Category Archives: Talent Management

Are You Planning For Your Future Workforce?

Accenture’s strategy group has published an interesting look at the workforce of the future:  Harnessing Revolution, Creating the future workforce. At an easily consumable 28 pages, it focuses on three primary areas of emphasis for organizations wanting to get a competitive leg up in the hyper competitive talent markets:

  1. Accelerate reskilling people
  2. Redesign work to unlock human potential
  3. Strengthen the talent pipeline from its source

If you’re starting to discuss talent acquisition, development, and retention strategies with your C-Suite, you’re a little late – and this report will be helpful in scoping out the known and unknown challenges barreling down the pike.

The report is full of good news like data presented that show workers being optimistic about the impact that technology will bring to their work life:  “…instead of resenting technology, 84 percent report being excited about the changes it will bring. A full 87 percent are downright optimistic, projecting that it will actually improve their work experience in the next five years.” So that’s some good news we’ve haven’t seen before.

As an advocate for humans and humanity in the workplace, I was especially pleased to see an emphasis in the report on the value that human skills bring to the enterprise:  “our model shows fewer jobs will be lost to automation if people are able to reallocate their skills to tasks that require more ‘human skills’ such as complex analysis and social/emotional intelligence.” The following figure shows that perhaps the gross fears of automation and job eliminations may not be grounded in fact:

The challenge of job loss due to automation is clearly real. But as this report shares, reallocation of skills will significantly decrease job loss. Accenture’s research shows that investments in reskilling the workforce will “dramatically” reduce job loss: “Estimates for Europe show that a one percent increase in training days leads to a three percent increase in productivity, and that overall productivity growth attributable to training is around 16 percent.”

The section on focusing on reskilling people is short and sweet:

  1. Reskill at the top of the house
  2. Keep building on what you have
  3. Change the mindset to “learning as a way of life”
  4. Use digital to learn digital

While, paragraphs 2 – 4 are expected, paragraph 1 is not. Accenture’s research points to a lack of technology skill and experience in the boardroom. And from a leadership perspective, leading in horizontal rather than hierarchical ways will be foundational. Investing in additional skills at the top of the house could make or break your workforce planning outcomes.

There are lots of nuggets in this report. It’s a pretty quick read and the data sources include Accenture, of course, and the likes of the World Economic Forum, Manpower Group, ILO, OECD, Harvard Business Review, Pew Research Center, INSEAD and many others. Citing these sources is one of the reasons I really like the report. This isn’t the usual white paper.

If you’re really getting into the weeds of planning for your future workforce, this is a strong addition to your data sources. Not only is the report useful, but the list of source material could keep you going for weeks.

 

 

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Filed under Accenture, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Demographics, Future of Work, Generations at work, Gig Economy, HR Data, HR Trends, Human Capital, Strategic Workforce Planning, Talent Management, Workforce Demographics, Workforce Planning

Want To Improve Your Business Outcomes?

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Last week I wrote about the new Gallup report, State of the American Workplace, and discussed some of its broader findings. This week, we’ll dig in a little more specifically.

Two of the chapters, U.S. Workers: Increasingly Confident and Ready to Leave, and The Competitive Advantage of Engaging Employees, should be required reading for all leaders as well as HR folks.

Let’s look at the chapter on U.S. workers having one foot out the door first. According to Gallup, “51% of U.S. employees say they are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings.” Think about that for a minute. A little more than half of your employees have at least one foot out the door.

Optimism about the job market is up for good reason:  hiring is up. Gallup measures job creation and reports its Job Creation Index. In 2012 the Gallup Job Creation Index averaged +18. For the first three quarters of 2016, it averaged +32. So our employees have a deservedly high level of confidence that when they leave, they can find a good replacement job fairly quickly. It’s no wonder that many of our employees have a “grass is greener” outlook.

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And, of course, all of these reasons tie into your HR strategies, policies and plans. Your approach to employee engagement should be tying in to these 5 reasons for employee resignations.

While there are many definitions for employee engagement, this really caught my eye in the report:

“Some leaders and managers believe the ultimate goal of employee engagement is higher levels of worker happiness and satisfaction. Happier workers certainly benefit an organization, but the real goal of employee engagement is improved business outcomes.”

Boom! Let me quote this again:  “…the real goal of employee engagement is improved business outcomes.” Every definition of employee engagement works here – as long as we understand the real outcome for which we’re working.

