Tag Archives: Talent Development

CEOs Get It. Do HR Leaders?

data point tuesday_500Here’s another survey analysis and report that should be required reading for all HR professionals: pwc’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey. The survey looks at how business leaders are finding new ways to compete in “an era of unprecedented digital change.” I know, it sounds like another consulting firm’s move to make the complicated even more complicated and gin up their sales. But I didn’t find this analysis to be that. Instead, I found it useful to put context around some of our biggest challenges and opportunities. 1,322 CEOs in 77 countries were interviewed: 125 in Central and Eastern Europe; 459 in Asia Pacific, 94 in the Middle East and Africa; 330 in Western Europe; 167 in Latin America and 147 in North America. This was truly a global survey.

The survey findings are grouped into 5 themes:

  • Growth
  • Competition
  • Technology
  • Partnering
  • Diversity

The first four themes are fairly predictable – and they all have some impact on talent strategies and HR functions – but the fifth, Diversity, might be a surprise to you. Think about it. More than 1,300 CEOs around the world were interviewed for this survey. Would you have predicted that Diversity was among the 5 most critical themes to emerge? You might have hoped for it, but would you have predicted it?

This survey analysis report is a roadmap for HR to anticipate what’s coming in terms of focus and strategy from the CEO. The report is not long. You could read it in an hour. And come away with some critical new business perspectives that will make your HR strategies and plans align with the real world – as your CEO sees it – and support your business’s growth plans.

I’ll share just two graphics that I found interesting. The first shows the range of risks that CEOs are beginning to be concerned about:

pwc CEO Survey June 30 2015CEOs were asked how concerned they were about a list of potential economic, policy, social and business threats to their organization’s growth prospects. You can see the list above. Do you see that the threat of not having access to necessary skills is a greater threat then cyber security? Than the speed of technological change? Than Geopolitical uncertainty? Do you see that of the list they could choose from, CEOs chose the threat of not having access to necessary skills as the second most concerning threat to their organization’s growth processes?

That seems big to me. So, are your talent acquisition, development and retention strategies and programs developing fast enough to address this concern?

The second chart I will share shows just how all-pervasive and consistent the lack of talent concern is for CEOs:

pwc CEO Survey 2 June 30 2015The question posed to these CEOs was “what one capability do you think will be most critical for tomorrow’s CEO’s to cultivate?” The choices were:

  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Customer Focus
  • Collaboration
  • Digital Astuteness
  • Personal Qualities (e.g. honesty, integrity)
  • Adaptability
  • Knowledge and Skills
  • Talent Acquisition and Management

It wasn’t surprising to me that out of that list of 10 critical future CEO capabilities that Strategic Thinking would be first on the list of necessary capabilities. And it’s first by a mile. But look at what is in second place: Talent Acquisition and Management! I’ll bet you wouldn’t have predicted that.

This suggests to me that CEOs see lack of skills as such a big concern that they are going to involved personally with reducing that threat. Are you ready for your CEO to be actively involved in setting and executing your talent acquisition and development strategy? I’m not thinking that their involvement would be a bad thing. Quite the contrary. But I’m not sure the average HR department is ready to add their CEO to the team.

In my mind, these two graphs, and the subtext of the survey report, show that talent is becoming one of the most critical competitive advantages for business growth worldwide. And CEOs know it. The lack of talent/skills is clearly being evaluated by CEOs all over the world – in every sector and in every size of business – as their Achilles Heel. So CEOs get it. The big question is, does HR get it?

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Filed under CEOs pwc, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Diversity, HR, Strategy, Talent Acquisition, Talent development

Improve Corporate Performance: Invest in Leadership/Talent Development

data point tuesday_500The relationship between talent and financial performance has been an “intuitive” given to enlightened leaders for a long time.

“Top executives intuitively understand that they cannot win without the right people and the right skills.”

Thanks to recent work by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) it’s no longer intuitive. The data are in and they are convincing. BCG fielded its Global Leadership and Talent Index survey of 1,263 CEOs and HR directors of global companies in 85 countries. The results are compelling to say the least.

The high level findings include:

  • Leadership and talent management capabilities have a surprisingly strong correlation with financial performance. “Talent Magnets” – those companies that rated themselves strongest on 20 leadership and talent management capabilities – increased their revenues 2.2 times as fast and their profits 1.5 times afast than “talent laggards,” or those companies that rated themselves the weakest.
  • The performance spread on leadership and talent management capabilities was wide. The talent magnets had an average capability score of 2.5 (on a scale of -3 to 3), while the talent laggards had an average score of -2.2.
  • Companies – even talent laggards – that move up just one level will experience a distinct, measurable, and meaningful business performance return.

