How to Create More Value From Employee Surveys Close the Relationship Gap

How to Create More Value
From Employee Surveys 16
Close the Relationship Gap
in Your Organization 20
Take Employer Branding
to the Next Level 24
The Strategic Importance
of Workplace Culture 28
Special Report:
HR Technology 34
Working Knowledge
Assist the Rebound 10
Leading Edge
Stopping Short 12
Robb Webb:
Hyatt’s Culture Guru 40
Guest Editorial
Profit Is Not a Purpose 14
Full Potential
Just a Waitress, or Mojo Queen? 50
Does Education Pay? 42
Editor’s Letter 4
Three Best Practices
Employees Crave 44
Virtually Engineer
Top Talent 46
Advertisers’ Index 49
Editorial Resources 49
September 2012
Special Report:
HR Technology
Profit Is Not a Purpose
Does Education Pay?
The Strategic Importance
of Workplace Culture
Three Best Practices
Employees Crave
Hyatt’s Robb Webb prioritizes individual
development to ensure engagement at the hotel
corporation remains high
Forum 2012
October 3-4 , 2012
The Mayflower Renaissance (Marriott) , Washington DC
Running Learning Like A Business:
Focus On Outcomes, Effectiveness, and Efficiency
Please register today at
to request an invitation. The event is by invitation only.
TLF 2012 Speakers
Dave Vance
Former President, Caterpillar
» Expect to meet over 50 CLOs, VPs, EVPs in Training, HR & Business
functions, and share industry best practices and participate in
thought-provoking discussions.
» TLF 2012 will serve as a launch pad for TDRp - Talent
Development Reporting Principles – an exciting initiative to
provide a framework to measure and report talent development
Kate Harrington
VP - Learning & Enablement,
Rogers Communications
Claudia Rodriguez
VP - Global Learning
Organization, Motorola Solutions
» The Brandon Hall Group will present their research on the
interrelation of the learning and talent management functions.
The event will encourage the CLOs to put on their CFO hats.
Sandy Shaw
VP - Talent Management,
» Overnight accommodation will be sponsored by Tata Interactive
Systems (a part of the $83.3 Billion TATA Group)
Carrie Beckstrom
VP - Learning & Performance,
Words of Appreciation from Tata Learning Forum 2011
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[from the editor] by Mike Prokopeak
Call Me Maybe
In case you’ve been living under a
rock and have been shielded from
the cultural phenomenon “Call Me
Maybe,” then lucky you — the song’s
chorus isn’t already playing in an
endless loop in your head as you read
these words.
out a number of subsequent chart
toppers, but “Call Me Maybe” falls
into a long line of one-hit wonders
that explode into ubiquity before inevitably fading.
Review the last dozen years or so and
while the flavor of the month is
often sweet, the less glamorous
work of long-term talent
management is what tops the
“Call Me Maybe,” which began a
months-long run as Billboard’s No. 1
in June, is a sticky sweet confection
of adolescent longing and insouciance sung by Canadian singer Carly
Rae Jepsen. Like any good pop hit, it
deploys ruthlessly catchy hooks and
a repetitive chorus to grab a stranglehold on your attention.
After just one fleeting listen it plops
down in your subconscious only to
pop up at the most inconvenient of
times, such as when you’re trying
to write your monthly letter from
the editor under deadline. It’s been
helped by a veritable supernova of
YouTube video covers, including one
by the Harvard men’s baseball team
that has more than 15 million views,
and another by the U.S. Olympic
swim team.
September 2012
My personal favorite is the version
done by the singer herself accompanied by “Late Night” host Jimmy
Fallon and his house band, The
Roots, using instruments apparently
requisitioned from a kindergarten classroom. Amazingly, “Call Me
Maybe” has united such disparate
figures as Cookie Monster, Justin
Bieber, U.S. troops in Afghanistan
and former U.S. Secretary of State
Colin Powell in homage.
No offense intended to Jepsen, who
at just 26 years old may very well put
talent management magazine
you’ll see similar one-hit wonders
rise and fall in talent management.
As we floundered in the depths of
recession three years ago and employers shed jobs by the thousands,
the No. 1 hit was engagement. Faced
with doing more with less, employers tasked their HR departments
with boosting employee engagement in hope of driving productivity
higher without raising costs.
Since then, other hits have topped
the charts. Topics like wellness
and work-life balance (what cantankerous former GE boss Jack
Welch called a “phenomenon of
below-average performers” in his
book Winning) burst on the scene.
A sputtering recovery with mounting external economic pressure and
rising internal temperatures pushed
employers to find a way to maintain high productivity while limiting
Lately the top hit has been innovation. As bosses come to grips
with the realities of the knowledge
economy, they’ve turned to the generation of new ideas and products as
the way to remain fresh and profitable. Talent managers have dutifully
followed along. The same can be said
for the other business trends of late.
Big data and workforce analysis are
riding high, along with social media.
Because something is a short-term
hit doesn’t mean it lacks long-term
value. Work-life balance, wellness, innovation, collaboration,
engagement, social networking
and quantitative analysis are all
valuable ongoing parts of what we
do. But all are merely pieces of successful talent management, which
is the broader mission to find, attract, develop and deploy talented
and high-performing people in
pursuit of our organizational goals.
