Listen to the episode right here.
Jennifer Thornton has developed her expertise in Talent Strategy & Leadership Professional Development over her exciting 20+ year career as an HR Professional.
She’s led international teams across Greater China, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S. to expand into new markets, managing franchise retailers, and developing key strategic partnerships – all while exceeding business objectives and financial results.
The rapid growth of her consulting firm 304 Coaching has been largely due to Jennifer’s unconventional approach to building innovative workforce development solutions for companies who are facing breakthrough growth and accelerated hiring patterns.
She is a sought-after business strategist, specializing in start-ups and large value-based organizations. She assists her clients in building talent strategies that complement their business strategies to ensure exponential growth.
She lives in Texas with her family and rescues. In her free time, she enjoys reading, historic preservation, remodeling her lake home, and spending time with friends.
Who is Jennifer Thornton?
As a young girl, Jennifer wanted to work in the mall and during that time working in retail she picked up the skills to be a leader at a very young age. She was learning how to manage people, pay attention to KPIs, schedule and hire, and what she needed to do to have a positive impact on the business.
Eventually, she moved into HR which progressed into an International HR career. Five years ago, Jennifer decided to try it out on her own and started 304 coaching where she now helps companies create a great culture and do their best work.
One of the secrets to Jennifer’s success is approaching HR differently from everyone else. Just like in business, doing things the way everyone else is doing them won’t help you achieve outstanding results. If you don’t start with your talent, you’re not going to win.
Building A Winning Team
Hire people that love to do what they do and make sure they don’t need to do anything else. Most job descriptions are looking for generalists and when we do that we create employees that are going to disappoint us 50% of the time and people who hate half of what they do at work. Find what your people are good at and allow your people to work in their wheelhouse.
Avoid leading from a fear-based position. The more fear you have in your work environment, the less able people are to be creative and feel secure in their work.
One of the great things about today’s world is that it’s giving us the opportunity to evaluate the way we work and find a better solution. In the past, we would just tack on additional work to fill out a full-time position, but now we have a huge number of employment options that make things more flexible.
Eliminating fear takes time. Many of the leadership best practices came from the early 1900s where the work we did was quite different. There are a million ways to make a dollar in today’s world, so as leaders we need to understand that the environment has changed and the leadership style needs to adapt.
The Power of Language
We interpret language with our own subjective filters and we have to be careful about the words we use. Language has the power to enable creativity in the workplace as well as kill it. What we have been taught in communication is very fear based and it inevitably creates more fear.
The leader who is afraid is going to manage through fear, as well as show it.
Executive coaching can be very helpful in working through your fear. Knowing you have options reduces fear. When we don’t know what is happening, we often create a fear-based story to fill in the gaps and a coach can help you write a more empowering story for yourself.
Finding and Keeping the Right People
It’s harder to find people than ever before but it’s not a shortage of workers that’s causing the issue. We have to look at how we evaluate people and be open to changing the way we do things. We have to look at people more holistically and when you lead that way you get a better result. Small things that show your appreciation for the person as opposed to their work can make a big difference.
There is no silver bullet approach to finding and keeping the best people, it’s about understanding them as an individual. Know what’s important to the people on your team, because if you don’t know, they will go to where someone does find it important.
Hiring is a long-term strategy and landing the best people is an ongoing effort. The organizations that have put in the work on employee branding are going to have an advantage in the long run. When you have a team that loves what they do, they will help you recruit other great people by advocating for you. It takes time, money, and great leadership, and everything that happens in your organization impacts your ability to make your next hire.