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Talent Management

What do Employee Value Propositions Hold for the Future?

There are several reasons to have an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) i.e.: retention, attraction and productivity. Unemployment is at a high but the percentage of employees exhibiting high discretionary effort has decreased by more than half since 2005.  Although the percentage of employees who intend to remain is steadier, the number of high potentials who intend to stay has dropped to 21% (CLC 2010).  This questions the effectiveness of the current EVP's.

These are unsettling times for businesses, and employees which have created cracks in the EVP.  The Corporate Leadership Council (CLC) does not recommend to promise stability, but to just set stability expectations and give line managers guidance for how to manage simple communications.

EVP Research by CLC proposes 5 categories: Rewards, Opportunities, People, Work and Organization and their research highlights the top preferences to attract and retain employees.  I'm not going to go through the design and implementation of an EVP here, it is context and company specific.  Please feel free to contact me if you have individual questions.  However, there are a number of common levers.

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Source: CLC Human Resource 2010

There are a couple of good recommendations, but the purpose of this article is to challenge how we view the EVP; yes even the CLC.   If we keep measuring and managing the incomplete picture, we will keep on getting the incomplete answer and hence output.   The research between job satisfaction and job performance at best has shown a limited positive relationship, and at worse a negative one.   The variance in relationship is between r = -.39 to .86; for example Chapman & Chapman 1969. Vroom examined the relationships between job satisfaction and job performance across 20 studies and established a median correltaion of r=.14,  Petty et al  r =.23 and Muchinshky 1985 r = .17 (Petty, McGee & Cavendar 1984) (Iaffaldano & Muchinsky 1985) (Vroom 1964).

One simple explanation is that we do not go to work as one person and come home as a different one. 

The EVP’s make this assumption, albeit there is work-life balance and links with health but, this is not tackling the whole person.  To add some research that demonstrates the strength of research between happiness and contentment in life, and not just at work with job performance.  Cropanzano 2000 proposes that the weakness in the relationship is due to the innacurate measure of satisfaction, it is too narrow, which is consistent with others in the field (Wright & R 2000)(Fisher 1980, Organ 1977).  They found that when a measure of happiness was used instead of job satisfaction it identified a stronger relationship between performance r = .32. Staw, Sutton, and Pelled 1994 went further to include employees overall positive emotion and pay r =.24.

If this is the case we need to better understand what makes people happy in life, and how can great companies influence this process.  There is already existing research on happiness from the psychology field.  OD professional just need to look across psychology, social science and business.

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10 Skills and Characteristics that Children can Explore using Books, Movies and Video Games

10 Skills and Characteristics that Children can Explore using Books, Movies and Video Games

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This piece focuses on how Talent could be developed in children through different mediums, on of the aims of the Talent Development in Children group. There are a lot of values we try to teach are kids and I have been reading some interesting research on literature, and the development of values.  I thought it would be useful to summarise the different books, films and games I have found so far, and the values that they support. Children can soak up so many different images in their heads; some can be conjured up in a child’s imagination through literature, and others through visual images or play.

1. Challenging the status quo

When we can teach are kids to question how things work, challenge the status quo and think differently this is a great life skill.

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Poor, sick Princess Lenore wants the moon so that she can be well again. The anxious King consults his wise men to no avail, and only when he calls on his jester who innovative thinking to solve the problem.

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In order to win the treasure of stories Anase who is an elderly man must outsmart and capture 3 clever creatures.

Antz Dreamworks Movie

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One ant challenges the community to think differently and change their world as they are actually stronger as a community.

2. Inspiring Others

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A toy Indian and his canoe travel from Lake Nipigon to the Atlantic Ocean facing many obstacles, setbacks and detours.  To complete the journey the canoe needs help from external sources like the wind.

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Children will delight in the universal dream of mastering one's world by flying over it.  It is only when the main character shares the vision with her brother that it becomes possible.

3. Empowering Others to Act

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The tsar issues a proclamation that whoever can build a flying ship may marry his daughter. With help and determination, a foolish young peasant overcomes all obstacles and wins her hand, in this traditional Ukrainian folktale.

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3 soldiers have to creatively win the trust of a village.

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4. Role Modelling

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How the old can learn from the young.

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President Lincoln's life from childhood. Providing a model for hard work, honesty, visions, tenacity and success.

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It's a perfect world, where everything looks right. But ugly truths lie beneath the surface…

It is the future. There is no war, no hunger, no pain. No one in The Community wants for anything. Everyone is provided for. Each Family Unit is entitled to one female and male child. Each member of The Community has their profession carefully chosen for them by the Committee of Elders, and they never make a mistake.