With organizations spending an estimated $40 Billion (yes, Billion!) worldwide on leadership and talent development, these findings may enable leaders all over the world to re-orient their priorities, investmemts and behavior on talent/leadership development and gain the critical involvement and support with all the members of the C-suite.

Through their research BCG divided leadership/talent management capabilities into six categories:

  • Strategy
  • Leadership and talent model
  • Talent sourcing
  • People development
  • Engagement
  • Culture

And it’s interesting to note their definitions require a great deal of accountability from leaders. This is a differentiated approach and one that should spur some thoughtful analysis by HR leaders. The chart below lays out the performance differences between the lowest organization performers – Talent Laggards and the highest organization performers – Talent Magnets and the average performers in between.

BCG May 5 2015 3Interesting, yes? What’s even more interesting, then, are the data connecting these leadership/talent management performance levels with business outcomes. Take a look:

BCG May 5 2015 2In addition to proving the real correlation between leadership/talent management performance and financial performance, a valuable take away from this data is BCG’s conclusion that

“The companies that excel at leadership and talent management have figured out how to involve their leaders, not just the HR team, meaningfully and regularly in people development. “

The one-two punch of investment in leadership/talent development and significant accountability of senior leaders should help HR leaders around the world create successful business cases for moving leadership/talent development investments forward. Let’s get ready to rumble…

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Filed under Boston Consulting Group, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Analytics, HR Data, Leadership Development, Talent development

Our Shaky Millennial Education Foundation

data point tuesday_500It’s the definition of a counter-intuitive statement: the Millennial generation has attained the highest levels of education of any previous American generation, yet on average demonstrates weak skills in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments compared to their international peers. This is a tough realization to stomach for a number of reasons. Not only is it disheartening to hear, and confusing considering the exorbitant and rising costs of education in the U.S., but Millennials are estimated to make up 50% of the employee population by 2020 and will shape the economic, political and social landscape for years to come (so their skills are important, to say the least). What though, will the impact of the predicted skills shortage look like? A new report by The Educational Testing Service (ETS) begins to answer that question, bringing to attention a topic that is of growing interest to a broad range of constituencies.

ETS’s report uses data from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) to explore this topic. ETS asks why we should we pay attention to these findings, when some argue that comparative international assessments do not yield valid results. The PIAAC though, is not the only study to raise these concerns. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) as well as organizations such as The College Board and ACT, all report similar findings. In 2013, the NAEP found that 74% of U.S. 12th graders were below proficient in mathematics and 62% were below proficient in reading, and the College Board reported that 57% of SAT takers failed to qualify as “college ready.” Additionally, ACT recently reported that close to 31% (1 out of 3) high school graduates taking the ACT exam failed to meet any of the four college readiness benchmarks in English, math, reading, and science. These findings – besides the fact that any question of inadequate education or skills for our nation’s youth and future generations should always top of mind – tells us that yes, we should pay attention to such findings.

The PIACC is unlike school-based surveys (which focus on specific ages or grades of in-school students) and was designed as a household study of nationally representative samples of adults age 16-65. ETS’s report disaggregates the PIAAC data for Millennials (young adults born after 1980 who were 16–34 years of age at the time of the assessment). Let’s take a closer look at some of the top findings.

U.S. Millennials scored lower in literacy, numeracy, and PS-TRE (problem solving in technologically rich environments) than their global counterparts. Out of 22 participating countries, U.S Millennials:

  • Ranked above only Spain and Italy in literacy
  • Ranked last in numeracy (alongside Italy and Spain)
  • Ranked last in PS-TRE (alongside the Slovak Republic, Ireland, and Poland)

March 24 2015 PIAAC Proficiency Levels

ETS compared top-performing and low-performing U.S Millennials with their global counterparts and examined the inequality in score distribution and found that:

  • Top-performing U.S. Millennials (90th percentile) scored lower than top-performing Millennials in 15 of the 22 participating countries (only scoring above Spain)
  • Low-performing U.S. Millennials (10th percentile) ranked last along with Italy and England/Northern Ireland (scoring lower than Millennials in 19 participating countries)
  • There was a higher gap in scores (139 points) between U.S. Millennials at the 90th and 10th percentiles in the U.S than in 14 other participating countries (signaling a high degree of inequality in the distribution of scores)

March 25 2015 Numeracy Score Gaps 10th-90th Percentile

ETS also explored how Millennials with educational attainment perform over time and in relation to their peers internationally. They found that since 2003, the percentages of U.S. Millennials scoring below level 3 in numeracy (the minimum standard) increased at all levels of educational attainment.

