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.
“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?
In last week’s blog, we discussed three examples of poor Performance Management:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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?
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.
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 recently worked with a client who couldn’t decide on whether or not to implement a company-wide employee referral program (ERP). Since the businesses couldn’t agree, they didn’t implement anything. Was that the right move?
The bigger the decision, the harder it is to make. That is why companies hire smart people to make smart decisions that affect the organization and its human capital. As Brian Tracy stated, “Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.”
So what goes into making the right decision?
With any software implementation, the success and sustainability of a project is very closely tied to its planning process. To that end, below I share with you 6 key considerations, specific to ATS Technology implementations, before starting your implementation or engaging the vendor.