Marsh's CTO: Leadership Behaviors to Optimize Talent Development

This month's featured guest was Joe Garbus, Chief Talent and Inclusion Officer at Marsh. The conversation was facilitated by i4cp Senior Research Analyst Tom Stone and CEO and Co-Founder Kevin Oakes. Here are some highlights from the meeting:

  • Garbus noted that as human resources professionals, we have the privilege of aligning performance contribution and organizational need, personal success with organizational success. We should all derive meaning from this work of putting programs and practices in place that optimize this alignment.
  • Garbus' broad role at Marsh is particularly interesting because it not only includes oversight of talent management and learning / leadership development, but also inclusion and diversity, an area that is often separate at other organizations. This allows him to really integrate the levers from talent and learning that can make a difference in DEI.
  • i4cp shared some of our latest research on which leadership behaviors improved the most in 2020. We conducted a survey of nearly 700 HR and business leaders in December, and out of 70 behaviors considered, only six were strongly correlated to all of the factors we considered in the study:
    • Identifies and breaks down structural silos
    • Builds relationships at all levels within the organization
    • Helps others establish productive connections/networks across the enterprise
    • Develops talent to address changing business needs
    • Sponsors top talent for visible and challenging opportunities
    • Ensures learning and best practices are freely shared across the organization
  • Garbus noted that all of these are indicative of leaders truly being human. At Marsh they found a similar result in recent years when they really focused on the purpose of the organization, and how best to unleash the human talent they had, in part by getting out of employees' way.
  • A lead domino at Marsh, Garbus noted, was showing empathy and compassion, something that started at the very top, as their CEO announced early in the pandemic that they would not have any layoffs during that time.
  • A key to success for Garbus and his team has been having really strong relationships with the business leaders, mediated by the HRBPs at the organization. This has helped lead to very large numbers of people attending virtual learning programs throughout 2020.
  • Curation of content and learning experiences is critical to optimize and help people control their own development. Relevance is key, in part because people have expectations from Google and YouTube for just-in-time learning that hits the mark every time.
  • i4cp shared the top four priorities for the i4cp CLTO Board going into 2021, which were expanded upon in the report 2021 Predictions and Priorities: C-Suites Perspective from i4cp's Boards:
    • Enabling the transition to the future workplace and workforce.
    • Developing new leadership skills at all levels.
    • Supporting systemic DEI change.
    • Enhancing employee experience in the hybrid workplace.
  • Garbus noted an interesting article by Melissa Daimler in Forbes, Three Leadership Skill Shifts for 2021 and Beyond. The three shifts are: Communication to Empathy; Emotional Intelligence to Emotional Agility; Time Management to Context Management.

Be sure to see the schedule of upcoming meetings in i4cp's Next Practices Monthly series.

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