Sunday, September 21, 2008

Aligning Business Objectives with Human Resource Management

In today’s changing economic scenario, Organizational Effectiveness begins with the alignment of Human Resources and Business Objectives. Organizations simply can not be effective without this alignment.

The Human Resource Alignment Model focuses on aligning: HR Processes + Talent + Jobs + Culture + Key Business Objectives. HR professionals today closely partner business to 1) assess alignment, 2) architect aligned HR processes, and 3) build competencies around this alignment.

The central component in the basic HR Model consists of Key Business Objectives. Organizations and jobs are aligned to most effectively execute clear roles and cross functional synergies to accomplish business objectives. Talent is aligned with key position requirements to assure that the performance of each function is fully powered and optimized. Human resource processes are aligned and fine tuned to assure that talent is effectively placed, motivated, highly capable and retained. Culture is aligned to assure that the right behaviors are expected, encouraged and reinforced. At the end of the day the alignment of human resources and organizations is the starting point for success.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Aligning Talent Development with Organizational Objectives

One of the primary goals of most talent development programs is to ensure alignment with the overall goals and objectives of the organization. Although every organization is different, there are some simple ways of accomplishing this.

The first step is to understand senior management’s expectations. CEOs are focused on results, and laser-focused on the short list of things for which their board of directors holds them accountable. Therefore, one method for ensuring alignment of development is to identify exactly what factors the CEO is being measured and rewarded on, and then concentrate talent-development efforts in those areas. For example, if the CEO is measured and rewarded for increasing customer satisfaction, then talent development must demonstrate how improving customer service skills immediately impacts service ratings, and what each percentage point increase represents to the bottom line. If the CEO is rewarded for increasing sales revenue, then talent development must demonstrate how improving skills in the sales area dramatically increase overall sales. The impact can be demonstrated by using a control group to show how the talent development program makes an economic difference.

Some other ways to align talent development with corporate objectives include:

• Spending the development budget in direct proportion to priorities identified and ranked as most critical by senior managers
• Developing programs that are made available on a fee-for-service basis
• Identifying key business units and divisions in the organization and allocating more resources to those with the highest business impact
• Developing special programs for high-impact jobs and key positions
Improving performance in areas that are off the CEO’s radar screen does little to improve the image and perceived value of talent development. However, it’s important to remember how frequently that radar screen can change. Organizational objectives shift almost as often as the business world changes. That said, it’s not enough to align development with corporate goals once a year. Ensuring alignment is a continuous process that requires at least one midyear review and adjustment point.

Talent development must remain agile and capable of providing just-in-time services as corporate needs change.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The New Realities of Talent Development

Knowledge has become very much like the technology products we rely on: once counted on to retain value for five or more years, it now becomes out of date in less than two. What’s worse, the rate at which knowledge becomes obsolete is likely to increase over the coming years. More employees are gaining access to massive, computer-aided knowledge bases. Meanwhile, globalization and offshore outsourcing practices are diversifying our employee population. What does all this mean for the development function and everyone involved? Current processes and programs must be redesigned to account for rapid obsolescence.

Organizations must develop processes to learn faster, share ideas more quickly, and increase the speed at which individuals update their capabilities. This task is made even more daunting by the environment created by downsizing, mergers, and economic pressures. No one has time to learn, and development budgets have been cut to the bone.

Are training and development obsolete?
Many experts now agree that the corporate training department as we know it is fast becoming obsolete. For too long organizations have accepted putting together a catalog of classes, providing facilitators, and implementing every fad from emotional intelligence to exercises in the woods as the equivalent of developing individuals and producing business results. What senior executives want now is a radical new approach. They want to see a direct connection between development activities and increased workforce productivity. They don’t want training or even development. What they want are results that:

• Increase the capabilities of the workforce
• Boost individual output or productivity
• Improve the adoption rate of best practices
• Enhance innovation and creativity in the workforce

In short, senior executives want the development function to radically change into one that increases productivity and delivers business results.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Learning Organizations

The world of business is changing more rapidly now than ever before. With a never-ending stream of evolving technology, expanding global markets, and cutthroat competition tactics, no organization can afford to rest on its laurels.

Organizations aiming for success must maintain a world-class workforce. While it has always been accepted that knowledge and skills gradually become obsolete, we know now that they become obsolete in a matter of months, not years. The new reality facing organizations is this: continuous learning and skill development are no longer options, but necessities. For organizations to become world-class, talent development must become a cornerstone of business. Senior executives have begun to realize the importance of building a “learning organization,” in which every employee, manager, and process continuously improves. Unfortunately, the sheer size, complexity, and speed of change in the global economy makes this goal difficult to attain. The objective is further complicated by a demographic shift in the composition of the workforce, one that many are calling an impending crisis.

