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Talent Management

Via Forbes : Managing Talent Transitions During A Talent Crunch

According to a report published by Korn Ferry, “By 2030, all countries except India will be gripped by [technology, media and telecommunications] talent deficits,” adding that “unless governments and organizations can develop enough highly skilled workers, a talent crunch threatens the rosy forecasts for technological progress and its accompanying economic growth.”

Meanwhile, a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that almost 60% of employers have jobs that stay open for at least 12 weeks. Korn Ferry estimates that “by 2030, demand for skilled workers will outstrip supply, resulting in a global talent shortage of more than 85.2 million people” and nearly $8.5 trillion of unrealized revenue.

The founders of my current organization were former early employees of one of the earliest large-scale efforts, Linio, to create a Mexican digital revolution. Since they experienced the need to develop talent to match the pressing business and technology requirements at hand, our company valued malleable talent at its core, a reason I shifted continents to grow my technical, management and team-building capabilities.

Our six-member company began looking for technology talent to solidify our technical offerings and processes in 2017. Talented software developers were easily available, but hiring talented software testers represented a challenge. We had previously worked with talented software testers in geographies such as the U.S. and expected the same level of expertise in areas such as automation testing when we began searching for talent.

Unexpectedly, we drew a blank even in the search for talented manual software testers after a yearlong search on online job search platforms such as LinkedIn and AngelList and a few private organizations providing software testing courses. Our software development team had grown to five individuals, but the absence of any software tester mitigating the risk of frequent software deployment represented a serious vulnerability.

The lack of strong software quality talent in our country of operations gave us the idea to look outside our industry for quality assurance talent since Mexico is otherwise known as a strong manufacturing destination, in part due to the work of quality assurance professionals. Based on my experience, here’s some advice on how you can manage talent during a shortage.

Look Outside Your Industry

The key when searching for talent outside of a company’s core industry is to go to the first principles and foundations of the expectations of what the particular talent pool brings to the table. In order to minimize the cost and risk of this strategy, find the most important set of these foundational characteristics that are represented in easily hirable and transformable talent. In order to determine the specific characteristics needed for bringing in the new trainable talent, separate what skills are trainable and what abilities are essential foundations for these skills.

Our primary aim was to have on-site software testing talent and then to look remotely for expanding our talent pool, but to tackle this serious talent shortage, we began to look for remote talent. In mid-2019, we managed to hire a talented lead tester in India through our network. To expand the testing team on-site in Mexico, we began to look strategically for talent with a strong testing mindset outside the internet technology industry, with the aim of porting their testing knowledge and processes to the software testing life cycle. We were able to hire strong quality testers from the manufacturing and chemical industries for our testing team and quickly transitioned these new joiners to think in terms of software flowcharts, user experience and software vulnerabilities over a one-month training period.

We distilled the core abilities of a good software tester and concluded that having a strong logical and deductive work background, even in a non-internet company setting, would suffice. We managed to hire mathematicians and statisticians who picked up the software testing skills quickly over a three-month training period. Seeing their quick absorption of manual software testing knowledge, we guided them to pick up automation testing concepts by organizing Java programming training in-house and saw these internally trained testers pick up coding of testing systems within a few more months.

Look Within Your Company

We envisioned searching within internal teams for similarly moldable talent following the success of our original talent transition and as our organization grew larger. The most stunning outcome of our talent transition program was moving a graphic designer in the organization to our testing team based on her performance, commitment to adapt and logical bend of mind. This employee eventually turned out to be the most driven and most appreciated peer within our software testing team.

Moving employees from one department to another within an organization can be a risky process since every department espouses a distinct cultural norm, such as a fast-moving technology team as opposed to the strategically evolving brand team. Attraction to other departments’ cultural inclination and the ability to gel with different personality types in a different department are important worker aspects to maximize if you hope to have a successful transition.

Misreading the abilities involved in realizing an opportunity and misunderstanding how different the post-skill-development destination is for someone undergoing a talent transition process are challenges managers could face during this talent transition process. To overcome these, it is essential to articulate expectations and give potential transitioners ample time around their future teams well before starting a transition.

Via Human Resources Online : 5 misconceptions about talent management

Many HR practitioners aspire to nurture a pool of creative and productive talent. Here are five misconceptions about talent that could be holding your organisation back.

#1 The phrase ‘talent management’ can be considered elitist

It may come as a surprise, but some leaders actually dislike the phrase ‘talent management’. Some would prefer having 90% of employees focused on delivering their best rather than 10% identified as so-called talent – and being given preferential treatment.

According to the authors of bestselling book on leadership Now Discover Your Strengths – Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman – everyone has talents that should be drawn on in the workplace. A well rated performance and talent management system can help with this.