ETS’s data highlight that despite rising levels of higher education attainment by U.S. young adults since 2003, the numeracy scores of U.S. Millennials, whose highest level of education is high school and above high school, have declined. ETS additionally found that:

  • S. Millennials with a 4 year bachelor’s degree scored higher in numeracy than their counterparts in only two countries (Poland and Spain),
  • The scores of U.S. Millennials whose highest level of educational attainment was either less than high school or high school were lower than those of their counterparts in almost every other participating country, and
  • Our best-educated Millennials (those with a master’s or research degrees) only scored higher than their peers in Ireland, Poland, and Spain.

Demographics also play a role in the performance of U.S. Millennials, and ETS noted that:

  • There was a strong relationship between parental levels of educational attainment and skills in all countries
  • Across all levels of parental educational attainment, there was no country where Millennials scored lower than those in the U.S.
  • The gap in scores between U.S. Millennials with the highest level of parental educational attainment and those with the lowest was among the largest of the participating countries.
  • In most countries, native-born Millennials scored higher than foreign-born Millennials (however native-born U.S. Millennials did not perform higher than their peers in any other country)

As ETS puts it, their “…primary concern is not to bemoan the nation’s declining status…. [but instead to] highlight deeper social issues concerning not only how we compete in a global economy, but also what kind of future we can construct when a sizable adult population—especially the millennials—lacks the skills necessary for higher-level employment and meaningful participation in our democratic institutions”. This report contains tough, but extremely meaningful data, and should be a huge indicator to the business, academic and political leaders of the U.S that our policies around education need urgent and major overhauling. As a business leader, I can’t grow my business unless my team has the skills needed to grow my business. It’s that simple. The sustainability of business in the U.S. is built on an unsustainable and very shaky educational foundation. We all need to ask ourselves: “what are we doing about this?”

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What War for Talent?

Data Point TuesdayAccenture’s 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey compares the expectations and perceptions of 2014’s university graduates with the realities of the working world according to both 2012 and 2013 graduates. This comparison casts a focused and specific lens on the issue of entry-level talent development, and gives us some insightful data. Accenture’s survey underlines that at the end of the day, many organizations are not effectively developing their entry-level talent. When we consider that 69% of 2014 graduates state that more training or post-graduate education will be necessary for them to get their desired job, we see that organizations are likely facing a major talent supply problem. New graduates and entry level talent’s perceive that their organizations will provide them with career development training: 80% of 2014 graduates expect that their employer will provide the kind of formal training programs necessary for them to advance their careers. Despite this, the percentage of graduates that actually receive such training is low, creating a significant discrepancy between expectation and reality.Expectation vs Reality

Another concern when it comes to recent college graduates is that 46% (nearly half) of 2012/2013 graduates working today report that they are significantly underemployed (i.e. their jobs do not really depend on their college degrees). This statistic was at only 41% a year ago.Entry Level UnderemployedAccenture’s survey found that 84% of 2014 graduates believe they will find employment in their chosen field post graduation, and 61% expect that job to be full time. Again, we find a stark contrast between expectation and reality, with just 46% of 2012/2013 grads reporting holding a full-time job – 13% percent have been unemployed since graduation. How long do recent graduates stay at the jobs they do have? More than half (56%) of 2012/2013/2014 graduates have already left their first job or expect to be gone within one or two years. Is this be a reflection on the lack of development for entry-level talent? It seems more than plausible…

Recent graduates are also finding discrepancies between expectations and realities when it comes to income and job prospects. Of the 13% of 2012/2013 grads who have been unemployed since graduation, 41% believe their job prospects would have been enhanced had they chosen a different major (72% expect to go back to school within the next five years). Among Accenture’s 2014 survey respondents, 43% expect to earn more than $40,000 at their first job, however, just a minimal 21% of the 2012/2013 graduates that are in the workforce are actually earning at that level. 26% of these graduates report making less that $19,000, a concerning figure when roughly 28% of 2014’s graduates will finish school with debt of more than $30,000.

