Posts tagged ‘talent management’

March 6, 2012

Leadership and curiosity: how curious are you?


Have you ever noticed how the best leaders also tend to be the most curious leaders? Great leaders simply aren’t satisfied with what they know. They possess an insatiable curiosity for discovery and learning – they are in constant pursuit of what they don’t know, and what lies ahead. Real leaders are not nearly as concerned with attainment (stasis) as they are with betterment (change). Since the dawn of time the world has been shaped by leaders who understand that curiosity is the gateway to the future. So my question is this –

How curious are you?

Among many other things, curiosity helps frame vision, advances learning, fuels passion, and drives innovation. Curiosity often inspires the courage to discuss the undiscussable, challenge current thinking, deviate from behaviors accepted as normal, and to do what others previously thought impossible. The best leaders understand that usual and customary are not necessarily synonymous with healthy and thriving. The real key to curiosity begins with an open mind – a recognition that those who think differently aren’t inferior, nor are they a threat. An open mind is a sign of confidence which allows leaders to recognize diversity of opinion leads to better thinking and better outcomes.

Here’s where I’m going to throw you a curve ball – while great leaders tend to spend most of their time being externally focused, I want you to turn your curiosity inward and become introspective for a few moments. It was Socrates who said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” When was the last time you did some serious self-examination on how your curiosity, or the lack thereof, is impacting your ability to function as a leader? Be curious enough to answer the following four questions about yourself:

1. Are you making a difference?

Why should anyone be led by you? Great leaders answer this question with their actions on a daily basis. If you’re not making a difference, you’re not leading. If your actions are not directly contributing to the betterment of those you lead, then you need to become curious about how to make some very real and meaningful changes.

2. Are you growing?

If you’re not growing as a person and as a leader, then it’s very likely those under your charge are following your lead. I’ve often said it’s impossible for a leader who is not growing to lead a growing organization. Nobody is too busy to learn. In fact, you don’t have the time not to learn. Leaders who don’t value learning will quickly be replaced by those who do.

3. Is your curiosity starting conversations, or your lack thereof shutting them down?

If your ego is messaging you have all the answers, and that your way is the only way, then why would anyone ever be inspired to pursue change and innovation? A leader who doesn’t encourage others to challenge their thinking isn’t a leader – they’re a dictator. Dictators suppress individual thought and new ideas, while leaders encourage it at all costs.

4. Is your curiosity attracting talent, or your lack thereof chasing it away?

A leader’s ability to seek out and embrace new ideas will serve as a magnet for attracting the best talent. The best talent desires to be a part of a culture that encourages contribution rather than stifling it. If you’re the leader who looks around the organization and asks “why can’t we attract better talent?” it’s because you value a compliant workforce more than a talented workforce. Real leaders don’t care who is right, they care about what is right – never forget this.

Bottom line – don’t settle for what is, use your curiosity to think what if? and seek out what can be. Thoughts? I’m curious…

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February 11, 2012

Filling the talent gap with innovative recruitment strategies


An Accenture survey of 1,088 U.S. workers and unemployed citizens tells the story: The majority of workers surveyed (55%) report that they are under pressure to develop additional skills to succeed in their current and future jobs. But only 21% say they have acquired new skills through formal, company-provided training during the past five years; only 6% have participated in training through podcasts and other informal mechanisms.

While employees take the responsibility to develop their own skills, they’re not getting good guidance from employers about exactly which skills would be most beneficial. As a result, they tend to focus narrowly on technology skills, the Accenture survey reports. Few people have updated other in-demand skills such as problem-solving or analytics.

The Accenture study highlights that there are a number of important innovations in the recruiting and hiring fields that can make it easier to find top-performing, skilled talent on a global basis, quickly and more cheaply. Recent company expernce suggests a number of ways to take advantage of these new techniques

1. Use social media platforms to find talent yourself

Instead of relying on expensive headhunters or job postings, many organizations are moving toward identifying the ideal candidates through social media sites such as LinkedIn or Taleo Talent Exchange, and then contacting those people directly, often with customized employment offers.

When gaming company Red 5 Studios was struggling to compete with large technology companies for skilled developers, for example, it didn’t post a job opening at all. Instead, it identified a list of ideal candidates, learned what it could about each, and then created individualized employment pitches that were recorded on iPods sent to candidates in attention-grabbing Russian-doll-style nested boxes

  1. 2. Identify and filter people by looking beyond what’s listed on their résumés

Numerous studies have found that screening people by looking for key words on a résumé is not an effective way to predict performance. Such an approach can also lead companies to cast their nets too narrowly, missing potential top performers.

New startups are emerging to help companies alter that approach inexpensively, teaching them how to use competency, skills or cultural fit assessments on the front end of the screening process to supplement the initial, résumé-based screening.

Other companies, including Google, are broadening their search for skilled people by screening candidates based on the quality of their work or their personal biography—not only where they went to school or what work experiences they’ve had.

The company might, for instance, ask a series of detailed biographical questions shown to be statistically correlated with top performance at the company: Have you ever set a world record in anything? Have you ever started a club? What Internet mailing lists do you subscribe to? Google also stages work competitions (for software coding, for example), with the winner getting the open position.