#2 Managerial bias in measuring talent

Managerial bias can raise concerns with succession planning – where managers choose talent in their own likeness. Managers need to be developed who can be objective about performance and the assessment of talent. It’s also recommended to recruit people managers rather than fast-tracking technical specialists without the people gene.

#3 Opting for recruited talent

Recruited talent can be a costly pitfall for many businesses. Some people present outstandingly at interview and may even be terrific performers in another line of work – but this does not mean they will perform in your company. Never underestimate the value of homegrown talent.

With homegrown talent you know the individual’s shortcomings – and it is far more that they will be loyal to your organisation. While fresh blood can sometimes give a welcome boost, homegrown talent is more cost-effective, lower risk and motivational to other employees in the team.

#4 Believing that so-called talent will automatically perform

Whether you have paid handsomely to recruit top talent into your organisation or have recruited internally, you can’t expect them to automatically live up to their reputation. Talent is often situational and it’s essential to remember that everyone – no matter how talented – must still be well-managed. New talent still needs to be on-boarded with clarity of expectations and sound management.

#5 Labelling individuals as talent could actually increase attrition rates

There is a risk of those identified as talent will become dissatisfied if career aspirations they believe they were promised are not met. Putting them on a talent pedestal can be counterproductive and could even make them more likely to leave the company if their lofty expectations aren’t met.

Via People Matters : Managing talent in the gig economy: Human capital implications

As digital technologies continue to open new connections and ways of working, the era of the gig economy will continue to thrive.

I have no idea, the company does not really have anything to do with me, and I don’t really concern myself with the company – I am just trying to get you where you want to go mister.” This was the response from my New York City Uber driver as I asked about some of the challenges facing the company during my recent visit. While it may not be fair to expect deep insights on the company strategy from a contingent worker, the response did highlight the increasing challenge of managing talent in this new gig economy.

Here in Asia, the gig economy is operating at full speed. Research by the Manpower Group, shows that India, Philippines, Indonesia, and China are among the top countries with contingent workforces. Even in Europe and North America, the use of contingent workers is rising to around 20 percent of the workforce. The McKinsey Global Institute suggests that by 2025 we might see gig or contingent workers representing up to 40 percent of the global workforce. Given this trend, it seems critical for HR leaders to have a clear sense of how to best manage this talent segment.

On the surface, managing a gig workforce seems relatively straightforward and has some clear advantages in some cases. Contingent work helps organizations save on labor and related costs. In addition, engaging gig workers can allow organizations to more quickly respond to changes and fill needs rapidly. However, managing gig workers can be a challenge as they may not have the same level of commitment, may not feel connected to the organization, and will typically not feel engaged. It, therefore, seems critical that HR leaders rethink their contingent workforce model by considering the human capital implications of culture, leadership, structure, and talent management.

Open culture

When it comes to contingent workers, how does the organization culture embrace their efforts? In some organizations, perceptions of workforce segments can create significant divisions that fester unproductive relationships. Firms that accept diversity and have an open culture may more easily embrace the unique value and contribution of the gig workforce. Creating a culture that embraces independent workers allows organizations to benefit from their ideas, engage them in innovation, and build a sense of affiliation.

Leadership communication

The leaders of organizational units will certainly have a strong impact on the culture and the views of the gig workers. If we expect the independent workforce to be engaged or at least interested in the company, then leaders need to take stock to include all types of workers in company communication and engagement. In some organizations, there is a clear accountability for the communication and engagement for the temporary staff as well as full-time employees since they are all significant stakeholders and representatives.

Structural connection

Oftentimes, there is not a formal structure for contingent workforces as the size and scale can be staggering (e.g. Grab operates with more than eight million drivers in Southeast Asia). An often over-looked area is defining who the leaders are for the contingent workers. In other words, most HR systems make sure we have clear reporting lines for authority and accountability for performance for our full-time staff. Who is the leader for your gig workers? Leading organizations that rely on contingent workers have very clear lines and even make sure that the C-Suite is actively engaged with workers of all types.

Talent management

While my HR expert colleagues will tell me that most elements of talent management (i.e. benefits, retirement, insurance, careers, performance management, etc.) do not apply to gig workers, I might suggest we reconsider. Of course, I am not suggesting that companies roll-out big benefits and employment packages to temporary or contingent work staff, but we may want to consider what else we might offer as a service. For example, one tech company offers free seminars on financial management for all employees (including gig workers) along with free access to wellness services. By taking small steps to be more inclusive with our gig workers or even considering some unique affiliation benefits (discounts at the coffee shop), we can make a bit of an impact in what might normally be a rather transactional relationship. Reviewing some of the basics in talent management for applicability in the gig workforce is a great start.

