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Archive for the ‘hr’ Category

TalentedApps Interviewed in Human Capital Vendor Space

Posted by Mark Bennett on December 22, 2008

about_jwillWilliam Tincup was kind enough to give us the opportunity to answer his questions about how we got started, what keeps us going, our future plans, and who our favorite human capital blogger is.

William (that’s him to the left, there), has created several blogs. Human Capital Vendor Space is a terrific blog and William’s writing style is refreshing and candid. We highly recommend you add it to your reader if you haven’t already.

Posted in community, hr, talentedapps | Leave a Comment »

Bangers & mash, gooseberry fool and talent review – one magical week in London

Posted by Ken Klaus on December 13, 2008


It was my first full day in London.  I left the hotel around 8:00, expecting I would stop for a quick English breakfast before losing myself in the wonders of a brand new city (did I mention this was my first trip to the UK?); but the clear blue sky and bright sunshine blanketing Gloucester Road instantly made me rethink my plans.  First a strong cup of coffee: Venti, white, filtered (i.e. a large drip coffee with plenty of cream, thank you very much!) – made with love at the Starbucks across the road from the Millennium Bailey’s (a fabulous Victorian hotel in North Kensington).  With caffeine in hand I strolled a few blocks north and entered Hyde Park.  The air was cold and crisp and the treetops glowed in the bright morning light.  It was like a beautiful illustration from a favorite childhood storybook and just like the young boys and girls that inhabit such stories, I was instantly smitten, with the park, the city, the whole of this magical Kingdom (with apologies to Mr. Mouse).  I absolutely, positively, unreservedly fell in love with London.  The kind of love where you abandon reason and forget that in the real world there are bills to pay and employers who actually expect you to show up for work!  Thus, inevitably, as with so many of the great Bard’s plays, the story came too quickly to an end and the lovers, only newly acquainted, had to part.  I’ll give you a moment to feel my sense of loss, as poor Juliet must have done when she believed Romeo was dead and took up his dagger to join him.  Sigh.


Well that’s probably more drama than we need in one post and since I was in fact there on business, I suspect my manager might appreciate a few thoughts related to the work I was actually there to complete.  So, last week I was in London and Birmingham to chat with our customers about their talent management strategy and more specifically on how they are using talent review meetings to measure, motivate and manage their workforce.  Though the talent review process in general varied widely across geographies, industries, organizations, and business units; I found that the customers who saw the greatest return on their investment (and believe me you have to invest in the talent review process if you want to see the benefits) had some interesting things in common.


First, and perhaps most important was executive sponsorship and participation.  This was not simply support for the idea of talent reviews; in almost all cases c-level executives were actively involved in defining the purpose and outcomes for the talent review meetings as well as actively participating in one or more reviews.


Next, each organization had a set of clearly defined goals and outcomes for the meeting.  Without exception the companies who saw the greatest benefits from their talent review meetings were those who had a clear set of goals laid out before the meeting and an actionable set of outcomes at the end of the meeting.  Participants knew in advance why they were meeting (performance calibration, risk assessment, succession planning, etc.), what they had to do before they arrived, and, more importantly, what they had to do after the meeting was finished.  Kim Lamoureux over at Bersin & Associates had some great things to say on this subject in her post Succession Management – Making the Talent Review Work and the conversations I had with our customers certainly matchup with her findings.


Almost without exception the talent review process was owned and managed by HR.  The customers I spoke with all viewed the HR department as a critical partner that could not be left out of the talent review process.  Recruiting, retention, compensation, and employee development are all driven from HR, which means many of the actionable outcomes of the talent review meeting will need the support of the HR department.  Not surprisingly, most of the customers I spoke with told me the entire talent review process was owned and driven from within the HR department, in some cases by a dedicated Talent Management team. 


Calibrating performance and potential scores is only the beginning.  Most organizations focus on performance and potential calibration as the starting point of their talent review process.  But the talent review meeting can be leveraged for so much more: succession and career planning, creating talent pools for key roles and positions within the organization, mitigating risk of loss, developing diverse organizations and working teams, managing compensation plans and much, much more.  The companies who saw the greatest benefit from their talent review process were those who moved beyond performance calibration toward total talent management. 


