Choosing Wisely – Part One of a Solid Talent Philosophy

Choosing Wisely – Part One of a Solid Talent Philosophy

Organizations face many challenges, and leaders make difficult decisions on a daily basis. Few decisions have as much impact as those about people. Click To Tweet As part of our Future State Talent Solutions talent strategy model, we recommend leaders develop a talent philosophy to express the value they place on their people, and guide them on people decisions. For example, an organization might determine that when it comes to their people they want to: Choose wisely, lead with care and reward generously.

Choosing wisely means acquiring people who fit culturally and have competencies to succeed individually while helping the organization succeed. How important is choosing wisely? According to a Cornerstone on Demand report, the monetary cost of a poor hire can be up to $200K. The flip side is that functioning without employees in key roles can cost up to $7000 a day – $210,000 every month a key role is unfilled. So choosing wisely is more than just making a good hire, it’s also about being prepared to do so quickly.

As you can see, choosing wisely can have tremendously positive benefits for an organization. In our model choosing wisely, or talent acquisition, is made up of three elements:

Identifying talent – knowing the key skills and competencies you need to drive strategic results for your organization, and where to find people who have them.

Attracting talent – creating an employer brand and value proposition that draws desired talent.

Hiring talent – executing a process that secures talent efficiently and effectively.

Best in class organizations are proactive in their approach to talent acquisition. Click To Tweet

– They have a pipeline of candidates for strategic roles who have been nurtured and educated about opportunities with the organization.

– They have a process for quickly interviewing a handful of candidates (at most) and selecting the best.

– They are prepared to make a great offer that clearly represents a major improvement over the individual’s current role.

– They have an onboarding process that starts with offer acceptance and continues well into the first year of employment.

Nothing about their process is reactive, and they always have great people interested in joining.

Choosing wisely also includes doing so from the candidate perspective. Not only should the opportunity represent a major win for the candidate, it should make them feel like they are becoming an integral part of the organization’s future. Everyone involved should believe that they chose wisely.

Is your talent acquisition process best in class? If not, let us help you get there. Then you will be on your way to creating a strategic business advantage with your people.


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Proactive Succession Planning

Proactive Succession Planning

This year is the 50th anniversary for the Northern Ohio Human Resources Conference, better known as NOHRC. Over 650 HR professionals gathered at the IX center earlier this month for the two-day event sponsored by the Cleveland chapter of SHRM. The second day was filled with national and local speakers who provided tremendous content on topics related to talent management and HR.

As with Mike Medoro’s CSHRM Newsletters (each successive newsletter is the best one yet), this NOHRC event was the best I have attended. That is high praise since I have been to several and they have all been great – including the two events planned and delivered in magnificent style by Maria Gaeta and Michelle Salis while I served as president of CSHRM.

One of the sessions I attended this year was titled Building Succession Planning Capabilities by Marian Wright. For me it was coincidental that Lauren Rudman, Past President of CSHRM, sat next to me. Lauren has been involved in CSHRM for years, as far back as when I was on the board. Even then I was certain Lauren would lead the organization one day. The chapter has done an excellent job of recruiting and nurturing volunteer leaders to keep CSHRM relevant and growing. That brings me back to the succession planning session.

Marian Wright is a former HR executive and owner of Wrightside Consulting. Her presentation included:

  1. A definition of succession planning – identifying and developing people with potential to fill key positions.
  2. Several factors on why succession planning is important – looming retirements, potential loss of institutional knowledge, over-reliance on enigmatic leaders and unplanned leadership departure.
  3. Benefits of proactive succession planning – talent pipeline, stronger leaders, career path communication and leadership diversity.
  4. Key components of succession planning – inventory of key positions, evaluation of talent performance and potential, developmental plans and follow-through.
  5. Best in class succession planning characteristics – leaders held responsible for developing talent, plans reviewed regularly and use of 360-degree feedback.
  6. Importance of using metrics, and examples – bench depth, diversity, effectiveness and development plans.
  7. Challenges – lack of management support, learning curves and lack of internal talent.
  8. Logical starting points – building a business case for succession planning, identifying key roles and truly understanding talent.

Marian included tools and support materials to build her case for proactive succession planning, and shared stories of her experiences implementing world-class succession planning for her employers and clients. The session was well attended and Marian was generous with providing advice and guidance in the Q & A session. For example, even though conventional wisdom indicates that millennials will change jobs with record frequency, Marian noted that talent retention will increase with proactive succession planning. Overall, Marian’s presentation was entertaining, informative and impressive.

Proactive succession planning has been used successfully by the NOHRC and CSHRM HR professionals for 50 years and counting. Thanks for another great event, and best wishes for another 50 years of success!

Please let us know if we can help you with your proactive succession plans.


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Digital Human Resources

Digital Human Resources

The digital revolution is reshaping the way we live our lives and the way we work. As business strategies undergo a fundamental re-think, so must organizations’ people strategies. A wholesale re-design of work is now required. That is an opening statement from the PWC report on People strategy for the digital age: A new take on Talent – 18th Annual Global CEO Survey.