Jonas, a sensitive twelve-year-old boy, had never thought there was anything wrong with his Community, until one day. From the moment Jonas is selected as the Receiver of Memory at The Ceremony, his life is never the same. Jonas discovers that The Community is not as perfect as it seems. Although they appear to have everything, they are missing something of great importance. It is up to Jonas, with the help of the Giver, to find what long ago had been lost. And so Jonas embarks on an adventure to save the world as he knows it.

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With Shealy as a guide, we appreciate anew the confusions and difficulties that beset the March sisters as they overcome their burdens and journey toward maturity and adulthood: beautiful, domestic-minded Meg, doomed and forever childlike Beth, selfish Amy, and irrepressible Jo.

5. Being Different is OK! - Diversity

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This stunning story deals with the severe consequences of intolerance.

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Hoping to impress a sexy female classmate, fifteen-year-old Carlos secretly hires gay student Sal to give him an image makeover, in exchange for Carlos's help in forming a Gay-Straight Alliance at their Texas high school.

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6. Tenacity

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The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong 
Newbery Medal 1955. The children in a small Dutch town try to bring the storks back to nest on their roofs.

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Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Weatherford
Award-winning picture-book treatment of Tubman.

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The smallest and humblest of creature can dream of greatness and, if faithful to himself and the dream, can become the noblest of creatures.

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Chris, a young boy of 6, is playing in the park at Toad Catchers' Creek with his friends when he decides to attempt to cross the legendary monkey bars. On first attempt, he fails and falls to the ground…in the process he loses his self-confidence and is embarrassed in front of his playmates. Chris' father consoles him and tells Chris the story of a Macaw named Screech who was afraid to fly. Screech allowed this fear to dominate his existence until one day, his friend Tracker falls from a branch high in the rainforest. As Screech watches him plummet towards the ground, Screech gathers all of his courage and uses the four magic words that his mother had taught him… I CAN DO IT. Armed with his mother's magic and his true courage, Screech takes off from his nest, catches Tracker and returns him safely to the ground. Screech, now the hero, has realized that he did have the power to overcome his fear and succeed where he had failed in the past.

Once Chris hears the story, his father encourages him to use the magic words and try the monkey bars again. This time he gets all the way across and learns that he too, has the power to grow and overcome his fear. The story ends with his father telling Chris that one day Chris will share this knowledge with his child and he too will know how it feels to see his child succeed.

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Frank wasn't satisfied doing ordinary frog things. He wanted to fly, but he was a frog and frogs can't fly. Follow along as Frank jumps and runs and leaps and dives until he finally finds his place in the pond. The companion book on cd will transport you and your child into Frank's world with sound effects and wonderful performances by children and adu

7. Encouraging Heart

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An African picture book drawing on the 26 distinct aspects of the alphabet.  It recognises and celebrates the individual contributions of multiple African tribes and cultures.

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A story of a family mouse preparing for winter. However, Frederick is preoccupied with gathering abstract things and does not gather enough food for the cold season.  He then utilises his talent 'imagination' to encourage others, and bring warmth at a difficult time.  He had to wait until the other mice were open to his contribution.

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8. Taking Responsibility and Accountability

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A great book about diversity and empathy. It is wonderfully written in rhyme, and the illustrations are superb!  It teaches children not to just follow the crowd.

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From the author of Adventures at Walnut Grove: A Lesson about Teasing comes a tale about taking responsibility for your own actions. Silly and Sassy come to Walnut Grove to visit their cousin Sammy. Silly and Sassy are always getting into trouble. They play hide 'n seek, have frog races, and play dare or double dare. How does this lead to jumping off a bridge? Read I DOUBLE Dare You! to find out how everyone learns that it's not always wise to follow your friends.  Do you accept responsibility or blame someone else for your actions? I hope that I DOUBLE Dare You! helps children think about the decisions they make, and that they try to make good choices.

9. Self-Awareness

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Tinkerbell smashes a unique stone that gives life to the fairy tree.  She blames everything on her best friends, and is not fully aware of her own flaws or talents. After a long treacherous journey she turns the mirror on herself and realises her role, takes responsibility and learns form her mistakes.   In the end she creates a solution that makes more fairy dust than any fairy has ever made.

