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A Broader View of Talent Management: The Key to a 21stCentury Workplace?
You ask. We respond
Even prior to the current recession, the global talent crisis was starting to put pressure on many organizations. In what ways can your company take a broader view of talent management, transforming it from a human resources expense to a corporate investment? More than 290 participants tuned in to a Webcast presentation on January 14, 2009, to find out. The presentation featured Tim Phoenix, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and the global and U.S. leader for the Total Rewards service line; Andy Liakopoulos, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, of the Human Capital service line, and co-leader of the Global Talent Management service offering and leader of the deployment of Mass Career Customization to the external marketplace; and Christie Smith, Ph.D., principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, of the Organization and Change service line. The group talked about ways to take a strategic view of talent management, the role of innovation and differentiation, and ways to keep critical talent engaged during economic uncertainty. The following are the presenters’ responses to select questions submitted by participants during the Webcast. Have you seen a big change in your clients’ request for talent services in the last few months? Many companies haven’t really changed their approach, but the economic circumstances have caused more imminent financial priorities to take a front seat. Some companies actually feel that they may have a bit more time to make changes, so they’re slowing projects down. That may be financially driven, but it may also be due to the current workforce market. Overall, though, at least from what we are seeing, most companies are holding the course for now. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the talent space in the last year or two? The maturity level of talent management in the marketplace has greatly increased. Organizations now understand what talent management is. The next step is to define how talent management applies to them and to start assembling talent strategies and roadmaps for their own businesses. We are seeing more and more human resources (HR) organizations partnering with corporate leaders to understand how talent management can help achieve business objectives. Has there been less focus on recruiting talent in the current economic environment? What we are seeing today is that since organizations can’t predict what is going to happen to the economy and how that will impact them, there is a strong tendency to simply pause. That said, the more talent-focused organizations are using the economic turmoil to assess existing talent with even more focus and to make cuts appropriately. At the same time, they’re using the current market situation to go after key talent to, in effect, “trade up” where they can. The same is true for campus recruiting. While many organizations will simply stop campus recruiting this year, the more talentfocused organizations recognize that there will be less competition for top graduates and great opportunities to be more successful in recruiting in critical areas than in recent years. Deloitte believes

it is better to be proactive rather than reactive to the economic environment. How does “commitment to corporate responsibility” play out in a talent strategy? This is becoming increasingly important for people as they consider joining and examining an organization. Particularly at the entry level, right out of MBA programs, it’s one of the big deciding factors. The more you can do in the recruiting process to talk about the connection of your corporation to its community — whether it’s the one right outside your back door or a larger cause — the greater your advantage for recruiting and retention. You can also look at this in the light of rewards transformation, that is, defining rewards broadly as the value of the work experience and not simply as compensation and benefits. This can add significant value, especially for Gen Y-ers. How do virtual workplaces impact employee loyalty and a sense of belonging to an organization? Do we have to take other steps to keep that dimension in place? One of the key things organizations want to know is how to keep people connected to the organization if they are working virtually, and along with that, how to let go of the idea that in order to know someone is working you have to see them working. As you move toward a more virtual workplace, you need to find ways to tie performance and metrics into what an individual is doing to make sure they are contributing on a daily basis, whether you can see them working or not. There’s also the social component that impacts loyalty, and social networking tools, such as instant messaging, are good solutions for keeping people connected. So rather than walking by a co-worker’s desk, you might send them an instant message to ask a question, whether work-related or social in nature. How is the technology dimension of talent management developing? Are there good tools out there, are organizations making use of them and what is the latest thinking on databases, automated desktops, etc.? Again, if you look at the maturity of talent management over the last four to five years, the concepts and processes of talent and strategy have moved to the forefront, with technology solutions following suit. We are seeing a lot of the large ERP (enterprise resource planning) solutions implementing their talent suites, and many smaller vendors are implementing just talent management and talent suites as part of their solutions. Of course, don’t put technology before strategy. Most organizations look at talent strategy first, then at how technology can support that. We are also seeing our clients push for new ways to use technology, looking at data differently in an effort to “become more alive” and get closer to their employees. What are some good metrics for showing success and ROI in talent management? There is no set group of formulas that works in all cases. But when you tie talent management to the business strategy — when you start with the business goal and how people impact that goal — it is pretty easy to measure the elements of HR that create the most business value. You can look at HR spend in training and development, global mobility, changes to employee benefit plans and so on — tailored to the needs of your critical workforce segments — and create the algorithms around that. Are they pure science? Are they always exact? No. But if you use the formulas you create at the beginning, you have a baseline to measure against, and the levels of change will be reasonably accurate. Creating these kinds of metrics helps align the efforts of HR with operating management, so corporate leaders and managers can see the value HR creates. Seeing HR spend as an investment, rather than a cost, involves a change in mindset. But when you demonstrate that to business executives, it can have a meaningful impact on the amount and quality of investments that HR programs receive. Any pointers on how to screen applications to zoom in on the right candidates? The talent is out there, but it’s often lost in the sea of resumes and candidates applying to a job. That’s where workforce intelligence comes into play, using employee data to identify what a successful candidate looks like and then using that data to screen the applications you have coming in. Could you explain what you mean by a “coached organization?”

In a traditional organization you might give an employee feedback once or twice a year during the talent lifecycle. As Gen Y-ers enter the workplace, they need more constant and informal feedback. So instead of waiting to give formal feedback, a coached organization would provide it in real time, kind of like a coach would communicate with his or her players. It appears that Gen Y-ers expect a shorter timeline for career progression, yet it takes time —years rather than months—to establish a reputation and a foundation. How does management motivate highly talented Gen Y-ers without impacting the morale of Gen X-ers and baby boomers? What we are finding is that many organizations do not even have career development models in place. So Gen Y-ers come in and don’t know where their career is heading. Having a career track in place helps new employees understand where their career is going. So organizations can invest in career development models and, in some cases, use things like accelerated development to identify key talents and excel them through. Also, advancement does not have to be tied solely to titles and the speed of promotion. It can also involve growth assignments, things that are related to the actual work being done. On the Talent Framework slide, could you explain what the items such as Rewards Transformation, Talent Dialogue, Mass Career Customization, and Employee Value Propositions represent in terms of their position in the four-quad table? These are all explained in detail in the Deloitte publication The Chemistry of Talent, available free for download. Related Content: Resource: Economic Stimulus - People Strategy Archived Webcast: A Broader View of Talent Management: The Key to a 21st-Century Workplace? Overview: Total Rewards
This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of Deloitte practitioners. Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, financial, investment, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. Deloitte, its affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication. As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.

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Last Updated: March 15, 2009 Source: Deloitte LLP - United States (English)

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