Talent reviews are for everyone.  Many companies first implement talent reviews for their c-level executives, but most never get beyond the senior levels of their organization.  By contrast, most of the customers I spoke with had either already implemented organization wide talent reviews or were planning to do so in the immediate future.  Remember, the goal of the talent review meeting is to identify key talent and help them reach their full potential, which means every worker in your organization should have the opportunity to participate in your talent review process.


Before I wrap up, I want to offer my sincere thanks to all of the customers who participated in the feedback sessions we held in Birmingham as well as those who gave up part of their day to meet with us in our London office.  You are true pioneers in this arena and we wish you much success.  I also want to thank the kind and friendly souls who taught me how to enjoy a proper pint of British ale and for introducing me to gooseberry fool and bangers and mash.  I already miss you more than I can say.  Cheers!


Posted in Career Development, hr, performance | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

The leadership cop-out, the employee hot potato

Posted by Meg Bear on December 3, 2008


Dan was talking this week about how real leaders do the right thing, even (or especially) when it means that you have to let a poor performer go.   You all know that I’m a big believer in job fit.  Finding a role that leverages your strengths is critical for success.  For some, finding the right role can be a process of trial and error, using our failures to course correct is a part of personal growth.  Sometimes coaching and role adjustment can turn a lack-luster performer into a star.   But we all know that there are times when the problem is not just job fit, it is job attitude.

When an individual has a negative attitude you are dealing with a cancer that impacts the whole team.  It is the job of the manager to resolve the situation quickly and fairly.  Too often, weak managers resolve their situation by creating an employee hot potato.  These disgruntled employees find themselves sharing (and often compounding) their negative attitudes across multiple groups as they bounce from manager to manager, each too weak to take action.

Moving performance problems around the organization is one of the worse kinds of management cop-outs. It is not honest for the individual and it is not good for the company.  It is not leadership, it’s cowardly.

I am well aware that the process of resolving performance problems takes considered thought and diligence.  Even when attempting to do the right thing, it is often not black and white.   We all want to make sure we have given enough chances to the employee and have done our best to coach them to improvement.  I would not want anyone to take this process lightly.  I would just like to encourage you all to make sure you are honest with yourselves that you are not perpetuating performance problems in other groups, because you are too lazy to deal with them yourself.

If you are not sure, get help from your HR team.  HR professionals can support you through the tough job of coaching the team member to acceptable performance or terminating.  It is the role of HR to make sure that the process is fair for the employee, the impacted team and the company.

Repeat after me, no more employee hot potatoes!

Posted in hr, leadership, management, teams | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

Succession Planning – better without the ion?

Posted by Meg Bear on November 18, 2008


Those of us who follow the Talent Management investment curves, know that Performance Management and Succession Planning are the hot trends right now. Companies are attempting to leverage their workforce as a competitive advantage and both of these areas had technology innovations in recent years.

Of course, as is often the case with trends, there are companies that have a plan first and leverage technology to solve it, and there are companies who start with a solution and attempt to figure out the problem.

This leads to many wanting to call into question the whole idea. Laurie is absolutely right that succession planning has some challenges and she gives some ideas how to make it an effective use of your time (my paraphrase).

Personally, I think that the point of succession planning is really not for succession at all. Most often C-suite changes are made when a company needs to “fix” something. When this is the case, companies will most likely want to look outside the four walls for new ideas.

Succession planning is useful in the case of a long known retirement (Gates, Welch, etc.). Of course, planned retirement-based successions are often exceptions, especially in North America. In an attempt to avoid having people throw out the baby with the bathwater I would like to suggest that you still need succession planning for two key reasons

  • Developing bench strength – In my mind, here is where the real value can be had. If you look at your succession initiative as a broader discussion about bench strength and development alignment, you can get a lot bigger ROI for the exercise. Using a succession discussion to analyze several layers of your organization against readiness, can help you build development plans, define workforce planning initiatives and bring to light top talent within your organization.

So for those who wonder what all the hype is in succession planning, I encourage you to take a longer view of the process than just the tactical (or the competitive) approach. Use this emerging trend to help you to provide more value to the strategic needs of the company. Don’t just plan for succession, plan for success.

Posted in hr, succession planning | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

A Sympathetic Nod to Dentists and White Rabbits

Posted by Louise Barnfield on November 17, 2008

I visited my dentist last week.

