STRATEGIC TALENT MANAGEMENT BLOG

Human Resources Vision, Strategy and Execution: We’re with you all the way.

In talent and business, you have to fight the fires that are burning right now. Talent decision-makers struggle with new issues every day as they navigate the demands of leadership, evolving technologies, and the competitive market for scarce talent.

The conditions of the present also put pressure on larger efforts that should be focused on the future. For example, initiatives to implement new HR technologies or processes tend to focus on the needs and conditions of the present, even when known events in the near future would demand re-work soon after go-live. This flawed approach could be called, “present-tense planning.”

Whether you’re implementing an applicant tracking system, managing changes in organizational structure or geography, or supporting a corporate initiative, getting stuck in the present can be risky. With a technology implementation, you may find yourself deploying a system that needs to be changed, expanded or updated immediately after go-live — an expensive prospect.

Recently, a meeting planner scheduled a big event with several speakers. The planner worked with a committee to arrive at an agenda and manage a list of planned exhibitors at the event. It was all business. Then, as often is the case, life interrupted.

One of the speakers was known for being strongly opinionated politically and willing to put up a spirited conversation. Between the booking and the actual event, the scheduled personality started broadcasting some opinions on social media that many found antagonistic. At the same time, a few attendees of the event took notice that one of the exhibitors was Trump Hotels.

 

“Why can’t we even get this data out of our systems?  I want to start measuring this, now! Why isn’t this information at my fingertips?”  If these questions or comments sound familiar, you’re not alone. Data, metrics and reporting create some of the most vexing challenges in talent management. People often don’t agree on what to measure or have the systems in place to measure it — or they simply don’t know what to do about the data they do track. How do you solve this? Do you need more technology? Do you need more data?

Simplicity.  It’s a tenet embraced in both business and life, but the practicalities of a complicated world can get in the way. In the realm of talent management strategy and technology, I have struggled with this conflict first hand when helping companies manage a complex function or project in the simplest way possible. Yet often the real goal of simplicity gets lost.

If you’re a talent decision maker, you probably have a love / hate relationship with your job. You might feel like you’ve been given the keys to a powerful but very temperamental car. The job is interesting and multi-faceted, but there’s also simply too much work, and something can go wrong at any moment. And so you triage your demands into usual categories: must do now, must do this week, and “get around to it” (which never seems to come). Nevertheless, the car keeps managing to roll forward — until it doesn’t. Why?

Human Capital Management covers a wide array of offerings that are designed to take care of employees. With the variety of items that are contained in HCM, there is no surprise that silos have emerged. These have been built and reinforced as more and more employee-support functions come under one larger umbrella, but continue to operate as separate entities. The question that we are trying to address is how do we tear down these walls and make HCM more synergistic?

From clients embarking on technology implementations, we often hear the expectation of how the implementation will “transform” the organization. Using HR as an example, these expectations may be for HR to enhance its tactical level of service, and/or to enable more effective contributions at a strategic level. However, declaring that an implementation is actually a transformation does not make it so!

I started my career in HR over 17 years ago, and the questions I heard most often at all the HR conferences were “Why don’t I have a seat at the executive table?” and “How can I get the executives to take me seriously?” Well, we’re 17 years on, and in spite of all the best intentions, I still hear these two questions repeatedly. What are we doing wrong?