If employees are happier, they’ll work smarter and harder and quality will go up, improving our business outcomes.

If employees feel respected, they’ll be more committed and stay longer, improving our business outcomes.

If employees’ skills are developed, they’ll make greater contributions, improving our business outcomes.

If employees see a career path forward, they’ll be more committed and stay longer, improving our business outcomes.

If employees feel connected to the organization’s mission, they’ll spend more of their discretionary energy on the job, improving our business outcomes.

You get the point. As you’ll see in the chapter on The Competitive Advantage of Engaging Employees, employee engagement isn’t a nice-to-have any more. In this age of talent shortages and high turnover, employee engagement is a requirement to meet and exceed our business goals.

Gallup has been measuring employee engagement globally for a long time. In the U.S. the figures for the last 16 years are surprising. And not in a good way. They are actually alarming. Take a look:

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What’s alarming about this data is that, essentially, despite a ton of investment in programs, approaches, technology, and training, the employee engagement needle hasn’t moved since 2000. For all intents and purposes, despite our best (?) efforts, the percentage of the workforce that is either Not Engaged or Actively Disengaged hasn’t moved at all over the last 16 years. Somehow, despite our best efforts, we are not convincing our employees that we value them, that we need them, or that we want them. And they’re actively looking. Add in to the equation that there a lots of jobs available – and a lot of them are good jobs – and it’s easy to see why employees feel empowered to check out the green grass across the street or across the country.

Perhaps we aren’t speaking their language. Perhaps we aren’t letting them in as real partners in our drive for success. Perhaps we aren’t asking, or listening, or engaging. But it’s clear from this data – and a great many other sources – that the average organization needs to step up its employee engagement game.

The data are clear. Engaged employees – use definition you like – have lower turnover, lower absenteeism, higher customer metrics, higher productivity, higher sales, higher profitability – as I have been quoted saying, “everything we measure that we want to go up will go up, and everything we measure that we want to go down will down when we create a culture that values its humans.”

Download this report. Download it today and start considering how you can improve your business outcomes by engaging your employees.

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Filed under China Gorman, Culture, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, Employee Productivity, Gallup, Happiness at Work, Talent Management, Workforce Management, Workplace Culture

Got Culture?

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Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report is out. It’s a lot of information (214 pages!). But it’s important information and you’ll enjoy the most current data from this global collector and analyzer of work related data.

We talk about employee engagement – or some other euphemism for connecting with employees in a human, caring way – all the time. We get at our data through the famous surveys from organizations like Gallup, Great Place to Work™, Quantum Workplace, or Workplace Dynamics – or any of a hundred other providers of culture measurement and strengthening solutions. And we compete in geographical and industry competitions all over the world to claim one of the top spots in great organizational culture lists. All of this to attract and retain world class employees.

I’m a big believer that culture trumps most every other organizational dynamic in the war for talent, innovation, profitability, top line growth, competitiveness and any other thing you might measure. I’ve been quoted frequently as saying that “strong, positive  cultures improve everything we measure that we want to go up, as well as reducing everything we measure that we want to go down.” And it’s true. But intentionally creating and managing the right kind of culture is getting more difficult as the world gets more and more complex: 4 or 5 generations in the workplace; Big Data and Artificial Intelligence; globalization; nationalism; terrorism; population growth; global warming – the list of external dynamics – some might say threats – impact  our organizations’ success as well as how we relate with our employees seems to grow every day.

So, I appreciate organizations that collect data, make sense of it, and then make it available to all of us. I appreciate them a lot. And Gallup does a better job than most. This report, State of the American Workplace, has a ton of interesting data in it. You probably don’t want to read it in one sitting, but you do want to read it all.

In the executive summary, the report lays out the roadmap for leaders to follow in creating organization sustainability:

  • design and deliver a compelling and authentic employer brand
  • take employee engagement from a survey to a cultural pillar that improves performance
  • approach performance management in ways that motivate employees
  • offer benefits and perks that influence attraction and retention
  • enable people to work successfully from locations besides the office
  • construct office environments that honor privacy while encouraging collaboration
  • improve clarity and communication for employees who work on multiple teams

Sounds simple, I know; but any leader who has tried to create a stronger culture knows that this is hard stuff. It’s 3 steps forward, 2 steps back stuff. And Gallup has the data to back it up.

