3 Learning and Development Lessons From …. M&Ms

M&M’s, those delicious little candies with a mix of colors on the outside and great filling on the inside. Yum. Who would have thought they would provide a great lesson about hiring and developing employees?

Today’s workplace in an intellectual or service workplace – much of manufacturing has moved offshore. Most employees are now face-to-face with customers, not hiding behind machines or out of view. This means employees must be good at what they do and interested in doing it to impress customers and inspire their loyalty. Today, talents, aptitude, attitude and passions impact performance – and they are resident in our employees’ “filling” – in their minds and in their hearts – not in their “candy coating” exteriors.

Many organization still focus on the visible exterior when hiring, developing and promoting employees. Instead consider that we are in a “filling” or thinking world. If an organization’s ultimate goal is to transform human capital into financial capital, then its focus must be on selecting employees who have the ability to think, grow and contribute.

Here are 3 ways M&M’s® can inspire us when hiring and developing today’s employees:

Hire for filling.

Hire for a candidate’s unique abilities. Since we are all unique, there is no way to judge the caliber of the talents, strengths and passions by reviewing the candidate’s exterior (candy coating). Hiring older employees may bring stability and greater loyalty; hiring younger employees may bring greater technology and energy. But the right combination of talents and passions, and a commitment to learning and growing in a particular role could be resident in either.

Develop the filling.

Engage and teach employees to augment what they know and how they use what they know. Disregard the exterior (age, gender, nationality, ethnicity, etc) when hosting training as it is the brain (filling) that responds to exceptional and clever teaching. Even M&M’s® are constantly improving with new and expanded fillings.

Mix them up for the greatest impact.

Like a bowl of mixed M&M’s®. Blending the right thinking (filling), with a diverse combination (candy coating) creates a current workforce that emulates the true population, encourages greater ideas because all backgrounds are not the same and challenges employees to see their workplace from others’ perspectives.

With M&M’s®, the coating adds very little to the value of the candy – the value is in the filling. It is the same with employees – how employees think and respond is what inspires customer loyalty and adds value for the organization.  What are you doing to hire for and develop “filling?”

More about employee training and retention on the Mindflash blog.

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Jay Forte is a nationally ranked thought leader and President of Humanetrics. Jay guides organizations – their leaders and managers – in how to attract, hire and retain today’s best talent. He is the author of “Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition” and “The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform The World.” Jay is a member of SHRM, ASTD, the National Speakers Association and the Florida Speakers Association. follow him on Twitter.