Archive for the ‘Talent Management’ Category

Do you have a compensation manager,  a recruitment manager and someone else doing performance?

And who has the overview? Who gets the reports spanning more than one process? If you work in silos a silo free talent management suite is a waste. You will not get the benefits. Its when you start to organize yourself silo free that you will be able to think silo free, work silo free, report silo free.

And 1+1 is suddenly 42

At a dinner with our CEO we talked about cascading of behaviour from top level to middle managers and down. Question was why it does not happen, why is leading by example sometimes not enough? Answer we arrived at is that one factor is that it is hard to push people out of their comfort zone. You might need a coach, for by them self they will probably not do it.

That got me thinking on silo free talent management, and why it is not happening. We have all these experts. But are they able to push themselves out of their comfort zone? Probably not.

Sure you will still need people with different areas of expertise, but don’t let the experts live their life in their silo. Have them train each other so that any one of them can work in anyone else’s area. Its when you apply your expertise on other sub processes you will get the insights you need. Its when you force people to think outside their comfort zone you will get the stunning results.

So use your experts. For e them out of their comfort zones. Cooperate.

Let 1+1 be 42

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I usually keep my Nordic/Swedish thoughts to my product management blog, but lately I have been thinking on if there is a Nordic style of Talent Management, and what that would be.

How does talent management in the Nordics differ from the rest of Europe, the US or Asia-Pacific region?

The Nordics (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway) are all small countries with a strong anglic influence (possible exception being language on Iceland). We are used to adapt to a world around us. And that is one clue to how we behave when we buy Talent Management systems. We can get a process that is almost “right” and then change ourselves instead of the software. Historically Germany is a good example of the opposite (that SAP is German is not anything random). One funny thing is that sometimes I get the feeling Asia-Pacific also are willing to compromise, but the reason being it moves so quick over there that its better to happen almost right than not happen at all.

One other thing is that employees have a strong influence in the Nordics, the labour laws are more protective of the employees and the employees are very conscious of their rights. So who is going into the system to add goals, or match to other positions? Yepp, the employee. A typical setup in the Nordics have more rights to the employee than in other regions. I have long said that a good way to get acceptance, and usage, of a talent management system is to give something back. In the Nordics that happen as the employee easily can see requirements for other positions and jobs, and match itself and do gap analysis.

These 2 are 2 items that set the Nordics apart from the rest (as a combination). With the rise of SaaS (Software as a Service) the will to adapt is spreading, but I don’t think the view of the employee will spread as fast. But in the war for talent, who knows. Maybe it is one way of keeping your talents, be open, give options.

Just think of the crown prince syndrome in succession planning. The world is split on that one, but I know where I would place my bet in a future where keeping the employees is being more and more important.

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When trying to use a Silo Free Talent Management process you will need to pend time on your definitions. You need to have ONE set of definitions that are used in all sub processes from Sourcing to career planning to learning. wont do to have different ones for how will you then use them integrated and how will you get meaningful reports out of it?
Something I see is a confusion about some common definitions.
  • What is a development plan?
  • What is a position?
  • Job is that HR or Talent Acquisition?
  • Job family or job?
Whatever you do, make sure you have the definitions straight. If you don’t how will your managers and employees ever understand what they should do? I will offer some suggestions to a central set of these definitions.

A person make no mistake about that. Not any abstract entity. Is always a human being and always real. As a person they have ONE skill set and ONE career. Might have more than one role, but how can they have different skill sets, they might just utilize different partsof it.

A seat in the organisation. Might have a requirement profile tied to it. And hopefully one or more employees.

The template for the position. Is not connected to the organisation but might have a requirement profile tied to it. An employee is not connected to a job, they are connected to a position that is of a certain job. So Lars (employee) is sales manager in Stockholm (position) that is of the type sales manager (job).

Job family
The job family is a group of jobsthat belong together. Junior sales accountant, sales accountant and sales manager might all be jobs in the the family sales.