My appointment was at 7.30am. I always ask for that slot, because it’s the first one of the day! I can depend on it starting pretty much on time, and can plan the rest of my day accordingly … assuming my dentist’s alarm clock goes off, and that his commute from the east bay is kind to him.

After the 7.30am slot, it’s a crap-shoot as to how long one has to wait, depending on how many clients arrived late, and how many appointments run over their allotted time. Dentists, unfortunately, have limited control over both eventualities – it’s not good for repeat business to turn Mr Jones and his abscess out on the street because he’s 10 minutes late – neither is making a poor job of Ms Smith’s filling in order to save time … the latter might lead to ‘repeat’ business, but probably for a different surgery.

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!

I sympathize with my dentist!

Recently, I’ve been contemplating my daily schedule, its subtle changes over the past couple of years, and how much my day (and, more importantly, my stress levels) are influenced by meetings, meetings, meetings. My colleagues agree! I have far too many of them – meetings, that is, not colleagues!!

Meetings start late, meetings run late, and I often feel held hostage to seemingly uncontrollable circumstances: late host, late participants, technical difficulties, or, even worse, a completely unnecessary meeting in the first place.

I sympathize with Alice’s white rabbit!

I also realize I’ve become an offender myself…by hanging on to the end of a late-running meeting, I end up being late for the next one. I’m also an offender because so often in the past I’ve bust a gut to arrive at a meeting on time, only to wait until others have rolled up 5 or 10 minutes late, so that now I’m tempted to think: “Well, there’s no point me leaving the current meeting before it’s ended, because the next meeting won’t start on time anyway!” Understandable to many, I hope, but not excusable!

So, enough I cry! I might not be able directly to influence how many meetings are held, or how many of them I’m invited or expected to attend, but I can help myself and others by brushing up my meeting skills!

This is not a new problem. It’s a recurring issue that simply provides new challenges with the evolution of technology.

In an increasingly global workplace, where conference calls have replaced physical meetings as the norm, we live with a number of logistical challenges that are unique to remote meetings, including conflicting timezones, no visual cues, and the temptation (and sadly often the necessity) to multi-task. Worse, back-to-back meetings allow no ‘wiggle room’ – no allowance for comfort breaks, or caffeine refills, or simply to breathe and clear the mind between one topic and the next.

When meetings took place more often in a physical space, it was common to wrap up a few minutes early, to enable folks to pack up and get to their next meeting, and to allow the next incumbents to start on time. We’ve lost that habit.

So, at the risk of condemning myself to failure, I hereby promise:

  • to make an effort to join a meeting on time, or at least as near as damn it. Yes, of course, stuff happens, and sometimes I’ll have a jolly fine excuse for being diabolically late, but I promise not to make it a habit!
  • if I join a meeting late I won’t expect to have the last 15 minutes repeated just for my benefit. Similarly, as a host, I won’t feel obliged to recap every time a latecomer joins…the rest of you, who were there on time, don’t need to hear it again…and again…and…!
  • for meetings involving half-a-dozen or more, I’ll provide web conference details beforehand, in the meeting invite or recorded message on the conference line – another way to avoid unnecessary interruptions and repetition!
  • if the meeting is still going strong with only 5 minutes left, I’ll wrap up the meeting – can we conclude satisfactorily in just a few minutes, or should we plan another meeting to continue? Some colleagues are meticulous about this, and I’m striving to emulate them, though it’s still not easy, especially if some participants (like me!) are determined to get their say!

I’ve printed and pasted to my office wall 6 Tips to Avoid Being Late. Unfortunately, #4 won’t be easy, as I’m more often the ‘bookee’ than the ‘booker’, but they are excellent aims to have in mind!

Though focusing on the arrogance of CEO’s specifically, I’m Late I’m Late I’m Late (posted by Del Jones for USA Today way back in 2002!) is cautionary reading for all of us, suggesting: “chronic tardiness, no matter how innocent, can so gum up the gears of a corporate work ethic, create resentment and hurt a reputation that experts address the topic as if it were a mental disorder.”

Is basic meeting etiquette part of your company policy? Is it included in new hire training, and published as a reminder for old timers like me who need a kick up the proverbial from time to time?

How have you adapted to changing technology and meeting styles? What are your pet peeves?

Posted in hr, teams, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

We’re Somebody Now!

Posted by Mark Bennett on November 7, 2008

“I’m somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity – your name in print – that makes people. I’m in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.”  