Accenture’s study does point to some silver linings, however. Increasingly, college students are turning an eye towards what they can do to be more market relevant. 75% of those who graduated this year took into account the availability of jobs in their field before selecting their major, compared to 70% of 2013 graduates and 65% of those in the class of 2012. Another positive is that 72% of 2014 graduates agree or strongly agree that their education prepared them for a career (compared to 66% of 2012/2013 grads) and 78% feel passionately about their area of study. 63% of 2014 graduates stated that their university was effective in helping them find employment opportunities, an increase from 51% among their recently graduated peers. Recent graduates are also increasing their chances of employment by being geographically flexible. 74% of 2014 graduates said they would be willing to relocate to another state to find work and 40% of those would be willing to move 1,000 miles or more to land a job.

Accenture’s study does, however, put into question many of the highly publicized reports that point to human capital/talent acquisition issues as a #1 concern in the C-Suite. If talent is the #1 issues, where is the attention to entry-level talent? Is the attention being placed exclusively on development for upper-level positions? It’s clear that there are multiple factors influencing graduates’ struggles for acceptable employment, including the rise of part-time and contingent work, but training and development is an important part of any entry-level position. The survey points to six areas in which organizations can focus on to help meet talent supply challenges:

  1. Reassess hiring and retention strategies
  2. Hire based on potential, not just immediate qualifications
  3. Use talent development as a hiring differentiator
  4. Remember that tangibles matter, even to Millennials
  5. Cast the net more widely
  6. Use talent development and other benefits as part of a total rewards and attraction approach

These are logical conclusions. But perhaps the biggest logical conclusion is that organizations are just paying lip service to the so-called war for talent and aren’t convinced that the there is, in fact, a shortage of talent. Am I wrong?

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Filed under Accenture, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Human Capital, Millennials, Professional Development, Talent development

Good News From Your L&D Department!

Data Point Tuesday

A 2014 report from Bersin by Deloitte, “The Corporate Learning Factbook 2014: Benchmarks, Trends, and Analysis of the U.S. Training Market” relays some positive information regarding investment in employee development. Businesses increased training budgets by an average of 15% last year, reflecting the highest growth rate in this area in the last seven years, and also likely that as the economy continues to mend, organizations are able to reinvest in areas that experienced significant cost cutting during the downturn. At a time when there is discussion of a lack of specified skills in the talent pool, this would appear to be welcome news, particularly because this investment applies not only to short term training. For mature organizations this training budget involves identifying capability gaps now and into the future and combats them by developing a “supply chain” of skills to fill gaps in the long term.Bersin by Deloitte

How much are organizations spending on these increased L&D budgets? On average in 2013, businesses across the United States spent $1,169 per learner. This amount varies by company size and industry, with tech firms leading the pack in terms of amount invested per learner (spending an average of $1,847). As far as which areas of training and development organizations are focusing their increased budgets on, leadership development takes the largest share, with 35 cents on average of each training dollar going to leadership development at all levels. This certainly suggests this is an important strategic investment for companies in the coming year. As the study reports, “more than 60% of all companies cite leadership gaps as their top business challenge”.

Spending on L&D initiatives is likely to be higher for organizations with a more “mature” L&D function. Those ranked at either 3 or 4 on Bersin by Deloitte’s maturity model spent an average of 37% more on training and development than the least mature organizations. Here at Great Place to Work, we can certainly attest to the fact that organizations on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For list invest significantly in training and development programs. In 2013, companies on the list offered 66.5 hours of training annually for salaried employees and 53 hours of training for hourly employees, with close to 70% of those hours devoted to employees’ current roles and nearly 40% focused on growth and development. Though they display impressive training and development programs, many of these Best Companies cited employee development as remaining an area of focus, with 3 key areas highlighted: Leadership Development (reflecting the data from Bersin by Deloitte), Career Road-mapping, and Diversity Development.

This investment trend is good news for employers and employees alike. Employers will have greater inventories of skills in-house and may not have to turn to the marketplace as often – or expensively – in coming years to support basic business operations. Additionally, by providing skills development to younger workers who are arriving with significant skills deficits, employers may be staunching the early talent drain from their organizations. And employees of all ages continue to need growing support to expand their knowledge and skill bases as the world of work continues to evolve and certain skills het harder and harder to find.

But the opportunity to develop management and leadership skills may be the most valuable investment for both sides of the employee-management relationship. It prepares the next generation of organizational leaders, it communicates a commitment to employees’ futures and it strengthens the ties between these two sides of the employment equation. That high performing employers are spending 40% of corporate learning dollars on their future leadership talent would be a compelling component of any employer’s employee value proposition.