10. Strategic Thinking

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The Common Flaws of Competency Frameworks

The Common Flaws of Competency Frameworks

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There are benefits and limitations of Competency Models that are often not understood in their implementation. The top companies like Bank of America, General Electric, IBM, Lufthansa, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Royal Dutch Shell share one thing in Common – identifying and developing leaders through the use of competency frameworks.  They highlight the one key insight, which is that these companies do not assume competency frameworks alone will shape the perfect leader, but that they play a critical role. The Benefits And Concerns Of Competencies

Some thinking by Conger and Ready is slightly limiting.  They define 3 C’s.  “Clarity” the competencies provide clear expectations too the employees.  “Consistency” the same competency applies regardless of where in the organisation you work. However, the employee may exhibit the right competency for the culture in that region, but it would be inconsistent from the global competencies. “Connectivity” it is a common tool that binds together recruitment, development, reward and recognition.

What I have seen in that some companies have too many competencies, which can be too “Complicated.”  “Conceptual” the development of the competencies is often based on longitudinal studies of a range of leaders that identifies the ultimate mix or recipe.  In some competency frameworks it does not recognise the subtle differences that are needed to lead in different cultures.  The result is a fictional “what great looks like” leader, but in reality very few can meet all competencies.  Other commentators criticise Competency Frameworks as unrealistic role models (Lester 1994) (Bell 2002) (Brundett 2000) (Bolden 2005).

So What Do We Do? 

We need to address the application of frameworks in organisations.  The application needs to take into account that we are reviewing: humans, in different cultures, contexts and situations.  This problem is how to better understand the variation of competencies in different cultures away from the norm.  For example, how important is the ability to influence downwards in a very autocratic culture. Baldon 2005 states “leadership cannot be dissociated from the temporal and situational context…Leadership occurs in a situation and cannot be distilled into a number of constituent elements.  It is in a constant state of flux and hence can never be captured with a static framework.” As Organisation Development specialists we need to customise our frameworks to be able to perform in the different cultural nuances, and we need to regularly review and update frameworks to deliver the desired organisation.

The major weakness of Leadership Competency Frameworks is the focus on ‘evidence based’ performance to construe competencies ignores the subtler, but necessary dimensions of a leader, like relational, ethical, and emotional.

Finally competencies focus on individuals and ignore the social surroundings and connections, which play a part in the success of a leader, for example, the role of followers.  Baldon analysed 29 competency frameworks and cross-referenced it with what leaders identify as important.  8 of the competency frameworks mentioned the ability to listen and none referenced the role of the “follower.” Contingency and Situational leadership are not considered barriers to an individuals ability to lead in different circumstances.  Baldon compared the 29 Frameworks to the Windsor Leadership Trust to identify: personal values and vision are absent in one third of frameworks.  Trust, ethics, inspiration, adaptability, and resilience are absent form two thirds of frameworks.  Personal beliefs, moral courage, humility, emotional intelligence, coping with complexity, personal reflection and work life balance are not mentioned in 80% of frameworks.  Baldon suggests that the gap in the moral and emotional concerns is down to the inability to predict these qualities.  “Making reference to the less 'rational' concepts of morality and emotions might be seen to undermine their ability to predict and prescribe managerial behaviour. Yet, at the same time, their failure to do so greatly undermines their utility in the real world.”  Baldon concludes metaphorically a competency framework is a two-dimensional map, and that the user needs to know how to read it.

The implementation and use of competency frameworks appears to be a common flaw.  Competencies despite the benefits and concerns clearly have a value.   However they are just one way of looking at and developing leadership.  The Organisation Development Expert needs to ensure that they are designed, implemented and applied correctly in the organisation.  It is important to regularly review them as fit for what the organisation requires, and that other tools for Talent Management are utilised in the company’s toolbox.

Review your Employee Value Proposition in a Bear Market

Review your Employee Value Proposition in a Bear Market

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In a bear market some employers are too comfortable with retaining their employees.  Sure some people are aiming for Job Security.  The UK only just narrowly missed a triple dip recession with growth figures of 0.3% in the 1st quarter 2013.  Although the US economy has expanded 2.5% in the 1st quarter of 2013. Economic uncertainty has in many cases damaged the employment value proposition (EVP). The question used to be are you comfortable with change, and many would say yes.  Today, in a rapid changing world some organisations are constantly redefining structures, programmes and people as they scramble in what is for them unchartered territory.  There is the question of course if they have the right leadership, because the constant change has created a fatigued workforce.

What Organisations Development professional needs to do is look at what is the EVP after the desired organisation is in place to navigate successfully in the changed economy.  What capabilities are required, who are the key Talents, and what can we realistically offer those people now and in the future.