The executive summary ends with this:

“The one thing leaders cannot do is nothing. They cannot wait for trends to pass them by, and they cannot wait for millennials to get older and start behaving like baby boomers.”

The chapters are mini culture theses in themselves:

  1. U.S. workers: increasingly confident and ready to leave
  2. Do employees want what your workplace is selling?
  3. The real truth about benefits and perks
  4. The competitive advantage of engaging your employees
  5. A shift in managing performance
  6. A closer look at the 12 elements of engagement
  7. Making sense of matrixed teams
  8. The changing place and space of work

I encourage you to delve into these chapters and consider the data, the analysis and the conclusions in each. In chapter 2, data are shared that might motivate you to reconsider how you think your employment candidates are evaluating your organization as a potential employer:

gallup-american-workplace-2017-1

Increase in income potential and a well-known brand are not as important as they once were. Did you know that?

There are a number of similar “ah-ha” data points in this report. They are easily accessible, simply constructed and are potential game changers as you think about your organization’s culture and its impact on your ability to retain and acquire the talent you need.

Download it here. I think you’ll gain surprising new insights.

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Filed under Big Data and HR, China Gorman, Company Culture, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, Employee Satisfaction, Gallup, Generations at work, HR Analytics, HR Data, HR Trends, Human Capital, Talent Analytics, Talent Management, Workplace Culture

Racing For Talent

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Sometimes research results are organized in complex and hard to consume ways. We’ve all seen those reports, academic treatises and white papers. And then, all too rarely, there are research results that are organized and easily consumable. Here’s one of the good ones: Randstad Sourceright’s 2016 Talent Trends Report. Not only is the information easily accessed, it has a catchy organizing principle: Formula One racing. I know, it seems a bit of a stretch, but it actually works quite well – and Randstad has been the official partner of the Williams Martini Racing Team since 2006. So there’s that.

The report organizes Randstad’s findings into 5 themes, and each theme has a number of trends that their research has identified. Each trend takes a page, and at the end of each theme there is theme/survey summary. The graphics are good and easily understood, and data are compelling. Truly, there’s a nugget (or 3 or 8) for everyone who touches talent.

The 5 themes are:

  1. Navigating a dynamic course
  2. Relying on an agile team
  3. A holistic approach powers talent capabilities
  4. Execute winning tactics
  5. Firing on all cylinders accelerates talent strategy

So those all fit into the racing formula, but it’s the trends that are really compelling. The trends identified within the first and last themes were the most interesting to me:

  1. Navigating a dynamic course
  • Talent is king
  • The impact of regulations on gig workers
  • Talent scarcity threatens business
  • Prepare for a demographic time bomb
  • Reverse brain drain accelerates
  • Employers look to global mobility for talent

We know about all of these trends – or, at least we should. And each trend is supported by data, real world examples and tips for aligning your business and HR practices to support your success. Very useful.

The fifth theme breaks down in the following way:

  1. Firing on all cylinders accelerates talent strategy
  • The evolution of total talent analytics
  • Technology redefines the meaning of remote working
  • Gamification goes mainstream
  • HR accelerates the Internet of Things
  • HR technology integration remains the holy grail
  • Workforce automation heats up
  • Sourcing methodologies and human intelligence become more intertwined

The graph below, in the Theme 1 Summary, is a sample of the kinds of survey responses Randstad collected. And, if you need a wakeup call about the impact of talent scarcity, here it is:

Randstad Talent

Look at the adverse consequences of not having access to the talent you need: threatened leadership continuity and succession, disrupted existing businesses, limited business growth, and delayed product/services launches. These are enormous impacts to the bottom line and future of your organization. If you ever needed data to support greater investment in talent acquistion resources, this would be it.

And in the Theme 5 Summary, this graph looks at which HR technologies are actually enhancing the attraction of quality talent:

Randstad Talent 2

Have you checked out recruitment marketing platforms? How robust are your talent analytics dashboards? Do you provide candidates self-service tools? These are all working for employers around the world in helping to effectively combat talent scarcity.

This is a data-rich, insight-rich report. It’s beautifully organized, the insights are easily consumed, and the data are depicted in simple and engaging visuals. I like this report. A lot. And I suspect I will revisit it more than once.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Analytics, HR Data, Randstad Sourceright, Recruiting, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management

Does Your CEO Have a Higher Purpose?

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Each year I look forward to the pwc CEO survey findings. And they’re just out. You can see their top ten findings here.

