How to equip the next generation of leaders in any industry

by Sioux Falls Development Foundation
Published 08/20/2019
Originally Published by Sioux Falls.Business

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a five-person organization or a 5,000-person one, the women delivering a breakout session at Thursday’s WIN in Workforce Summit have a message for you.

“These are foundational pieces any organization needs to be aware of today to attract and retain and keep really good employees,” said Christine Buell, director of leadership development at Avera Health.

Buell will be joined for a discussion with Linda Halliburton, associate dean of workforce education and professional development at the Community College for Sioux Falls. The breakout, titled “How to equip the next generation of leaders for any industry,” will be moderated by Pam Hanneman, vice president and business banking manager at First Premier Bank.

Their session is one of several in the area of talent attraction. The WIN Summit, presented by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, also includes expert insight in the areas of talent development and business practices.

Buell said attendees can expect a conversational discussion where she will share some of the pathways Avera has created for leadership development. In the past seven years, those experiences have been further cultivated and include programs for employees at any career stage, with a focus on lifelong learning, as well as one for those deciding to pursue leadership within Avera.

“We want to have people understand the importance of investing in employee growth,” Buell said. “So we’ll describe key features of a learning culture, recognize the benefits of leadership competency models, define shared responsibility for learning and then leave with an action plan.”

In her organization, Buell’s department works with 1,100 leaders across the Avera footprint to provide a variety of learning and leadership development experiences.

“We can now see the fruits, we’ve got the results, and we’re starting to be able to quantify some of the specifics,” she said. “We primarily measure retention rates … because these are usually the top superstars in the organization, so we measure retention and promotion because some areas tie back to individuals moving up within the organization. And we’re able to measure employee satisfaction around how they rate their immediate supervisors.”

The foundational elements apply in any organization, she added, especially as newly graduating students – dubbed Generation Z – begin to assess their employment options.

“What we are finding is these individuals need to be fulfilled. They call them the three G’s: a culture of growth, a culture of grounding and a culture of giving,” Buell said.

“It ties to so much of what Avera tries to represent. We value your work, and you have a path to grow with us. Grounding is that they want stability because they watched their predecessors go through the recession. And giving is what Avera’s mission is all about. But I don’t care how big or small a company is, these three G’s are applicable to attracting and retaining the right people, especially in leadership.”

When she’s not presenting, Buell plans to be an active participant in the summit too.

“Working in health care, we know learning exists in any industry, so I sometimes like to get out of the health care bubble and look at learning from different viewpoints, from academia to manufacturing. That just helps me be better well-rounded personally and professionally in the work I do back at Avera.”

The WIN Summit runs from 1 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Sioux Falls Convention Center.