Archive for the ‘Talent Management’ Category

I have been working in the talent management industry for 19 years now, and if I have learned anything it is that we don’t know much and repeatedly fail.

We have been setting goals, more or less successfully, more or less aligned. Sometimes even relevant goals. But so far it seems the most enthusiastic people are the talent management evangelists. The employees are not convinced, and the managers have to much else to do. We spend time to explain goals need to be smart, and employees simply want us to go.away and do their job.

We do succession planning, and then when we hit a bad quarter we fire our bench.

We try to measure competence. But we can’t even agree on what it is and even less measure it consistently.

We try to convince our employees to define career plans, and they are, they just don’t include current employer.

Unless we get the employees motivated and the managers really sees a benefit, it won’t work. And so far I have not seen that happen.

But now we finally see a new way of working. Where conversation is also between coworkers, Facebook style. Where we can openly show appreciation and praise each other. Where employees get involved and managers get real data out of the system.  Some call it gamification. I just observe that when we look at how people use their computers, tabs and phones, and learn from that. Then the chance they will use our TM software increases. When we build usability that does not require a 50 pages instruction document (Facebook is self explanatory) then the employees stop complaining it’s to complex, because it’s not anymore.

So we have a chance now. Let’s take it and finally get this beast to roar like it has been supposed to do all these years. 

Cross breed a simple process with good usability and easy too use collaboration and great transparency, and we might actually succeed.

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A friend of mine put on Facebook that he was going to a customer to convert powerpoint buzzwords into real value in a Talent management project.


That is great, I just wonder. How many fail to do that? How many Talent Management projects are peaking with the flashy buzzword powerpoint?

When the real goal is not to do powerpoint, not even to produce the reports HR are so crazy about.


The real value starts

  • When employees are using the Talent Management tool and get value, and results, back from it.
  • When your employees gets more aligned.
  • When your employees are doing the right stuff, with the right people, at the right time.


Not when you get a report telling you that out of A people B % is rated C because of D. Who cares, it just tells you that the employees are not getting anything back from the time invested in Talent Management. When they get efficient, start to produce more, being happier and cooperating as never before, then Talent management is good.


But how to reach that? Most companies struggle to get the employees to log into the TM system. So how to get them to embrace it and actively use it?


You give them something back for their effort. If the system helps them cooperate and find peers with the right knowledge. If they get help to reach their goals get better understanding of their goals and their bosses and the companies goals. Then they will use the system, and the system will help them be more efficient.


So as usual. Don’t look what the HR department wants to get out of the system. Look at how you can get the system to help the employees and give them some real value. The rest will follow.



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We are doing a lot of goal setting in Talent Management today. And a lot of that is using the SMART methodology to set goals


  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound


And yes, these 5 factors are all really really important, but there are even more important factors.


Employee owned

If a goal is felt being set by the manager and owned by the manager the employee might just don’t care. The goal must be owned by the employee, or at least have a serious dose of buy in, or the goal is just something entered in a system to get ”good” statistics.


Employee influence

Goals that are set centrally and assessed centrally. Often budget goals are not really anything the employee cares about. If the company has more than 5 employees most employees feel they cant really influence the outcome anyway. They can do their best, but not reach it anyway.


So ease back from the process on how to define SMART goals and make sure the goals are the right goals first. Otherwise don’t bother, the employee is not a fool and with goals that are not owned and influenced by the employees all you get is ”good” statistics saying that everyone has goals (that no one cares about)


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I am sitting at the Schiphol airport on my way home. Day 2 I had hopee would surprise me, and it did. But in the totally wrong direction

When someone is talking about their new performance process and it turns out is has 3 steps.

1. Set goals and objectives
2. Mid year review
3. End year review

I feel like I was transported back to 2002. The organizers failed when putting that session i to the program. Where is the face paved company, the ever chaning reality? Just gone, and with them the visions apparently.