If you’re in HR you need to know what your CEO is thinking about. What she’s worried about. What keeps him up at night. What she’s planning to tackle in the next several years. And if you don’t have access to your CEO, this survey can help you make sure you’re preparing for what may be coming down the pike. These survey results could help you be brilliant for your organization – and for your CEO.

The top ten issues for 2016 identified by U.S. CEOs in the survey are fascinating. They cover regulation, cyber security, tax reform, doing deals, paying attention to customers, investors, employees – and understanding the organization’s higher purpose. A virtual smorgasbord for HR!

Top issues CEOs are expecting to confront in 2016 include:

  1. U.S. market prospects will outshine the low-growth world

  2. Over-regulation will continue to pose a threat to business growth

  3. Regionalization in trade and divergence in economic models and regulatory frameworks, with threats to open Internet

  4. Customers and other stakeholders will expect business to demonstrate a higher purpose over the coming years

  5. Prospects will improve for laying the groundwork for U.S. tax reform

And, in 2016, U.S. CEOs will plan to:

  1. Strengthen the technology foundation to set their business apart

  2. Do more deals, especially domestically

  3. Hold fast in China, while recognizing the bumps along the way

  4. Anticipate the needs of future customers and other stakeholders

  5. Prepare the Millennials for leadership roles

I’m fascinated that 3 of the top ten land squarely in HR’s court: demonstrating a higher purpose (that’s culture), anticipating the needs of…stakeholders (that’s talent), and preparing Millennials for leadership roles (that’s talent development). If you ever wondered whether or not your CEO thinks about HR, the answer is a resounding YES in 2016.

I’m particularly intrigued with the higher purpose issue. It’s no secret that bringing humanity into the workplace is a topic on the minds of many business leaders. Having CEOs concerned that customers, investors, employees, strategic partners all want in on the higher purpose is pretty darned interesting. What are you doing to help the organization understand and communicate its higher purpose this year?

pwc CEO survey 2016 1

Anticipating the needs of customers and employees is another thought provoking issue. Addressing employee needs like wellness – physical and financial, parental leave, career development, and providing opportunities to contribute to society are clearly articulated needs of today’s U.S. employees. Are you helping your CEO provide options to meet these needs?

And preparing Millennials for leadership roles is front and center, isn’t it? Investing in their development brings a number of benefits to the organization in addition to deepening your leadership bench. Millennials frequently report that learning and skills development are as – or more – important than compensation growth. Many report that they leave their employers in search of learning and growth opportunities. Investment in their leadership development undoubtedly impacts retention in a positive way. Are you beefing up your succession plan and its supporting programs?

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My guess is that most HR practitioners and leaders are currently thinking about these 3 priorities, among a long list of others. Isn’t it nice to know that your CEO may just be ready to help you tackle these issues?

The bigger question may be, are you ready for your CEO to start asking “what’s the plan?”

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Filed under CEOs pwc, China Gorman, Company Culture, Data Point Tuesday, HR, Leadership Development, Organization Values, pwc, Strategy, Talent Management, Uncategorized, Workplace Culture

How Bad is Your Succession Management?

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84% of organizations report having a lack of candidates in the pipeline ready to assume open and critical positions.

That’s not good, folks. As we wring our hands on the lack of talent in the external pipeline, perhaps we should be spending more time attending to the skills and development of the folks already in the organization!

Laci Loew, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Brandon Hall Group, recently published their State of Succession Management 2015. If your organization is in the 84% of organizations above, this report will be helpful in laying out the challenge, what and how high performing organizations in this regard are executing differently, and how to think about the first steps of moving your succession planning needs forward. The report is a great read and has some pretty terrific content and data included.

This graph gives you a taste of what you can expect in terms of getting started as well as what successful outcomes are from both succession management and business focus perspectives.

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The report outlines 7 critical findings of Brandon Hall’s research on this topic:

  1. Talent pipeline health continues to threaten leadership continuity.

  2. Succession management commitment is on the rise with prioritization for a formal strategy for all parts of the organization.

  3. Technology is under-utilized, hindering efficiency of succession management.

  4. Successor development as a critical component of succession management is improving.

  5. Lateral mobility takes center stage as a critical successor development strategy.

  6. Using predictive analytics to proactively plan for critical position vacancies will separate organizations with effective succession management from less effective organizations.

