In conjunction with Campbell Arnott’s and EY, The Chapman Consulting Group was delighted to host two HR Leaders Discussion Forums in Sydney on Friday 22nd May. Numerous companies were represented at the meeting including Aristocrat, Citi, Genea, IAG, IBM, Leighton Contractors, Lend Lease, Nikko Asset Management, Optus, Pfizer, Sunrice, Telstra, Vodafone, Westpac and Woolworths. These HR Leaders came together for a lively discussion on the topic: “Innovation in Talent Management: New Practices, Successful Experiments and Noble Failures.”
It was clear from what people shared that many organisations were facing similar challenges in the Talent Management space. However, the extent of innovation in Talent Management practices was seemingly determined by organisational maturity. A synopsis of the key highlights and takeaways of the group follows.
Mobility and Succession
A number of large ASX listed companies are striving for better internal capability building, mobility and succession. The right talent strategy, technology, and most importantly leadership ‘buy-in’ are the key elements of success in these areas. Capability mapping and career matrixes are some of the tools being used. As soon as Talent was placed at the top of the agenda in Executive Leadership meetings for a couple of large organisations present, things changed rapidly. Once the senior executives had ownership of the dialogue, willingness to move talent around internally increased.
Sometimes there can be reluctance for leaders to allow people to move into a new challenge in a different part of the business, as they may want to hold onto high potential talent. The language needs to change so that leaders are recognised and revered for fostering internal career paths (giving away and receiving) and moving top talent into -or out of – their teams.
The question was raised as to who should bear the cost of an international assignment. In some companies the recipient business unit bears the full cost. One large multinational has a Global Resources cost centre that quotes on and pays the relocation costs and the recipient business unit simply pays the salary.
There was significant discussion around big shifts in performance management. The trends look like this:
Moving Away From â†’ Moving Towards:
- Form filling and process â†’ Meaningful ongoing conversations
- Rigid numerical ratings â†’ Agreeing the meaning of ratings in relation to an individual’s specific role
- Quarterly, six monthly or annual reviews â†’ Touch points with manager at any time
- Linking performance to reward â†’ Linking delivery and business impact to reward
- Long lists of objectives â†’ Three to five core priorities that will ‘move the dial’
- Employer driven â†’ Employee driven
Career Development and Succession Planning
A challenge for many organisations is the need to retain and develop the careers of “Value Professionals.” These are people in specialist technical roles for whom moving up to people management roles is not the best option. In many cases creative “in role” career progression within the specialisation and job category has led to increased retention.
High Potential Programmes
These programmes were seen to be working well in some organisation, although there was debate over how ‘potential’ should be defined and measured. One company had developed an ‘Employee Value Quotient’ comprising Talent + Expertise + Performance (including leadership and agility). Others examined versatility, leadership, 360-degree feedback and test projects to identify potential.
The need to be careful with the language surrounding these programmes was noted. It is important to define ‘high potential’ in an appropriate way, otherwise you can inadvertently create monsters who have expectations of special treatment and reward. Another challenge was around individuals being rated “Ready Now” for a move upwards. There were times when the role above that person would become vacant and the CEO would decide that in fact the person is not “Ready Now” and would go external to search for better candidates. The employee then became disengaged and was a flight risk. Effective communications around these programmes throughout the organisation can minimise these issues.
Talent Acquisition and Flexibility
The focus on Talent Acquisition has been on increasing the sophistication of internal mobility, career planning for ‘high potentials’, creation of skilled talent pipelines and building diversity into the TA process.
There is also big shift towards flexible work practices in many large organisations. To attract different types of talent, flexibility is increasingly being seen in:
- the way roles are constructed;
- part-time roles;
- late start or early finish to blend in with family life;
- technology enabling work from home or different locations.
One top 10 ASX listed company is working towards every role in the organisation being flexible. In a recent example, one of the first questions the CFO asked a potential direct report in an interview was, “How can we make this flexible so that it works for you?” Whilst it was unexpected, and it wasn’t something she had thought of asking for, the candidate ended up accepting a flexible opportunity that she couldn’t refuse.
Digital Advancement Is the Common Theme
The main thing that all organisations had in common was the technological advancement that can underpin better Talent Management practices. The likes of Workday, Success Factors and Taleo are digital enablers and many organisations are using social collaboration tools such as Yammer and Facebook at Work to track and mine employee data for predicative analysis and/or productivity enhancements. The enterprise version of LinkedIn is also being used by companies to help facilitate Talent Acquisition and internal mobility.
Many thanks go to Campbell Arnott’s and EY in Sydney for hosting these valuable sessions, and we look forward to reconvening with this group later in the year.
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