Archive | Talent

Three Ways Human Networks Can Help Drive Change

Power of Networking

The technology vice president of a local financial services company was frustrated. A bottom-line strategy depended on the success of a recent reorganization. Unfortunately, the reorganization was not generating the expected results. In fact, people were behaving just as usual, despite new reporting relationships and a redesigned divisional structure.

This situation is more often the case than not: leaders design and institute strategies that fail to achieve results. According to a 2006 McKinsey survey, only 38 percent of change initiatives were completely or mostly successful at improving performance.

In other words, even when strategies are successful, they don’t come close to returning intended results.

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Think Before You Assess: Tips for Your First Network Analysis

Wild Horses. Image by cone_dmn on flickr

Jazzed about doing your first network analysis? Hold your horses! It’s important to do no harm when conducting a network analysis. Make sure to read these important caveats before you begin.

Identify Your Goal

Determine what you want to learn as a result of conducting a network analysis. Do you want to identify influencers (critical connectors) in order to engage them in change initiatives? Do you want to understand how information flows through the organization? Do you want to create a plan to help new employees build their networks during the on-boarding process? The questions you choose will shape the results you receive, so be clear up front.

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Using Networks for HR Talent at SHRM Talent Conference

SHRM I Am Speaking

Partnering Resources founder Maya Townsend presented “Stacking the Deck: Using Hidden Organizational Networks to Identify and Develop High Potentials and Succession Plans” at the 2013 SHRM Talent conference. The session covered use of networks and network analysis for succession planning, onboarding, and talent development. The room was packed and participants proclaimed it “Best Conference Workshop.”

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Getting Ahead of the Curve: Workforce Planning to Anticipate Talent Gaps

Mind the Talent Gaps. Image by limaoscarjuliet on flickr.

People have been predicting boomer brain drain for years. In 2008, a SHRM / AARP study warned about the impending brain drain. Yet, companies haven’t been too worried, partially because the economy has made it impossible for people to leave.

It might be time for that relaxed attitude to change.

Recently, one of my clients was surprised to learn that 28% of their workforce would be eligible to walk out the door with full benefits within the next two years. That’s a lot of people and a lot of institutional knowledge. With the market in recovery, they decided it was time to act.

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I Can’t Fill This Job!: Filling IT Talent Gaps

CIOs are having a hard time finding good candidates for open positions. They’re not alone.

According to ManpowerGroup’s annual survey, 52 percent of employers in the US are struggling to fill mission-critical positions. The number of employers experiencing difficulties is at an all-time high, despite a high unemployment rate.

So, what should a CIO do? Keep searching as current employees become more frustrated because they’re overloaded trying to cover extra work? There’s another way.

Get the Kinks Out of the Acquisition Cycle

The first thing to do is to sharpen the acquisition process. Talent acquisition is a notoriously leaky process. Companies lose money through slow screening, ineffective matching, and incorrect selection processes.

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IT Talent: Technology Leaders with People Problems

Squirrel Proof Birdfeeder

Squirrels are great at foraging for nuts, building nests, and finding ways into my “squirrel-proof” birdfeeder (that’s not a picture of my personal birdfeeder, but it gives you the idea). But they’re never going to be great swimmers. Similarly, some leaders are never going to be great at managing people. So what do we do?

Goodbye Manager, Hello Individual Contributor

The most obvious answer is to shift poor people managers into individual contributor roles. With this solution, people aren’t forced to do something they can’t do well. At the same time, the company doesn’t lose their knowledge and experience.

There are two problems, however.

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Stacking the Deck: Using Organizational Networks in Talent Management

Talent Management Snafus. Image by katerha on flickr.

Oops: the employee who just resigned was running an entire function and we didn’t realize it. Oops: the new executive left after three months on the job because she couldn’t build strong relationships. Oops: we thought we staffed our mission-critical project team with influencers and high performers, but the team is failing.

These are the talent management failures that no one wants to experience. Yet many organizations face situations like this every day. Forty percent of leaders going into new roles fail, according to The New Leader’s 100-Day Plan. And companies regularly fail to recognize the value of individuals or roles until they’re gone.

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Handbook for Strategic HR: New Book Coming in November

Handbook for Strategic HR Book Cover

I’m delighted to announce that November 28, 2012 is the release date for Handbook for Strategic HR: Best Practices in Organization Development from the OD Network.

This volume draws on the best thinking on strategic Human Resources from the chapter on Change Management.

Here’s the blurb about the book from Amazon:

The role of human resources is no longer limited to hiring, managing compensation, and ensuring compliance. Since the 1990s, a transformation has occurred. Companies are calling upon a new breed of HR professionals to behave as organization development consultants, helping to determine priorities in running the business, design how work gets done, craft strategy, and shape culture.

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Change Leadership in Troubling Times

Irene Brank worked as director of life and annuity operations for the life division of First Allmerica Financial. She faced one of the most difficult of situations someone could face: managing employees facing almost certain job loss during a company closure. The 250-plus employees in the life business had to service existing clients while transferring knowledge to an acquiring company.

The potential for harm was great: en masse departures, careless work, or even retribution and sabotage were possible if Allmerica failed to help its employees with the consequences of closure. To meet the challenge, leaders of the life division decided to embark on an ambitious learning initiative.

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Making Organizational Networks a Force for Learning & Innovation

Image by Leigh Blackall

Social networks are hot topics these days. But the allure of Facebook and LinkedIn also holds a trap: they can lure us into thinking that building and maintaining our connections ties is simply a matter of using our smart phones to “bring people to the square” (as in the Arab Spring), communicating through Twitter, or attending the latest networking meeting.

To make informal networks a force for institutional learning and innovation, we must get beyond the idea that network creation is finding each other in the virtual hallways of social media. We need to bring focus to our networks, identify the value we wish to mine from them, align around that imperative, and then take joint action to pilot and perfect new products and services.

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