     – Navin R. Johnson (Steve Martin’s character in “The Jerk”), upon finding his name in the new phonebook

Yes, TalentedApps has made it. We’re on Alltop now. If you aren’t familiar with Alltop, think of it as a “digital magazine rack.” It’s divided into topic sections (e.g. HR) and carries the RSS feeds from world-class blog sites that cover that topic. You also can control which of the available blogs are displayed via a hide/show control. This gives you a handy way to see the blogs that interest you in one place, plus gives you an opportunity to discover related, widely-read blogs.

Go check it out!

Posted in hr, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Absenteeism: excuses are an art form

Posted by Louise Barnfield on October 28, 2008

Gotta love surveys!

CareerBuilder.com’s annual survey on absenteeism is a testament to the creative juices of employees. One wonders to what extent productivity would have benefited had they expended as much thought and creativity in the workplace.

Unfortunately, the survey didn’t follow up with the obvious question: “why?” which could have provided some additional (though perhaps predictable) statistics on the relationship of absenteeism and fake excuses to employee engagement. Presumably, the degree of creativity is inversely proportional to the employee’s job satisfaction.

btw, to all my managers, past present and future, I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I have never and will never take a sick day in order to “catch up on housework”!

So, are there any employees out there willing to own up to a bizarre excuse (real or fake)?…and, more scarily, can any managers out there identify with the 17 percent [who] drove by the employee’s house or apartment?

Posted in engagement, hr, management | Tagged: | 11 Comments »

HR Carnival – National Bosses Day Edition

Posted by Ken Klaus on October 16, 2008

The HR Carnival has rolled back into town, hosted by Totally Consumed.  This edition coincides with National Bosses Day, so we’re tipping our hats to the good and bad, funny and sad, the bosses we’ve loved as well as those we’d like to forget.  Kudos to Vivian for making the cut this round with her post, Who’s the Boss Enjoy!


Posted in carnival, hr | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Investment Banks and HR part 2 – Talk Like a Pirate Day Edition

Posted by Mark Bennett on September 19, 2008

“And thirdly, the code is more what you'd call 'guidelines' than actual rules.”

“And thirdly, the code is more what you'd call 'guidelines' than actual rules."

Let’s follow up on the previous post about Peter Cappelli’s column on the impact of poor management on the current credit crisis. (The accompanying photo is in honor of “Talk Like a Pirate Day.”)

In his column, Cappelli notes that Goldman Sachs is an exception to the pattern of management behavior exhibited by many other Wall Street firms. Instead, Goldman Sachs is:
“…known for paying the most attention to teamwork, for maintaining a healthy organizational culture based on positive values and, more generally, for taking the management of people seriously.”
Interestingly, there is an HBR article this month that also talks about Goldman Sachs having done well compared to the competition by following these HR-related principles:
  • Focus on core competencies by hiring quantitative professionals.
  • Attention to governance through strong oversight.
  • Aligned, longer-term incentives through employee ownership.
  • Clearly understood and communicated values that carry real consequences.
As the article points out, some companies might have one or more of these, but Goldman Sachs effectvely employs all four.

Posted in hr, leadership, management, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Bad Risk Analysis: $??? Billion, Bad Management: Priceless

Posted by Mark Bennett on September 18, 2008

"Hello, HR? If people are our most important asset, we could securitize them, right?"


Peter Cappelli has just posted a terrific column on HREOnline that makes for a very interesting read. It echoes a lot of what we’ve said in this blog and others have elsewhere about the negative impact of bad management behavior. It also reminds us that the consequences of poor management of people can reach beyond just the individual, or the team, or even the organization, but can affect the entire global economy. These crises and their roots can seem too big and entrenched, and it’s easy to blame abstractions like “greed,” rage at the incorrigible stereotypes of Wall Street, or even “the rogue trader,” but that doesn’t start the process of addressing the problems. External actions such as rescues, bailouts and regulatory changes might (or might not) serve to keep things from freezing up, but are they long-term, and what stops people from “gaming the system”? So it will also take all of us, including HR, to at least try to effect positive change from within in the way people are managed. This includes across industries, through the sharing of knowledge, experiences, and ideas in how to improve how we manage and motivate people. If we don’t and this happens again, what then?



Posted in hr, leadership, management, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »