Monday, February 26, 2007

To all ye Managers and Leaders—Part 1

I have been losing sleep lately on the issues of Talent Management. As I define and envision my role as a meaningful professional, there are some insights which come in. A reader, here, recently commented that HR, at times, is not even involved in Hiring. The way I read it is that HR as a sub-organisation within the larger one is not adept/keen to handle the process. While that maybe partially true, hiring managers cannot push the ultimate accountability saying “it is HR’s job and I have other better things to do” simply because they know
# what is to be done on the job
# the culture
# the team dynamics
# the results they and the organization need.

HR needs to add value by providing inputs on methods of prospective talent assessment, sources of attracting them and retooling the employee orientation, training and mentoring programs. However research shows that these very tools may backfire if managers rely too heavily on “it’s HR’s job” approach.

The organizational life cycle of an employee can be defined thus: Attracting→→Retaining→→Transitioning

Attracting new talent is really a war cry and there is huge competition across the trans- national space. I work for a niche start-up in the bundled space of technology and company research services. We are finding it equally difficult to hire talent in USA as much as in India. We pay above-par at times but look at very strong academics and competencies to fit the role and the culture here. The difficulty we are facing leads me to believe
# Prospective employees do not look for money all the time (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs still holds true)
# Niche skill sets and differentiating competencies (like we are looking for) are hard to come by # There is too much competition in hiring from the existing talent pool which may involve compromises on quality and other parameters. This fact, in turn, leads to high overhead costs and not necessarily high productivity.
# Recruiting organizations must go one step behind in the value chain and get involved in training people while they are still in under-grad schools. A lot of companies have already taken this route.

On-boarding is a key part of the attraction stage in the cycle. It is seen that dissatisfied employees leave within 3 to 6 months of being in a new job.
Good hiring managers create a support network for the new employees to help them quickly get on to speed.
They show the ‘big picture’ to help employees understand the value and place of their contribution towards the organizational collective goal. They also understand that being available for questions and feedback is a critical investment of time.
In our organization, we value ‘High Quality Moments of Truth’ meaning that each and every interaction with every stake holder is a ‘moment of truth’ for the organization at large and have to be given that importance. During the talent attracting and hiring phase, this Value would translate for us, in HR, as
# Establishing quality processes in short listing and selecting talent
# Helping Hiring Managers with the right tools of assessment and providing insights into the potential and hidden competencies of candidates
# Creating a positive experience and making it customized as much as possible, when new employees join us
# Helping Hiring Managers to be ‘present’ as the new employee struggles through the choppy waters of settling down And am sure we will find and add value in the process.

In his book ‘Good to Great:Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Other’s Don’t’, Jim Collins says that the best companies, those that have gone from good to great, “get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats and the wrong people off the bus.” Collins goes on to say that it doesn’t matter if you are in the right direction with the wrong people because great vision without great people is irrelevant.

Leave you to chew on that till we come back on the next stage of the employee life cycle.

Good to Great by Jim Collins, 2001
Managers as Talent Leaders by Catherine J Rezak, Paradigm Learning, Florida, USA
Moments of Truth by Jan Carlzon, 1987

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