As members of the baby boom generation approach retirement age and exit the workforce, they are leaving behind a much smaller, younger, and more diverse population. These subsequent generations come to the workplace with different ideals, needs, and expectations regarding development opportunities. While many organizations have tried, few have succeeded in transforming themselves into a learning organization. Most training and development professionals realize that competitive advantage is at stake, but lack the business knowledge and support needed to create a centralized development organization. It suggests that those involved with developing talent must rethink the current approach, and it offers dramatic alternatives to the status quo. It also challenges the idea that development activities must be centralized in order to be successful, and recommends shifting many development activities directly to the line manager and the employee.

While it may be provocative, traditional approaches to training and development cannot be effective in widely dispersed, lean, and rapidly changing organizations. Everyone is overworked and no one has any time for traditional development approaches and methods. Organizations need simpler management-driven approaches and tools that are designed to make continuous learning and development an integral part of the process.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Employee Motivation

Motivating employees can be one of the biggest challenges as an employer. Constant pressure to increase productivity, profitability and revenue growth can often overshadow the importance of how an unengaged workforce can negatively affect corporate performance.

In today's turbulent, often chaotic, environment, commercial success depends on employees using their full talents. Yet in spite of the myriad of available theories and practices, managers often view motivation as something of a mystery. In part this is because individuals are motivated by different things and in different ways.

Nationwide studies have shown that up to 80% of employees are not engaged by their work.

While some employees produce to their highest capability regardless of the incentive, others need an occasional spark of motivation. When handled effectively, the result can be greater productivity and increased employee morale.

Keeping employees motivated is the key to maintaining a productive, successful business. Managers must find ways to motivate employees and make them want to live up to their full potential. To do this effectively, managers need to understand what motivates employees within the context of their respective roles.

Advantages of Employee Motivation
A positive motivation philosophy and practice should improve productivity, quality, and service. Motivation helps people:
· achieve goals;
· gain a positive perspective;
· create the power to change;
· build self-esteem and capability,
· Manage their own development and help others with theirs.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rebranding HR- Resource Supply Chain Manager

Since ages HR has travelled a long journey defining itself from its nascent form as intermediary and advisors on
human relations. The biggest debate is about the importance of HR – Is it central to business or peripheral to business.

The conventional side of HR largely deals with issues like motivation and morale. The recent and complex side of HR has transformed itself into a “Resource Development Manager” both within and outside the organization.

In view of an economy which is growing largely due to the growth of service sector, the role of HR has to be transformed into Resource Supply Chain Manager. The current resource management is to transform human capital from its “Raw Material” state to “Value Adding Material”. HR as a Supply Chain Function should handle the role of sourcing, processing and delivering value added resources. In this process the function assumes the responsibility of first adding value to the "raw" employees such that they, in turn, can "add value" to the shareholders and the customers.

All principles of Supply Chain Management is applied in the process. It starts by identifying the various class and maturity of skills which are required for an organization to deliver products and services. This is then followed by a set principle that is, at what price a particular skill is productive enough to be acquired and deployed. The cost of acquisition of the resource is determined by working out the equation of the "number of times" the value a resource can add to run a business.
A very systematic assessment of the overall sectoral demand-supply situation is made This calls for a deep understanding of the level of attrition within one’s organization, historical trends, the critical from the non-critical attributes, what is the market level of attrition in various other organizations, which skills are more vulnerable , what is the new supply in terms of fresher’s coming into the market, which are the sunrise skills, what is the supply coming, what are the alternate sources and markets for skill acquisitions etc. A clear and concise recruitment plan is made by initiating a robust skill indenting process and a method by which the HR professionals prioritize which skill is more critical for the overall achievement of the business objectives. This annual plan can then be broken to derive quarterly, monthly weekly and daily forecast
Building on the Forecast Vs Fulfillment accuracy is the next step. Each skill has a preset reorder level and an Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) for the batch to be taken up for processing. However this EOQ rule does not apply to high value yielding and critical resourcing needs. Each of the main recruitment functions is a separate process line that is indenting, forecasting, CV accumulation, bucketing CVs into skill and level buckets, testing, profiling, interviewing, offer making, closing out and inducting.

