STRATEGIC TALENT MANAGEMENT BLOG

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

Today’s global workforce is expansive,but companies are finding that talent with the skills they need are in high demand. That means competing for talent requires the utmost in awareness for finding great workers, and maximum responsiveness for ensuring candidate and employee satisfaction. Technology is a big part of the equation.

From tools to augment applicant tracking systems to larger ERP platforms, innovative and flexible solutions are now being implemented that bring talent processes together across the enterprise. But here’s the challenge: a talent technology solution is only as good as its ability to make life better for every user and stakeholder, right out of the gate.

So, what stands between a great technology platform and an implementation that puts everyone on edge? Years of experience have taught me a simple, yet oddly elusive, answer: avoid avoidable problems.

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.

In last week’s blog, we discussed three examples of poor Performance Management:

  1. Politics for a Bonus: An employee at a high-tech company chose to participate in the most visible project over the most impactful and critical project to improve her standing in a peer manager calibration-based performance management system.
  2. Meeting the Quotas: A salesperson who received a mediocre review for not meeting his cold call targets in spite of far exceeding his revenue targets “gamed the system” to make his cold call numbers look better rather than focusing on revenue.
  3. Going “Above and Beyond”: An energy company relocating two of its plants rewarded the team that was late and over-budget but worked long hours, not the team who worked reasonable hours and finished on-time and on-budget.

Possibly more than any other aspect of managing talent, performance management is deeply entwined with human nature. And, much like human nature, it’s full of pitfalls, and an oversimplified approach might impede, not incent an intended result. In other words, it’s easy to shoot yourself in the foot.

The good news is, if you have a say in talent strategy, you can protect your organization from bad performance management.  It’s about understanding the pitfalls, shifting your perspective and committing to the right strategy.

Consider the pitfalls.

 

“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?

Technology implementations have been a fundamental part of business for many years. By now, you would think companies would have figured out how to do them right, every time. Or at least how not to do them wrong.  But they haven’t. Why? Is there a way to make sure your technology investment, talent technology in particular, delivers its bang for the buck?

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?