Employees are an organization’s most important resources, and Minnesota-based Presbyterian Homes & Services has found a process to identify up-and-coming talent and develop mid-level managers within its communities.

Talent Talk is the nonprofit senior housing and healthcare provider’s talent identification program that builds an internal pipeline for key positions by developing and retaining current employees. Presbyterian Homes presented information on the program Thursday during the LeadingAge Annual Meeting Virtual Experience.

Under the program, site leaders, clinical administrators, nutrition and culinary leaders, environmental services directors and human resource managers can identify employees they believe have the skills, desire and potential to move into leadership positions within 18 months.

Michelle Kim, talent development specialist, said many of the company’s leaders have come up through the process.

Employees who meet core competencies and display leadership characteristics are chosen to develop-in-place through mid-level manager onboarding. The structured process can take up to a year to complete and begins with book study, role orientation and peer mentoring in the first 90 days. From there, new leader integration allows upcoming managers to build working relationships with their new teams, set expectations and answer any questions. 

“It’s designed to help the team get to know their new leader, accelerate working relationships, set expectations and goals, and give the team the opportunity to ask questions of their new leader,” Kim said. “It’s a two-way communication process. It gets that leader and team on the same page with clear expectations, goals and camaraderie.”

Susan Minar, director of education and training, said the structured process includes check-ins at 30, 90 and 180 days to connect back to the Talent Talk teams to measure how the new manager is doing in the new role and identify areas of growth and development.

In 2018, Presbyterian Homes added the Excellence in Leadership program as the next part of the onboarding process for mid-level managers. The process is completed over six months through a blended learning model that includes workshops and application of concepts on the job. Participants will finish with just more than 70 hours of leadership training through 29 online courses and training sessions.

Minar said the program was paused during the pandemic to focus on meeting the needs of residents, but the organization relaunched it in October through a virtual platform. 

As Presbyterian Homes grows and develops mid-level managers, employees participate in quarterly reviews of development plans, take on “stretch” assignments to gain experience, complete book studies and potentially enroll in degree or certification programs to boost their educational background. 

Presbyterian Homes also launched a Leadership Institute in 2017 to develop “highly competent, biblically grounded leaders who embody and extend the PHS Way,” Minar said. 

“Each cohort is designed to maximize connections and plan for future growth,” she said, adding that assignments average 10 to 20 hours each. Participants also are assigned a personal coach to help them through the process.

Kim said developing talent internally matters.

“Employees are not only the most important resource at PHS but ensure the senior services industry,” she said.