The mad talent hunt- Hunted turning Hunters

In the mad hunt for talent, the hunted are turning hunters. In line with global trends, CEOs and other C-level executives from leading companies are joining headhunting firms. MasterCard south Asia GM Nitin Gupta is the most recent high-profile executive to join high-brow search firm Spencer Stuart, according to sources. He is the second C-level executive hired by Spencer Stuart in the past one year, the other being Akhil Verma, the former CFO and COO of mobile value-added services firm MobiApps.
Other senior industry execs who have made the switch in the past few months are former country head of pharma company Guidant, Atul Khanna, who joined Hunt Partners in Bangalore and Grey Worldwide’s former COO Ashutosh Khanna, who joined leading search firm Korn/Ferry in Mumbai some months back. Arjun Shrivastava, the former marketing director of flavoured beverages at PepsiCo Inc, US and Amitabh Sharma, former COO of Active Private Equity, have both joined Egon Zehnder. The move has been led by the attitudinal shift towards headhunting as the profession has become much more visible, respectable and established than it was ten years ago when the first wave of leading headhunters set office in India.
Compensation is no more an issue either. “Partners in leading executive search companies have the potential to get paid similar or more than existing CEO compensations,” says search firm Korn/Ferry country head Deepak Gupta. Unconfirmed reports suggest that some leading partners of exec search firms have received over Rs 2 crore in bonuses during last year. “I know a partner in a search firm who has taken home as much as Rs 3 crore in bonuses last year,” said a source who did not wish to be named. Bonuses in search firms are paid on the basis of successful completion of searches and client satisfaction. A search firm typically charges one-third of the candidate’s annual compensation package as fee, though this can vary according to the firm’s business model. One -third of this fee is then distributed among the firm’s partners as bonus.

*Ref Economic Times

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Passive Candidate Recruiting: Evolving With a Changing Workforce

Large-scale baby-boomer retirements, more specialized jobs and significant shortfalls in technology and other fields all have contributed to a new focus on creative hiring strategies.As the employment landscape evolves, companies are facing new challenges with talent acquisition. The recruitment of passive candidates, those who are successfully employed and not seeking new jobs, has become a critical component of the recruitment process. By instituting a passive candidate program, organizations can build large pipelines of qualified candidates, especially for hard-to-fill positions.The rise of passive recruiting dovetails with recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), another emerging trend in HR.
In RPO, companies engage with a specialized provider to perform all (enterprise RPO) or a subset (selective RPO) of their hiring functions. RPO also can be used on a project basis.Talent acquisition has become more complex, time-consuming and costly. In addition to the candidate supply-and-demand issues, many companies also experience dramatic fluctuations in hiring needs. By partnering with an RPO provider, companies can leverage passive recruitment best practices, as well as utilize recruiters focused on this hiring strategy.
At the same time, HR executives and hiring managers have taken on more strategic roles, leaving less time for transactional and administrative functions. RPO providers can offer a blend of transactional recruiting for high-volume positions, but also can partner with hiring groups to develop a passive candidate recruitment strategy that is more relationship- oriented, as opposed to transactional recruiting.
RPO offers a number of benefits to companies grappling with these issues, including a larger, more diverse talent pool, shorter hiring cycles, higher-quality candidates and lower costs. It also can be scaled up or down as a company's needs change. Many candidates say RPO also offers a more streamlined, informed and pleasant experience.By investing in a passive recruitment strategy, recruiters build relationships with candidates, not just discussing one opportunity with a candidate, but selling him or her a career with the company. The ability to continuously keep candidates warm and informed of the company's ongoing developments makes them more likely to make changes in positions. Each engagement should be designed to meet the client's unique needs. Enterprise and selective RPO engagements typically are long-term and include sourcing, screening, interview scheduling, administration, pre-employment verification and reporting. Success metrics such as candidate quality, hiring-manager satisfaction, candidate satisfaction, time to fill and ethnic/gender diversity typically are included in the contract.RPO is particularly valuable in filling jobs in which demand exceeds supply and specialized skills and experience are required because RPO providers continuously are researching the marketplace, working to understand which factors prompt candidates to make changes. Recruiters use the places where candidates work and play as primary sourcing avenues to find passive candidates.
Passive Candidate Recruiting Benefits
RPO engagements that contain a formal passive candidate delivery capability offer significant benefits. In addition to RPO's typical advantages, passive-candidate recruiting adds another layer of value. It takes what is arguably the hardest hiring challenge - creating a robust pipeline of quality candidates for hard-to-fill jobs - and deploys a full complement of targeted resources. Recruiting passive candidates is fundamentally different from attracting active candidates, which typically relies on ads, job boards and unsolicited applications.
Successful programs require a sustained focus and time commitment, as well as a wide array of resources. Passive-candidate sources must have a keen awareness of the market and deep knowledge of the most innovative ways to recruit talent.They also must be adept at communicating to a candidate the long-term career value of a new position, particularly if the candidate is happy in a current job.
RPO providers can help companies develop their pipeline strategies and can execute on organizations' strategic talent management goals.RPO engagements typically mean a greater number of candidates will hear about organizations' career opportunities, and these candidates will receive the attractive, appropriately branded messages and thus will be more knowledgeable, and hopefully more comfortable, about the move they are considering.
Typically, in an RPO passive-candidate engagement, the RPO provider and client will work together to identify the scope of the work; design sourcing, screening, hiring strategies and processes; develop a team structure; and create metrics and a reporting system. They also will create a tracking system to ensure they stay in close touch with candidates - keeping them warm - particularly for positions that don't have an open requisition.
Passive recruiting sources must understand four types of candidates:
1. Active candidates: Typically unemployed and in need of a job.
2. Semi-active candidates: Employed but want a better opportunity. They tend to look on a regular basis and are a great source for talent.
3. Semi-passive candidates: Employed but tend to look infrequently. The only ways to find them are through referrals and direct recruiting efforts.
4. Highly passive candidates: Employed, happy in their positions and must be lured away. The cost to lure these candidates can be very high in some cases. They are best targeted for high-end, mission critical or niche positions.
There are three basic strategies for dedicating resources exclusively to passive candidate recruiting.
Strategy 1: Get Ahead of the Hiring Curve:
The first strategy focuses on finding candidates that are typically in demand by the RPO client. This type of recruiting is driven not by open requisitions but by an ongoing and critical need to fill certain types of positions. For example, many companies have a constant need for specialists in accounting, finance, engineering and information technology.Pipeline teams continually source for these skills whether or not open requisitions exist, creating a robust talent pool that quickly can be tapped when positions open. In some cases, candidates with hot skills are systematically forwarded to hiring managers, prior to the opening of a requisition. This strategy is best used by creating a team of hiring managers that consistently reviews resumes and provides feedback to the recruitment team. The hiring managers will conduct interviews when strong candidates are presented, and they move forward with offers without having formal requisitions open and active.
Strategy 2: Augment Efforts for Hard-to-Fill and High-Priority Requisitions
The second strategy uses dedicated recruiting teams. In this scenario, a passive candidate recruiting team is comprised of high-end recruiters and sourcers that augment the RPO delivery team's efforts to fill high-priority or hard-to-fill positions.The team, which ideally is engaged from the beginning of the requisition process, deploys a multi-prong sourcing strategy. The strategy includes social networking sites; sourcing sites; blogs on various niche sites and directories; referral programs; trade organization and association Web sites and online user groups.The team typically is comprised of the strongest sources, who are experts on social networking and direct recruiting. These sourcers are entrenched in the appropriate networks and build relationships for referrals and contacts in the field.The team also may leverage competitor mapping, in which entire departments of key competitors are mapped out and used for direct recruiting.
Strategy 3: Apply Overwhelming Force in Aged Requisitions
The third strategy involves supporting excessively aged requisitions, particularly those falling short of service-level agreement requirements. In this scenario, a passive candidate recruiting team is engaged to bring an overwhelmingly force of dedicated resources to augment the RPO delivery team and fill the aged position(s).
Since RPO passive candidate programs are still evolving, companies need to carefully screen and select a partner. Important questions to ask include:
a) Are the recruiters/sourcers dedicated to each account, or are they spread across multiple accounts?
b) How are the recruiters/sourcers compensated?
c) What is the experience level for recruiters/sourcers ?
d) How are passive candidates typically sourced?
e) Is there flexibility to scale up and down to meet changing organizational needs?
f) Can you talk with at least three RPO client references with similar size/scope?
As the job market becomes more candidate driven, savvy HR professionals realize they must take a more proactive approach to staffing, particularly for high-volume, high-demand positions and those requiring specialized skills.
*by Rebecca Callahan

