is designed to result in individualized development plans for all employees throughout their careers — to help them advance both personally and professionally. The result is fulfilled employees, and fulfilled employees are, quite simply, better and more productive employees. CHRISTINE MOORE Vice President Talent and Organization Development BASED IN: St. Paul, Minnesota JOINED ECOLAB: June 2012 What is the key takeaway? CHRISTINE: One of the things I think is so cool about Ecolab overall and was at the heart of the integration effort was that our businesses are united by a shared value proposition: Very high levels of service combined with superior technology in the form of a human being who cares deeply about the customer. That same formula applies in Nalco Champion, food and beverage, institutional business, etc. Having a shared value proposition creates opportunity for movement — for associates and for our leaders — across business boundaries. We’re very clear that Ecolab continues to grow when our employees grow and have opportunities, and our employees grow when our customers grow and do well, and so all of us are connected but very much anchored in customer growth. MATT: We’re doing this for the right reasons. We’ve got some great people in this organization with some very strong, specific skill sets, and those people have earned the right to develop themselves and move on wherever their careers may take them. So we want to continue to develop our employees without sacrificing the quality or level of expertise we provide to our customers, day in and day out, for literally generations to come. That’s the key takeaway. SPHERICAL SAFETY Pre-work safety analysis should include a 360° assessment including all affected personnel. Persons above, below and around you should understand the inherent risk of your team’s actions, and your team should understand theirs. Amanda Davila SH&E Manager.