Career path
Is NOT a job family. The career path is a series of jobs, but they might be in different job families. A move from delivery consultant to product manager to marketing manager is probably a path in 3 different job families, but not a very uncommon one.

Whatever you do, make sure your definitions are clear, and not unique. If you define career paths as a series of positions it might make sense, but will anyone understand it when every time they Google get other definitions back?

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In part 1 we tried to look at a definition of competencies and what different types there might be.

In part 2 we had a look at the more ordinary uses of competencies in classic Talent Management

Now its time to go into recruitment territory

Recruitment ( I will use the term Recruitment instead of the word Talent Acquisition as its so hard to spell:-) ) is today an integrated part of talent management. That a candidate becomes an employee and keeps its data is one thing. But why not start earlier in the process?

When we edit the text for the job advertisement why not get help based on the requirements for the job

When the candidate fill in the application form. Parts of it should be position specific. Why not use competencies tied to the job?

When the recruiter is doing the interview. Why not assist by providing questions based upon the desired competencies?

If you use pre-hire and/or post-hire assessment. Spice it up by use your competency requirements.

So as you see. Competencies can be used early in the process. We just need to add more data to the definition of a competency


  • Texts for Ads
  • Interview questions
  • Application form questions (but also use the competencies directly)

Integrate with Assessment providers and you will get a much needed integrated process for getting your talent into your organisation.


In this short competency walk through we have seen that competencies are at the very heart of any Talent Management effort. If you get them right, and continue by defining your requirements profiles you will get so much of the rest for “free”. In order to get the competencies you can either in workshops define your competencies or buy a set of already defined. Its up to you, in one case you will  get a competency catalog that is tailored to you and in the other hand you will get a industry wide best practice set of competencies that might be good enough. After have seen both approaches I would opt for getting a catalog and then do changes to it. If you define it by yourself you just might take on a to big job that might end with a failed Talent Management effort.

But before you get your competencies, define what you wanna use them for and make sure they provide you with the data you need to use them for training, recruitment and gap analysis. Make sure you have one competency catalog to use and not one for training, another for performance and a third for recruitment. There may be forces that would say that you should have a best practice catalog for each case, but where is the synergy? If you use the same you can use them from hire to fire.

That was the last post in our mini series about competencies.

Good luck with your competencies.

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After my series on development, where we touched competencies, I think its time to dive deeper into the world of competencies.

Lets start by looking into what competencies are.

If we go to the wiki we find

Some scholars see “competence” as a combination of knowledge, skills and behavior used to improve performance; or as the state or quality of being adequately or well qualified, having the ability to perform a specific role.

So the definition would be “A competency is the knowledge, ability and willingness to perform a task“. That would mean that its not just knowledge, its the ability to use the knowledge and even the willingness to use it. To be able to do something but not do it is of no use.

In Talent Management we also have other things thar are related to it, and often used in similar ways. So I will throw in

  1. Behavioural skills. Not only knowledge but ability and willingness to show certain behaviour
  2. Social competencies, partly overlapping with the Behavioural skills, but I mention them here as the term is used a lot.
  3. Certificates, the more hard facts of competencies. Not assessed but set down by rules.

Which means we might have 3 “different” things that could all be considered competencies. Some of them can be assessed by the employee, some of them are more tied to predefined rules and other are more assessed by others.

The crucial thing in silo free talent management is that they are not kept apart. They are just different sides of the same coin.

In next post we will explore where we might used these competencies.



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Well, finally we are at the final post in this mini series. We will now summarize it all.

  • In part 1 we went over the basics of integrated development activities.
  • In part 2 we examined what these activities can be, and what we need to support them.
  • In part 3 we talked all about competencies and followed an employee from hire to fire.

So now to the conclusion

I will here try to summarize and give lists of what you need to look for. The whole post is a  bit system centric and not how you later implement it as I for once actually think that you need a system that gives you all the opportunities to build your process. With a good system you will get a support for parts of the process that would never have been possible if you did it all on paper or in Excel.