  • Package: Understand our total offering in compensation.  Money is no the only factor.  When prospective employees see the total EVP as attractive there is less emphasis on the financial remuneration.
  • Development Opportunities: What opportunities does the new EVP offer?  What development would you have, is their reduced time to market so candidates get to work in Highly Effective Collaboration Teams.  Is there a high growth rate in emerging markets, so there are international experience and exposure opportunities?  Or is there organisational stability?  All of these factors can be positive to different people what is important is to not over promise.
  • Heart: What is your organisation’s heart made up of?  Do you live and breath entrepreneurship, are you industrial, are you leading environmental change or technological innovation.  Ask your employees and be clear on that to attract those who also have it as a passion, and at the heart of what they do.
  • Life: What is the work that is being offered?  Think about the total package: work-life balance or flexibility, family friendly, location, alignment with job interests, what difference the organisation makes, business travel.  We do not exist in separate components, we need to understand how work will combine with our life.
  • Mind Set: What is the culture? Is it homely? Is it like coming in to play everyday, challenging, collaborative, great quality people, inspiring leadership.  Again ask you employees and also your new recruits.

All of these things will help you to define a better EVP in a Bear market where you can reach those people who are not necessarily looking to move jobs, retain your current employees and be ready for when the market does turn.

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Globalisation – The East Re-financing the West Some Thoughts for OD

Globalisation – The East Re-financing the West Some Thoughts for OD

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Back when I was consulting it was all about the BRIC economies.   We outsourced like hell to get economies of scale.  Business Process Outsourcing continues to attempt to make things seemingly cheaper.  There has been mixed success with some of these business models.  Where the models flopped the key flaw was the integration of people into the process, and misunderstanding of culture.  To realise the ROI many companies have to tackle this issue. Companies like Nespresso have bucked the trend with manufacturing in Switzerland.  Switzerland is not a cheap place to base manufacturing, but the quality, consistency and productivity has been factored into the business case. Those tiny little capsules of premium coffee lock the customer in, and they are happy to pay £4.80 a pack.  In 2010 they sold 6.5bn capsules according to Bloomberg.  The luxury at home coffee market is estimated to be worth £8bn, and Nespresso is still in double-digit growth but now competition is fierce.

Before we speculate on some implications for OD professional, it is important to note the new trend.  Those countries that the West naively outsourced to do the manufacturing of the whole product (eeek) or components, and non-strategic fulfilment of the processes, are quickly becoming serious technological contenders.  For example, take Tata Steel and Mittal Steel who bought Corus and Arcelor two of the EU’s biggest steel companies.  Our political leaders like David Cameron are going cap in hand to the Chinese for help.  The west is losing dominance of its own markets.  At the same time China and India have the two biggest markets of their own.  China sold a million cars per month in January and February 2010!  There is yet again a seismic shift.

This is a game changer, for those companies and countries that want to continue to be global players.

It is Europe who is dependent on the IMF for funds, as apposed to emerging economies.  It is China who has been the major investor in Africa £7billion in 2006, which is not yet tapped for its natural resources!   Sub –Saharan Africa is growing with a GDP of 5% or more between 1995 and 2005.  The recession cut growth, but the world bank expects it to return to 4.5% in 2010.  The projected GDP for Africa 2020 is 2.6 trillion and 18.6 trillion in 2050!  If China is the backer here then much like Britain built its empire, these are the foundations for the future wealth.

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The political forces are aware of this change.  For example, the US congress blocked the $18.5 billion purchase of Unocal by the 70% state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation.  China has liquidity.  Its cash reserves are the equivalent of 40% GDP an estimated £3.3 trillion! Watch this space!

So what does this mean for OD professionals?

  • We need local leaders, and local talent for the game changers in BRIC but with the new countries, Russia and Africa.  Goldman Sachs and economist Jim O’Neil defined the next 11 (N11) emerging countries and CIVETS outlined by Robert Ward: Columbia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa.  To overcome the cultural issues, understand and innovate in that market.
  • Global leaders may need a different skillset, flexibility and awareness.  Check out a post on learning Chinese.
  • Do not just think about efficiencies of outsourcing to the East, we now need to think in reverse, and in-between.  We need people that can understand and leverage the benefits of Re-financing.  What can Corus gain from Tata and visa versa to be a more effective global player?  Are their parts of the process that are now better suited in the West?

Future Ways to think about Performance Management

Future Ways to think about Performance Management

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The Traditional Performance Appraisal will not provide what organisations need in the future.  There are 5 areas observed where Organisation Development needs to think differently. 1. Formality of Structures and Controls

38% of employees are not happy with the performance appraisal (HR magazine 2009).  The process typically has employees and managers following a set of procedures and rules, and inputting into an often poorly designed system.    The amount of documentation required in this process has swamped managers.  A study by Pace Productivity found 25% of their time was tied up with administration and 8% on their people.  The organisations landscape has changed, as have employees.  Organisations have become more organic, and technological capabilities increased.   There is an opportunity to think differently.  The annual cycle should be replaced if it is not working.  For example, have simultaneous and multiple feedback opportunities for a person and their projects or tasks, which adds to their internal portfolio on a simple app.