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Filed under Bersin, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Deloitte, Great Place to Work, Leadership, Learning/Development, Skills Gap, Talent development

What Gets Your Employees Out of Bed in the Morning?

SHL Talent Analytics™ has published a white paper that you need to read if you are involved with acquiring, developing or managing talent.  And that would be everyone in HR.  The SHL Talent Report: Big Data Insight and Analysis of the Global Workforce is a thorough review of the state of talent – especially leadership talent – around the world.  Using their vast global supply of data from organizational surveys, almost 4 million assessments from almost 200 countries, and the work of 300+ occupational psychologists, authors Eugene Burke and Ray Glennon provide compelling insights into the state of today’s talent as well as opportunities to prepare tomorrow’s talent for success.

The white paper covers the following talent issues with data that is deep and makes it easily understandable:

  • Leadership
  • Innovation
  • Organizational Risk
  • Diversity
  • Global Distribution of Critical Skills

Each section is compelling and could stand alone in its organizational usefulness.  At 72 pages long, though, it’s a not a tough read.

I was particularly taken with the section on Diversity.  Its discussion of gender and leadership should be required reading for all those involved in the acquisition and development of talent headed to the C-Suite.  (I wrote about that here recently.)

But even more interesting was the discussion of generational differences.  This is a topic that won’t go away for those in the talent management business –for good reason!  Burke and Glennon believe “it’s not really about gender and generations…it’s about the best person for the job and having managers who know how to leverage differences effectively.”

Right.  How many times have we heard this?  But the data they share are compelling.

I’ve seen a great deal of analysis that show that, while the values differences between generations are more a difference in  order of importance than a complete difference in values, these data show the impact of the difference in order of importance in a pretty dramatic visual:

Think about the beleaguered manager in your organization who has all three generations represented on their team.  Do you think they understand these motivational and values differences?  Do you think they interact and communicate differently with their team members in order to engage their team?  Do you think they have the skills to leverage these generational differences in ways that motivate their team to greater productivity and efficiency?  Do you think they could use these insights to become a more effective leader?

What would be the impact on turnover, engagement and performance if all the managers in your organization had these insights and knew how to leverage them?

And, oh by the way, what gets you up in the morning?

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Filed under Baby Boomers, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, GenX, HR Analytics, HR Data, Millennials, SHL, Talent development

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the C-Suite…

The Career Engagement Group from New Zealand recently conducted  an online survey of over 1,000 employed people ages 18-65.  The focus of the survey was to understand the career aspirations, agility and drivers of the current workforce across key demographics such as gender, age and career stage.

Maybe because the survey originated in New Zealand, some different questions were asked than the usual employee engagement surveys we see so routinely today.  It’s always good to get a different take on what’s important.

One of the subjects covered that seemed out of the ordinary was Leadership Aspiration.  Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I’ve ever been asked – in the many engagement and career development surveys I’ve taken – if I wanted to lead at the most senior level in an organization.  It’s a great question.  And the answers surprised me.  How about you?

Leadership Aspirations & Gender & Generations

  • Only 11% of all respondents want to lead at the most senior level in an organization.
  • Women report lower leadership aspirations than men – 15% of all males aspire to senior leadership positions, while only 9% of all females had similar aspirations.
  • Younger people have higher leadership aspirations overall.

Hmmm.  Only 11% of all respondents want to lead at the most senior level in an organization!  That surprises me.  A lot.  I would have loved to have seen the breakdown in responses by age group as well as gender.  Because I might have thought that the younger generations might be less interested in the stress and costs of leadership at the top than their older colleagues, but the results say otherwise according to the Career Engagement Group.

And women being less interested in leadership at the top than men?  That’s kind of a show stopper, don’t you think?  With more and more women entering the workforce around the world, this finding should be concerning.  Many industry-leading organizations are working hard to keep women in their organizations – maybe they should also be more encouraging about the value and rewards of life at the top.  According to this survey, there aren’t a lot of people — male or female –dreaming about being the CEO and making plans to get to the top.

When the demographics are already working against us (see my posts here and here) and the C-Suite is justifiably concerned about where the next generation of leaders is coming from, perhaps what’s needed is a marketing campaign to encourage workers to reach for the top.

What do you think?

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Filed under C-suite, Career Development, Career Planning, CEOs, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, Demographics, Engagement, HR Data, Leadership Aspiration, Talent development, Talent pipeline