The Development activity – basics

First we need the development activity. In post 2 we agreed that we need

  1. What are we doing?
  2. When are we doing it?
  3. Any cost connected to it?
  4. Double assessments (both of how did the employee do, and how good is the activity)

For some of the activities we might need

  1. Sub activities
  2. Summaries
  3. Progress notes
  4. Appointment scheduling

And the integration points

Our activities could be connected to other processes

  1. Career plan,
  2. Succession planning
  3. Performance management
  4. OnBoarding
  5. Stand alone (yes some could be that)

And then we want to reuse our knowledge

We indentified a need to be able to build a library of activities. That library should contain:

  1. What we did
  2. Did we address a competency gap with it
  3. Did we succeed
  4. Assessments
  5. Costs

We also wanted a good integration with our competencies so we could

  1. Identify activities from our library based on competency gaps

And use other knowledge

If we have a LMS (Learning Management System) we want to be able to integrate that one, preferably with all data as in our development activity catalogue.  A development activity could be a training item in the LMS.

Thats it folks

Well actually its not. You still need to map out all the details in your process around development activity.

  • If you have a catalogue, who can add to it?
  • What are the rating scales use for assessments
  • The whole workflow around an activity
  • Are you buying a training catalougue with your LMS or building one yourself?
  • Build or buy Competency framework?
  • social feedback on activities (s0mething I totally ignored so far because its a huge area of its own)

And so on. But we have a start to get there, We just need to remember:

We need a fully integrated development activity process

We have touched a lot of other processes, but hey, its silo free talent management so its supposed to.

Next steps

Now that we have the integartions mapped out and the basics in place we whousl consider items like

  • Social feedback
  • More engaged employees
  • Competencies
  • the workflow

And we will do that in 2012. So keep your eyes open.

Happy New Year

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Development activities, different types of them, and how they should be handled.

In part 1 we went over the basics of integrated development activities.

Now it is time to examine what these activities can be, and what we need in our software to support them.

If we go back in the mists of time, say to the 1990s, a development activity very often was “attend an instructor lead training”.  It can still be, but today we recognize that development can be so much more.

Integrated Employee Development

Instructor lead training

The good old instructor lead training is still going strong. Sometimes that is the answer, and we need to handle it. It may just be that we want to record what we do and also keep track of the cost and when we did it. But we should at least have an assessment of the training in itself, not how well the employee developed, but what did the employee think of the training. Can be used when we decide if we want to use it again. Sometimes we want the training catalog to be integrated in our system, if we do that we can also use competency gaps to identify what training to use (more in a later post about competencies).

Online training

Here we often think e-learning. Truth is that it comes in a wide variety, but it all comes down to some sort of integration to LMS. Yes, it might also be done without an integration. The training might be hosted at a supplier portal. So what we need is to record, what we do, cost and a due date. It would also be nice to record assessments as above.


Most often we mean, I need a coach. The employee and the coach/mentor should meet, they should record activities and progress. So here we also need a possibility to have a list of appointments, and a list of sub actions, with their own assessments, timing and costs. To be able to sum on these to get a final cost, or a final assessments is always nice.

Read a book/self study

Sometimes we just need time. We know what to do , we need a quiet spot and we need time to do it in. Might be self study, read a book, review some old work. Whats interesting is that this is also a development activity and should be assessed afterwards. Any cost for it? Did we send the employee somewhere to get quiet?

Job rotation

And lastly we have job rotation. Might it be that the employee should try some time in another job? We need access to career plan then to get a hint of what that job ,might be. A possibility to setup that temporary position. Assessments afterwards, and maybe also a record in the internal job history.


So we have different activity types, and they have overlapping needs. Some of them might be crucial to have in the system and some we might just want to have the ability to record, not fully support the process of them. Lets get back to that in a later post.

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