2. Individuals and Teams

Often a company had not implemented a 360-feedback tool for all employees because of the systems, processes and possible misuse of data.  The success of an organisation is dependent on the interdependencies between functions.  The technology exists and more should be developed to make 360 applicable to all and not just those on a Talent Programme.  Organisation Development professionals should reconsider the value of feedback to an individual and team.

3. Employee Involvement in the Process

Employees should be more empowered to input into Performance Feedback as a two way process.  Why not give them the ability to say if they are at risk, or if they feel they are ready for a career move.  There are parts of this in Talent Programs, but here I am talking about more instant and simultaneous feedback.

Intrinsic V Extrinsic Reward

What works in one region may not work in another.  In some cultures where emphasis is placed on Holism, The Collective and Family they may be more motivated by group rewards.  As opposed to Individualist cultures who may be more motivated by the achievement of individual level objectives.  The implementation of scorecards seem to have been taken as too rigid a structure, but in the future the individual, team and unit can be varied to the cultural fit of the country (if organised that way).

Frequency of Feedback

Frequency of feedback is still too often pegged as an annual process, and in some companies it is a challenge to get it completed at all! Typically there is a conflict with production cycles, and the sales processes because the process is viewed annually in alignment with the Reward process.  The structure and controls need to be scrapped to let feedback breath in the organisation.  This needs clever design, engagement and encouragement of feedback as well as the tools to support it.

There are obvious challenges in implementation, but a good OD professional will be able to understand and build the right solution.  It is important to consider the traditional application of these points.  If you have more insights please share.

11 Factors for Successful Talent Management

11 Factors for Successful Talent Management

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  1. Get the foundations right.  What does success require in your organisation now.  Too often I see competency frameworks that are over complicated, not updated, or not flexible enough to be able to adjust to different cultural needs.  Talent is a mixture of performance and potential, so have a strong foundation to reflect on that.
  2. Regular reflection.  Forget just having an annual process.  We have always talked about regular feedback, but we drag managers through a yearly and often laborious process.  There is so much technology to hand like Rypple that allows for regular feedback.
  3. Think about what leadership you require.  What is your capability gap, what are your success factors?  There is no one right way to successful leadership.  Different companies require different things, some need to navigate in a mature environment and some need a tribe of leaders throughout the business to innovate.
  4. When you understand what you need think about where can I source that Talent.  In sourcing Talent don’t just stick to the same industry.  Your organisation might be going through points of pain now that another industry has faced in the past, or a different customer groups you want to attract.  For example, the maturity and decrease of subsidisation faced in the wind industry now could be compared to issues that ship builders or aviation manufacturers   Homogeneous mind-sets can come back to bite you.
  5. Where are your points of pain?  You will have different points of pain where it will hurt the delivery of your business goals.  A lot will depend on your budget.   It may not be possible to provide for the needs of all talent, you may have or want to differentiate your offering.  Do you need new talent for the future, or bench strength now because you have an executive board that will need successors in the near future?
  6. Do not undervalue experience and exposure.  Once you have identified the gaps think about what you have available that can expose your Talent to the required skills and capabilities to fill the gap.  There is great value in mentoring, coaching, the right projects and regular feedback.
  7. Owned by the CEO and the executive team.  Question the CEO and executive team on what are their business challenges?  Some may or may not translate into Talent problems, and some may be burning platforms.  In my experience there are often burning platforms, which give you the engagement of the right people.  Get sponsors on the executive board to own and define the problem, the outputs and the process of designing, building, implementing and maintaining the program.
  8. Built by the business.  The middle managers and team leaders should be involved in the design and build of the programme.  They will know what will work for them, what is practical and the collaboration increases the success of the program.  You can also engage employees in a pilot, which brings valuable feedback on language and cultural differences that need to be taken into account.
  9. Business Continuity.  The responsibility of the program should remain with the business.  HR should not take ownership, it will simply be seen as something that HR will manage we nominate the Talent, and then hand over to HR.  This will only give a short-term success to the program.

10. HR Facilitation.  HR needs to continually facilitate the process, inspiring leaders and having corridor conversations.  For example, if a leader is visiting APAC they could meet up with some of those on the Talent Pool so that they have a view of their people.

11. Measure.  Define the measures of success with the executive team.  Measures I have implemented before are bench-strength, time to recruit, cost of attrition and numbers at risk.  This facilitates regular conversations, actions and business continuity.

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