  7. Today’s succession management budgets are modest at best, but expected to expand significantly over the next 12 months.

The insights fleshed out in each of these key findings are critical reading for any talent management professional. And you’ll also get some useful data to use in building the ROI for succession management investment in next year’s budget.

The report is published by Skillsoft and can be accessed here. At 34 pages, this is a solid piece of analysis and a useful and highly practical read.

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Filed under Brandon Hall Group, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Laci Loew, Skillsoft, Succession Planning, Talent Management, Talent pipeline

Which Comes First, Economic Performance or Best in Class HR?

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The Boston Consulting Group recently released the eighth report in their Creating People Advantage series. This year’s survey report, “Creating People Advantage 2014-2015: How To Set Up Great HR Functions: Connect, Prioritize, Impact” included responses from 3,507 people in 101 countries across industries such as industrial goods, consumer goods, and the public sector. 64 HR and non-HR executives from leading companies across the world were also surveyed. The result was a report that explores key trends in people management by considering 10 broad HR topics and 27 subtopics. Key findings from the report included the following:

  • HR capabilities correlate with economic performance
  • Analytics and key performance indicators (KPI’s) give HR a seat at the table
  • KPI’s should link to strategic action
  • Globally, leadership and talent management topics are reported as in most need of urgent action
  • HR departments must be more consistent with investment decisions
  • HR needs to listen more to internal clients

HR topics ranked by urgencyAn important central finding of BCG’s survey was the correlation between HR capabilities and financial performance. BCG isolated the top 100 and bottom 100 companies based on financial performance and found that organizations stronger in people management have respectively higher financial performance than those organizations without strong people management. Among these high performers no HR subtopic was reported as in need of urgent action, which directly contrasts with the organizations with the worst financial performance, which reported need for urgent action across nearly all 27 HR subtopics. BCG points out that this has been a consistent finding among their past reports as well as in publically available research, referencing the share prices over the last decade of publicly listed companies that have made the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For List, produced by Great Place to Work. The most successful people companies regularly outperform the market by nearly 100%. One offered explanation for the superior HR achievement of high performers is their strategic allocation of investment. BCG’s report found that high performers strategically allocate their efforts, making sure to accurately distinguish between high and low priorities and distributing resources accordingly. Low performing organizations had a more unreasoned approach to allocating importance and often-misaligned investments, with the level of importance not necessarily correlating to their biggest areas of investment. Organizations should make sure they have a process in place to clearly identify HR subtopics/people management practices that are most important to their organization.investment methods

HR leaders looking to have “a seat at the table” for strategic discussions within their organizations must demonstrate the business impact of HR, providing executive management with quantitative evidence of how HR supports business strategic decisions. BCG’s research finds that organizations using people-related Key Performance Indicators, or tools such as simulations and forecasts, have greater strategic roles in their organization than companies that don’t utilize such tools. Such tools allow HR functions to measure and analyze areas such as employee productivity and people costs. High Performing Companies Data Driven

Simply put, HR functions that do not use metrics and analytics cannot play a strategic role in their organization, and furthermore, perpetuate the stereotype that HR functions should, or are better suited to work with, softer aspects of human capital management.

BCG looked at responding organizations’ perceived importance of 27 HR subtopics by region and industry, using an urgency metric to better understand those with the most need for action. In the majority of countries leadership was ranked (by a wide margin) as the most urgent subtopic, followed by talent management. Beyond these two subtopics, importance varied considerably by region. In the U.S, behavior and culture, along with employee engagement, ranked as more urgent than in most other countries. When breaking subtopics down by industry importance, the results were similar, with leadership, talent management, and behavior and culture ranking as most urgent across the majority of industries.

Differnces in Urgency by Country Ultimately, BCG’s report highlights three hallmarks of a great HR function that prove as critical differentiators between high and low performing organizations:

  • Connect – clearly linking HR and people strategies with business strategy
  • Prioritize – identify most urgent priorities and invest resources accordingly
  • Impact – generate and report people-based KPI’s, providing data to formulate strategic actions

Organizations that can collectively institute all three ideas create HR functions that we can describe as “best in class.” The real question to be answered, though, is “which comes first, best in class HR or strong economic performance?” If you’re in HR, I know what I hope your answer is!

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Filed under Boston Consulting Group, China Gorman, Creating People Advantage, Data Point Tuesday, HR, People Management, Talent Management