As digital technologies continue to open new connections and ways of working, the era of the gig economy will continue to thrive. As human capital leaders, we will need to challenge our conventional mindset as we consider our management practices related to employment. It is a great time to carefully review our assumptions and plans for organization culture, the orientation of leadership, the impact of firm structure, and the manner by which we approach managing talent of all types. By addressing human capital in light of the gig economy, we will be better prepared to create a great workplace for workers of all types. Who knows, perhaps next time I use a mobile app to book a ride, I will have a driver who tells me, “This is a great company and the management is working hard to make it a good place to work for people like me!”

Via Association for Talent Development : Talent Strategy and Management Is a Vital Capability for TD Professionals

With the release of its new Talent Management Capability Model, the Association for Talent Development serves TD professionals with the most comprehensive compilation of skills, concepts, and strategies necessary to fulfill their roles. It is important to emphasize that those efforts can achieve maximum impact only when guided by a comprehensive talent management (TM) strategy.

ATD’s new model groups capabilities into three domains: building personal capability, developing professional capability, and impacting organizational capability. Talent strategy and management is one of the model’s 23 capabilities and resides in the impacting organizational capability domain.

A TD professional with capability in talent strategy and management will need knowledge of:

  • talent management functions (for example, workforce planning, acquisition, employee development, performance management, and compensation and rewards)
  • succession planning and talent review processes (for example, assessment, scenario planning, talent mobility, and critical roles identification)
  • methods to identify the critical requirements of tasks, jobs, and roles (for example, job analysis, competency modeling, and leadership competency development),
  • talent acquisition strategies and concepts (for example, talent mobility, employment branding, sourcing, passive and active recruiting, and onboarding), and approaches for identifying and developing high potential talent.

According to Capabilities for Talent Development (ATD Press), to fulfill capability requirements, TD professionals need to be skilled at:

  • creating and aligning the talent development vision and strategy with the organizational and business vision and strategy
  • designing and implementing strategic plans for talent development projects, programs, or functions
  • identifying anticipated constraints or problems affecting talent development initiatives (for example, resource deficiencies or lack of support)
  • establishing and executing a marketing strategy to promote talent development
  • communicating how talent development strategies and solutions support the achievement of targeted business and organizational results
  • communicating the value of learning and professional development
  • developing workforce plans that articulate current and future talent and skill requirements designing and implementing a performance management strategy.

Among TD veterans recognized for leadership in this area is Martha Soehren, who transitioned from CTDO to senior vice president of HR at Comcast in November as she prepares for a July 2020 retirement. Throughout her career, Soehren has appreciated the importance of a multifaceted talent management strategy built on fundamentals.

“For a TM strategy to work effectively, it must be embraced from the top down,” she insists. “Over time, it evolves from the bottom up, especially in the evaluation of talent and the determination of successors for key roles within the organization.” She adds that it’s important to build a “holistic support system” for such activities rather than conduct them on a piecemeal basis.

Those activities must be tightly connected to development, Soehren says. “Regardless of whether that development is formal or informal, internal or external, high potential or broad-based, there must be a way to help build future capabilities so that people can progress and align with both short- and long-term objectives.”

But most importantly, she believes, talent management and development must be rigidly aligned with the business.

“That’s not easy and people don’t always do it,” Soehren observes. “After all, it’s difficult to build those relationships that get you a ‘seat at the table.’ We have to earn that seat by showing that we’re learning the business, that we’re operationally focused, that we ‘get’ L&D, and that we achieve measurable impact to support our initiatives.”

Soehren believes that some TD professionals are often “so tied up with the didactics of L&D that they overlook the connection between learning impact and business impact.” She says some have even abandoned the practice of measuring TD impacts entirely because their companies don’t expect a return-on-investment of training.

“That’s sure not my world,” she muses. Comcast’s senior executives expect to know the precise difference that learning makes for employees and hold her accountable. The scenario includes a heightened priority regarding inclusion of women and people of color in the workforce.

Sometimes that accountability can surface in ways one can’t envision, such as in 2014 when Comcast announced its intent to acquire Time Warner. Comcast University was ordered to identify top talent within Time Warner for possible reassignment to new roles within the combined company. For six months, Soehren and teammates visited Time Warner markets to meet with key talent and high potentials for the proposed new organization.

The merger was ultimately quashed by the U.S. Justice Department but not before Soehren and colleagues learned some valuable lessons. Among them: “When you’re going through that period of analysis, you have to evaluate the best and the weakest of both companies so that you emerge with the best of the best,” she reports.

She says that’s not an easy process because “you must accept that your own team isn’t composed of all A players, and that this is an opportunity to up your game for your organization.”