While this comes as no surprise, the extent to which the “there’s an app for that” culture has become intertwined with HR can feel overwhelming.

After reading the Predictions for 2016 report by Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte, I tried to highlight the quantity of HR-focused systems, tools, apps and cloud-based companies mentioned therein. I lost count at 80 – and most references noted that those mentioned were “among others”, meaning the true number is much higher.

The solutions were for a wide range of HR functions including talent management, recruiting, onboarding, learning, performance management, feedback, compensation, time and attendance, payroll, succession planning, benefits, engagement, analytics, coaching and mentoring, culture, mobility, etc. Every area of HR is addressed, and HR consultants and software providers seem to be rushing to market with new solutions daily.

In his article titled HR’s Role in The Digital Workplace: It’s Time for Reinvention, Bersin writes that there are three skills HR must have today:

  1. How to recruit, develop, and manage people;
  2. How to organize, enable, and improve the organization; and,
  3. How to manage, leverage, and exploit data and technology.

The first skill refers to the HR we have always known and loved. The second skill helps us transition into strategic HR professionals. The third skill has become important in the past few years as the digital revolution has disrupted, well, everything. All indications are the rate of change will only increase. What should we do to properly manage through these rapid digital advances?

According to PWC’s report, we need to be sure that we are fit to react quickly to whatever the future may throw at us – and that means attracting, hiring and retaining adaptable, creative people, and creating a culture where energy fizzes and ideas spark into life. If these people can’t be found, they must be created. Whatever technological innovations are ahead, it’s the people that will make the difference between eventual success and failure.

That’s why we need a people strategy for the digital age.

At Future State Talent Solutions, we specialize in helping our clients develop people strategies. We’ve written a report that outlines how to develop a comprehensive talent plan that will help you hire and retain the best people and create the best culture for your company. Let us help you develop your winning digital HR strategy.


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Are You a Great Judge of Talent?

Are You a Great Judge of Talent?

When it comes to hiring, are you a great judge of people? Most executives believe they are.

I’m reminded of an example of this. A friend of mine runs a successful company and likes to talk about the people he has hired. He says a key element for him is spending several hours in one-on-one interviews with the individual. After that, he can tell who will be successful. That all came to a crashing halt after one of the people he hired made a series of mistakes with a major client nearly costing the company the relationship. My friend fired the employee and saved the client.

Peter Drucker said that any executive who starts out believing that he or she is a great judge of people will make the worst hiring decisions. Coming from the guru of management, then, we should learn not to depend on our own judgment but on a methodical step-by-step process. A formal hiring process allows a company to become objective in their hiring process.

Here is a checklist for a great hiring process from Lou Adler:

  Define the work, not the skills needed to do the workEvery job can be described by six to eight performance objectives. If a person is competent and motivated to do this work, the person will not only be successful but likely have a different mix of skills than those listed on the old-fashioned job descriptions.

  Convert competencies and behaviors into performance objectives. Generic competencies and behaviors are poor predictors of success. It’s better to describe how the competency or behavior is used on the job as a performance objective. Then add the most important to the performance-based job description above.

  Prevent people from applying for jobs they’re not qualified to handle. Too much time is spent filtering the weaker candidates out. It might be better to prevent them from entering to begin with.

  Stop posting individual jobs. Too much time and cost is involved with job postings. It would be cheaper and more efficient to create a microsite hub for all related positions and let the system figure out the best jobs for the person.

  Stop filtering the best people out based on what they have and what they get. There is too much time spent filtering people in and out of jobs based on their level of skills and their salary requirements. The best people care less about the salary if the job represents a career move, and the best people always have a different mix of skills. That’s what makes them the best people.

  Make hiring managers responsible for hiring top talent. If hiring top people is really No. 1, managers shouldn’t be managers if they can’t or don’t do it. Start by putting this as No. 1 during the performance review.

  Offer careers, not lateral transfers. A career needs to offer some combination of job stretch, faster job growth, and a mix of more satisfying work. Add a process to modify jobs to better align with a person’s growth needs.

  Go slower. Hiring top people is not a transaction. This leads to job hopping syndrome. Instead implement a consultative discovery process that focuses on creating the career move.

  Make hiring a business process with feedback controls. A bunch of steps bolted together with duct tape and APIs controlled by data that’s weeks or months old is not a business process.

  Implement an interview and assessment process that actually predicts quality of hire. Proving a method with statistics is not the same, nor as effective, as finding the method that works all of the time through trial and error. One method that actually works is based on what the best managers who consistently hire the best people do.

  Train recruiters to recruit. No company would let its sales people sell its products without training around best practices. This is so obvious, yet no one seems to see it.

The good news for my friend is that, since the incident described above, he hired an HR professional who helped implement a structured hiring process. With that investment in an upgraded process, his hiring mistakes have dropped significantly and he continues running an even more successful company. Now, instead of talking about his own prowess of judging people, he talks about the success of his company based on the people he has hired using the formal process.


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