Monday, September 1, 2008

Global Leadership Challenges

Accelerating growth and globalization are forcing organizations to identify and nurture leaders who can operate effectively across the organization and, in many cases, across borders. Aging workforces in many countries increase the pressure, as a generation of senior leaders prepares to retire.

For some organizations, the key challenge is immediate: aligning current leadership with the business strategy. Other organizations struggle more with “bench strength” issues – finding and developing the leaders of the future. Many organizations face both of these leadership challenges, and almost all struggle with ensuring smooth leadership transitions.

The demands for growth and change have put HR leaders into a key role in ensuring their companies have right global leadership talent, in the right place at the right time. HR executives bear increasing responsibility for helping their organizations find and develop leaders who can move their companies forward – and then for helping those leaders to succeed. This responsibility is complicated by the fact that it’s often difficult to get a clear view into the future state of the business. Among the outstanding questions for HR executives:

How fast must they be prepared for change throughout the organization and change at the top?
What leadership skills are required for the future? How do they ensure that they hire, develop and retain the people with the right skills – intellectually, technologically and emotionally?
Should leaders be the same worldwide or should they have distinct talents and characteristics based on their location? Is there one leadership brand for a company or many?
How can they prepare the next generation of leaders, fast enough and well enough, to meet the company’s strategic goals?
How will they find the leaders who can work effectively in an ever more globalized environment?