Soehren also has strategic thoughts about the future of her profession. “In the world of L&D, we haven’t nailed down what it means to work and lead within a global, digital organization. Learning leaders have a great opportunity to define what that looks like and set the stage for success—not just for the learning organization but for business leaders too,” she says.

“Learning leaders, trainers and program managers will all be operating and training differently. They will have to learn a new kind of software set and other technologies. As a result, I believe most L&D professionals will become learning coaches and learning builders.”

Via HR Technologist : Determining the Difference Between Talent Management and HR

Despite being part of the HR conversation for over 20 years, “talent management”—like love and sandwiches—remains frustratingly difficult to define. In 2020, every CEO and HR leader knows that talent management needs to be a priority in order to run a successful business. But only those that truly understand the concept can turn it into a tangible strategy and technology stack.

So, what is talent management, really? How does it differ from what we understand as traditional HR? And what are the implications of these differences? Read on to find out.

Talent Management Is Building a Workforce to Achieve Organizational Goals

Boiled down to its essence, talent management is your organization’s strategy for attracting, recruiting, retaining, and developing people. Seriously, that’s it.

Of course, what sounds really simple on the surface is actually incredibly complex. Everything from recruiting and onboarding, to compensation, performance, and employee training is part of talent management. Making matters worse, there is no blueprint for talent management success. The talent management strategy that works for a local diner won’t work for a global IT firm.

Nonetheless, the concept is always the same: Create a strategy for the success of the organization, then find and keep the best people to execute on that strategy. That’s talent management.

Talent Management Is Not an Alternative to HR

Perhaps the biggest misconception I see about talent management is that it is an evolution of HR or an alternative approach to HR for modern times, like a fad diet or a new workout program. That’s not the case.

Talent management is just one increasingly important category of HR, but one that has always been there, existing alongside three other categories: HR administration, HR service delivery, and workforce management. Here’s how they break down:

  • HR administration covers your traditional, back-office HR responsibilities. This includes things like payroll and benefits administration, but also compliance, safety, and grievance tracking.
  • HR service delivery is how you deliver information to workers. Alongside ongoing case, document, and knowledgebase management, this category of responsibilities also includes maintaining HR channels, like the HRIS or the company intranet.
  • Talent management is how you grow and maintain a competitive workforce. It touches on any process pertaining to the attraction, recruitment, retention, or development of people.
  • Workforce management is the optimization of talent resources. Budgeting and forecasting fall here, but so does anything pertaining to scheduling and time and attendance.

As it has become harder and harder to find and keep top talent, and as more businesses have prioritized their people as their most important competitive asset, it was inevitable that talent management would eventually garner the most attention and focus on these categories.

That’s not to say those other categories aren’t important. But if your HR department is still operating in a largely back-office role and struggling with talent management (looking at you, small businesses), it’s time to rethink your approach.

3 Ways Talent Management Requires a Different Approach

Transitioning from a back-office role based on compliance to a seat at the leadership table-based around strategy isn’t easy for an HR department. But with 83% of HR leaders aiming to make a measurable impact on business performance through their talent management strategy, it’s never been more important to make this shift if you haven’t already.

Here are three ways talent management requires a different approach:

  1. It takes a village. Traditional HR is a largely siloed endeavor, but talent management is the opposite. Your CEO, your various department heads, and your IT team all play a role in talent management, which may require you to flatten your org structure or hire a chief people officer dedicated to talent management to close the distance between all of the stakeholders.
  2. It requires thinking long-term. Talent management requires asking big questions that don’t have easy answers. How are you going to attract the best job seekers? How are you going to train people and help them grow? You won’t be able to answer these questions in a week or even a month. Determine metrics for success, test different approaches, and, most importantly, be patient.
  3. It needs updated technology. Your core HR system can handle those day-to-day compliance needs, but what about your talent management needs? A talent management system provides more robust functionality to track data for everything from recruiting to performance management, employee engagement, succession planning, and more—data that is vital to testing and making talent management decisions. These systems also automate a lot of rote tasks, like onboarding, so you can focus more time on that all-important strategy.

Your strategy should inform your technology needs, not the other way around. If your current stack doesn’t support your vision, it’s time for an upgrade.

Talent Management Is Here to Stay

In HR, we’re used to trends crashing down on us as the “next big thing,” only to be replaced by the next “next big thing” a few years later. For example, all the hype over employee productivity was overtaken by employee engagement, then the employee experience. And remember all the fuss about blockchain?

Talent management, on the other hand, is not fading away. It’s the holistic people strategy that will dictate the success of your business forever, and will only make its impact more felt during the difficult times. If you’ve yet to sit down with your stakeholders and map out a combination of structure, process, strategy, and technology to succeed at talent management, 2020 is the year to start.