Tuesday, October 23, 2012

HR's 5 Most Important Talent Management Roles

I believe we will be seeing a crazy job market over the next few years.  With all indications, we are beginning the de-thawing process of our frozen economy.  Every day, I hear some better news regarding jobs, homes and economic outlooks.  I know we are not out of the woods yet, but optimism seems to dominate most conversations.

With the economy on the rebound employees get itchy feet.  Meaning...the employees that have been patient and performing during the downturn but not necessarily engaged are looking to make a change. Some reports suggest that number of "looking" employees could be as high as 80%.

So, I say all of this, to illustrate how important I think talent management is going to be over the next few years. I believe HR has the opportunity to really impact the organization by making sure the right people are in the right roles, doing the right things.

I see HR playing 5 important roles as far as talent management is concerned:

1) Strategic Role-Be a strategic planner and an executer.  Assist managers with their talent needs by creating talent forecasts.  

2) Performance Manager Role-Pay for performance and mean it.  Make sure accountability is part of the culture.  

3) Goal Cascader Role-Make sure all employees know what is expected and how they will be measured.

4) Talent Manager-Hire the best, Succession planning is a must to be competitive. Talent mobility allows organizations to be flexible and competitive.

5) Metrics Guru-Tracking measures like cost per hire and days to fill are no longer enough. It's all about being predictive using analytics.

I know HR wears many other hats besides talent management, but with the recent trend in outsourcing of administrative tasks talent management seems like a great place for HR to focus its efforts.

CEO's always cite talent as one of their top 3 concerns even during the downturn.  So, HR has the opportunity to add value and solve a business challenge at the same time by focusing on attracting the best talent, retaining that talent and increasing productivity.

What are your talent management predictions?  Is your company ready for the potential talent challenge that lies ahead?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

HR Alignment Versus HR Linkage

Over the last several years our company has been working with businesses to "align" organizational strategic goals to desired outcomes or to "align" a specific department (Like HR) with organizational goals and objectives.

It's work that is fascinating but also very complicated.  When you are dealing with strategy that is big picture, fluid and 30,000 feet high, some people have a hard time picturing how what they do in their job impacts the overall big picture.  That's where alignment and linkage come in.  By showing employees how what they do impacts other areas is key in this process.

I have begun to wonder if alignment is the right terminology or should we be using the word linkage.  Check out the definitions below:
Alignment- Arrangement or position in a straight line or in parallel lines. The process of adjusting parts so that they are in proper relative position. 
Linkage-A logical or natural association between two or more things.
I  have a definite bias, as I am a very linear thinker, so the first definition makes perfect sense to me about what we need to be doing in HR as it relates to organizational strategy:

1) "Align" what we do in HR to the business outcomes outlined in the organization's strategic plan.
2) "Align" action plans in HR to HR objectives in order to achieve the business outcomes.
3) "Align" metrics to those outcomes and actions so that progress and ROI can be tracked.

But...I can see where "linkage" is important as well.  For example, isn't HR's progress in the strategic arena often defined by "linking" to other functional areas like technology and finance?

I see HR using "linkage" in the following ways in the strategic execution process:

1) Determining which behaviors "link" to successful performance.
2) Determining which drivers "link" to more engaged employees.
3) Determining the linkage between the customer-employee experience and making that experience consistent throughout the organization.

So, I guess my answer is HR needs to do both.  We need to be tightly aligned with organizational outcomes and we also need to determine and understand the linkage between what drives our employees to perform at their highest ability.

This all sounds very easy...but trust me it isn't.

If it were all HR departments would be "aligned" to organizational outcomes and we know they aren't.

Yet, if you ask C-Level executives, their main complaint is that HR isn't adding value.  Well you can't add value until you understand HOW and WHERE the organization NEEDS HR to add value.

The first order of business is to complete a strategic business mapping exercise.  This tool allows you to clearly "see" alignment to an outcome like "increase market share" and HR objectives like developing a workforce hiring plan and a focus on HIPO retention.

What has your experience been...linkage or alignment, or both?

Monday, October 8, 2012

All Aboard the HR Metrics Train! (10 Reasons to Climb Aboard)

Cue, Ozzy Osbourne's Crazy Train music...

It's more than time...hey it's so past time.

The HR Metrics train has left the station and just a few HR professionals are on board.

Dr. Jac Fitz-Enz has spoken about this day approaching for decades.  Dave Ulrich has discussed the competencies we need to be successful on the metrics train.  I have even thrown in my two cents worth since I began writing this blog in 2008.

I know you are reading this and asking yourselves, why do I need to be on this train?

Here are my top 10 reasons for embarking on a metrics journey:

10) We are way past the piece of furniture and I will argue way past being a business partner...HR needs to become a business leader.

9) CEO's are making data based decisions PERIOD.

8) Businesses can no longer afford to be mediocre.  The same principles we use in tracking and increasing quality for our products and services must be applied to our people.

7) HR is not a hobby, it's a serious business function.  Business functions have measures that track their efficiency and effectiveness.

6) The game has changed.  The paternalistic approach to managing employees and fostering cultures of entitlement are so OVER.  It's time to be high performing in all areas.

5) HR is in a period of transition.  We are separating the transactional from the more strategic and impactful work.  But who is going to do the value added work, if HR doesn't step up its game?

4) CEO's are more demanding post recession.  They need to make sure the investment they make in people pays off in profits.  HR needs to show this relationship by telling a compelling data story.

3) Companies are importing talent INTO HR at alarming speeds.  I see major corporations bringing in business acumen talent from other business functions into HR.  I see analytics talent being imported into HR because meaningful data is not being produced from within HR.

2) HR needs skill based training that will up the game, not team building skills and culture change workshops.  (MBA.'s, statistics, finance, accounting)

1) It's the ticket for where HR has wanted to be for decades.  If you can't show your value, you don't have value.

Don't get me wrong I see positive signs of movement in this measurement direction all the time.  I spend a lot of time with HR departments ALIGNING what they do with what the organization strategy dictates.  The next natural step is to measure and track progress of that strategic execution.

Where are you in the metrics journey?  How did you get started? (#hrurarockstar)