Accenture envisions new Internet companies that will work much like a dating service. This would enable closer matches between job candidates and companies, through profiles that contain such information (properly protected and secured) as samples of actual work, assessment scores, answers to biographical questions, competition results, pre-recorded videos with answers to common behavioral interview questions, work motivators and interests, geographic preferences and more.

3. Forge relationships with potential employees before you need them

When 3D design software company Autodesk was having trouble finding skilled candidates, it realized that it needed to proactively build relationships with potential hires on an ongoing basis.

Explains Matthew Jeffery, head of talent acquisition, “It’s all about opening up a conversation to create a talent pipeline. This doesn’t mean just posting your jobs on Facebook; it means revealing your culture, how people are having fun, what the jobs are really like, even the silly things that go on in your office. It’s about being authentic and transparent, and engaging your own employees to be a brand ambassador in a human way, and helping build emotional connections.”

By actively engaging in conversations with candidates, Autodesk built a Facebook community of more than 150,000 members in just 12 months, creating an active and interested talent pool to draw from when the company is ready. Candidate relationship databases that work much like customer relationship marketing databases can also help a company send periodic tailored information to interested parties, creating ongoing relationships a company can tap into when opportunities arise.

4. Hire from alternative talent pools

Increasingly, companies are finding innovative, off-the-beaten-track ways to find skilled people. One way of achieving this is to target selected industries with a surplus of workers.

In the United States, for example, healthcare companies have worked to retrain displaced autoworkers. Entergy Corp., a US energy company, targets ex-military personnel to fill positions as varied as repair technicians and nuclear engineers. JetBlue Airways staffed its reservations department with mostly stay-at-home workers who can take reservations while still caring for their households.

Organizations are also increasingly targeting workers in different geographic regions, including countries where the companies are not headquartered, where there is a surplus of talent in specific skill sets.

4. Partner with schools to help develop the skills you need

An often gaping disconnect between what a student learns in school and the needs of employers contributes significantly to the global skills crisis. But today, leading companies are working with universities, community colleges and trade schools to develop a pipeline of people to recruit years before they need them.

For example, HCL Technologies, an Indian-based global technology services company, has entered into collaborative partnerships with 25 top engineering colleges in India. Managers at HCL review the curriculum and offer input to the colleges, which then tweak and revise the courses as needed to meet the company’s requirements. HCL also works as a member of the national consortium of IT companies called NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies), helping to define and communicate the skills required in the industry, including the levels of supply and demand for those skills.

What are you doing to help with filling the talent gap?

December 12, 2011

Gender diversity as performance driver: read the last Mc Kinsey report and get your priorities right


http://www.mckinsey.com/locations/paris/home/womenmatter.asp

The 2010 Women Matter report confirms that women are still underrepresented in boards of corporations, although improvements have been seen in this area in some countries. At the same time, gender diversity within executive committees remains very low.

And yet gender diversity in the top management of corporations remains a key topic: three years after the first Women Matter study, the link between the presence of women in executive committees and better financial performance is still valid.

The 2010 Women Matter study provides a focused analysis on how to achieve gender diversity at top management level. Its findings are partly based on a survey we conducted in September 2010 of about 1,500 business leaders worldwide across all industries, from middle managers to CEOs. The survey concretely reveals that a majority of leaders, both men and women, now recognize gender diversity as a performance driver, while also showing that actual implementation of gender-diversity measures in corporations remains limited.

This is not surprising as the achievement of gender diversity is not at the top of – nor even on – companies’ strategic agenda: only 28 percent of respondents identified this as a top-10 priority in their company. This is a concern, as the new McKinsey study shows a link between having gender diversity as a top priority and achieving women representation in C-level positions (CEO, COO, CFO, etc.). Moreover, the companies that have placed this topic high on their strategic agenda implement on average more gender-diversity measures.

The study finally identifies those measures that tend to be more effective in increasing women representation, highlighting in particular the impact of CEO commitment and women’s individual development programs.

Looking forward therefore, the findings of the 2010 Women Matter study should help clarify priorities for those companies that want to achieve gender diversity in their top management.

December 11, 2011

Event Information: Harnessing the Global Talent Pool to Accelerate Innovation


Event Information: Harnessing the Global Talent Pool to Accelerate Innovation

As more industries become commoditized and innovation becomes more of a focus, organizations are being forced to move beyond a talent ownership mindset to a talent attraction and engagement mindset.

In this webinar, we will explore how organizations can utilize open innovation and crowdsourcing resources as an essential talent management strategy to harness the growing numbers of retired scientists, unemployed experts, and underemployed talent around the world to generate ideas, solve problems, and further the goals of the business. The webinar will also explore how individuals can bolster their incomes and credentials by participating in open competitive challenges.

Three things you’ll learn:

1. Why having an external talent network strategy is becoming increasingly important
2. How leading organization manage their open innovation and crowdsourcing efforts
3. Strategies for attracting and engaging talent to your organization’s innovation efforts