Some other sessions were good, bjt same old message. Yes I got my roadmap validated, but no one managed to surprise me with some new insights. It was more last years insights with lipstick. Are we vendors so slow that this is how it is? Probably yes I am sad to say. But please remember that when the visionaries are visionaries, the main bulk of the HR practitioners have their day to day problems. They cant disrupt their processes just to be cutting edge all the time.

So if I draw a conclusion of these 2 days it is that they were interesting but not really surprising. That the fast paced world is not so fast paced after all.

But off course, my roadmap is influenced of the fast paced world, sooner or later everyone changes, even the lay that was stuck in 2002.


Btw, sorry about yesterdays spelling, done on a pad and in a hurry.

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I think that everyone agrees that its cheaper if you can get a good employee not to quit than to replace it. So everyone looks at different ways of getting their employees feeling like they are wanted, and preferably without it costing to much.

One way of doing that has long been to reward those employees working for 5, 10 or X years. Give them a reward. Most likely a small present or monetary award and a Plaque.


But wait, what are we rewarding here? We are rewarding the fact that they have not found another job for a certain period of time? That they are just lazy??? We are not rewarding a good job, just the fact that they have not changed employer?


So anyone who manages to keep their job gets a reward.


Here you go chap, good of you to not replace us, please stay on some more.


To me that can also be interpreted.


Here you go chap, if we give you a plaque will we fool you into i staying some more?




Here you go chap, you did not manage to get another job, so we are happy to keep you.


Give me a reward if I do something good, tell me when I do something great, or if I fail. But don’t give me a reward for failing to get a better job. That is the totally wrong reward of giving. It just shows me that you don’t really care/know what my contribution is, just that your HR system tells you I have stayed for a long time.


Give med feedback on what I do, not for that I did it for a long time.

And to end it, NO I have not gotten an award like this, not since 2000, and then the award was 3 months of paid vacation (but those were another time)

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When I started this blog I was mostly after a way of writing down thoughts I had about Talent Management (TM) without promoting my own company (that is what we have the company blog for:-) ). Since then I have realized that even if I have been living with TM-suites for 15 years not many else have, hence my series about parts of the integrators in Talent Management.



  1. Development integrated, part 1
  2. Development integrated, part 2
  3. Development integrated, part 3
  4. Development integrated, part 4

I kind of hoped for a debate in the commentaries, but building a following like the big bloggers takes time and I don’t have the time to spend that I think is needed on twitter for that.

So I continue write my ideas in the hope that they will be of value to someone. And even if they are not it’s a good way of thinking things through and shed light on areas from different angles, and that’s always good for at least me, so that’s another reason I blog today. I do it for me.

If anyone find it helpful, all the better.

Enjoy the summer

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I am reading he book with the title above. The subtitle is “A Practical Approach to Implementation within SME”. It was two things that attracted me
  1. Combination of performance measurement and balance scorecards
  2. SME (Small to Medium Enterprises)
One thing in this new book (published 2012) that bothers me is that is relies a lot on studies made 10 years, or more, ago. When the authors say that a SME does not know that Talent Management suites exists I don’t think that is true anymore. 10 years ago the suite was a new thing. There were not many around (hey, the term Talent Management was barely around) today we have a lot of TM suites out there, and some are targeting the SME.

To be true. To implement a Performance Management process in  a SME and a big company is two different things. And the software supporting it need yo be designed with that in mind.

A SME still need the silo free talent management that only a suite can offer. They just must have it easy to use. A lot of people are doing multiple jobs, so the system need to be able to handle that in an easy to use and easy o understand way.

  • Make it easy to prefill system with data
  • Make it easy to adapt to the fast changes in an SME
  • Make it easy to generate reports, that are easy to understand
  • No one need the really advanced features, they want it done.
  • No one has the time for endless workshops and training
In an SME performance must be easy yo use, hands on, and show results.
That can be done with a proper suite that gives silo free talent management in an easy to implement and easy to use way.

During the last 10 years a revolution has happened, to bad the book sometimes misses that in its eagerness to refer to studies.

I will later be back with a more full review of the whole book

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