Focusing on the latest and greatest
hit does a disservice to that mission.
It may offer short-term gratification
along with necessary justification to
a skeptical stakeholder, but in the
long run we risk casting ourselves as
today’s here-today, gone-tomorrow
pop phenomenon. Focusing on the
latest hit wittingly or unwittingly
reinforces the impression that what
we do is short-lived, effervescent
and fleeting.
Pay attention to what’s happening
in the here and now for inspiration,
but remember that talent management is a complex, complicated and
above all long-term process. The formula for success is no simple song,
no matter how much it catches the
I’m not arguing that you be your organization’s designated curmudgeon.
HR too often is wrongly stereotyped
as the organization’s designated buzz
kill. Rather, enjoy the hits, take pleasure in the warm glow they cast, but
recognize that they are fleeting. The
rhythms that move the organization
run much deeper and slower than
any one song, no matter how catchy.
Have a thought to share? Here’s my
number, call me maybe: 312-6769900.
Mike Prokopeak
Editorial Director
[email protected]
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Volume 8, Issue 9
September 2012
GROUP PUBLISHER John R. Taggart [email protected]
EDITOR IN CHIEF Norman B. Kamikow [email protected]
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, OPERaTIONS Gwen Connelly [email protected]
VICE PRESIDENT, EDITORIaL DIRECTOR Mike Prokopeak [email protected]
MaNaGING EDITOR Kellye Whitney [email protected]
SENIOR EDITOR Deanna Hartley [email protected]
aSSOCIaTE EDITORS Frank Kalman [email protected]
Ladan Nikravan [email protected]
COPY EDITOR Christopher Magee [email protected]
Sarah Kimmel [email protected]
Kendra Chaplin [email protected]
Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012
aRT DIRECTOR Adrienne Brust [email protected]
PRODUCTION MaNaGER Linda Dziwak [email protected]
wEB MaNaGER Spencer Thayer [email protected]
E-MaRkETING SPECIaLIST Molly Koeneman [email protected]
DIGITaL MEDIa COORDINaTOR Chatigny Imburgia [email protected]
DIRECTOR, EVENT DEVELOPMENT Trey Smith [email protected]
SOCIaL MEDIa COORDINaTOR Rose Michaels [email protected]
BUSINESS MaNaGER Vince Czarnowski [email protected]
Clifford Capone [email protected]
NaTIONaL aDVERTISING DIRECTOR Cathy Sanassarian [email protected]
Kari Carlson [email protected]
DIGITaL aCCOUNT MaNaGER Jerome Atendido [email protected]
EVENTS SaLES MaNaGER Kevin Fields [email protected]
CIRCULaTION DIRECTOR Cindy Cardinal [email protected]
LIST MaNaGER Jay Schwedelson [email protected]
Melanie Lee [email protected]
Laurie Bassi
Scott Blanchard
Halley Bock
Jeffrey Cattel
Neil Costa
Jac Fitz-enz
Marshall Goldsmith
Lisa Earle McLeod
Dan McMurrer
Ladan Nikravan
Lizz Pellet
Connie Perez
Kellye Whitney
Kevin D. Wilde
Effective Leadership
Assessment: Strategies,
Tools & Tips for Success
To succeed today, organizations
need to know where their best
talent is and how to grow it to
create future leaders. But without
the right strategies, tools and
information, executing leadership
assessments is nearly impossible. So
what does an organization need to
be successful in assessing and
developing leaders?
Join us for a discussion about
the tools and information you
need as well as examples of some
of the best practices from
industry-leading companies.
Stephan Millard
Talent Management Strategist
SumTotal Systems
Register today at
Vice President
Senior Vice President
Chief Financial
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September 2012: Volume 8, Issue 9
How to Create More
Value From Employee
Laurie Bassi and
Dan McMurrer
Jeffrey Cattel
In the war for talent,
potential employees can be
swayed by brands that align
closely with their ideal work
Employee surveys should
be expanded to include a
broader set of questions
that go beyond employee
Close the Relationship
Gap in Your
The Strategic
Importance of
Workplace Culture
Scott Blanchard
Lizz Pellet
Leaders who connect
with the workforce on an
emotional level can improve
collaboration, execution and
Cultural shifts can produce
discontent in the workplace.
But that challenge can be
mitigated if senior leaders
treat culture like other key
performance indicators.
September 2012
Take Employer
Branding to the
Next Level
talent management magazine
Special Report:
HR Technology
Ladan Nikravan
Mobile and social
technologies are transforming
how HR professionals do
their jobs and communicate
with employees, consumers
and job candidates.
Are you a part of the Talent
Management Network?
Follow us:
Like us:
Join the group:
Robb Webb: Hyatt’s Culture Guru
Kellye Whitney
Hyatt CHRO Robb Webb prioritizes individual
employee development at all levels of the company
to promote tenure and a customer-centric culture.
Does Education Pay?
Ladan Nikravan
Harvard professor Richard Freeman and
Northeastern University’s Andrew Sum say
earning a degree has benefits, but they disagree on
what those are.
Three Best Practices Employees Crave
Halley Bock
Organizations can rebuild workforce trust by changing
how employees access information and participate in
decision-making processes.
Virtually Engineer Top Talent
Neil Costa
After hosting its first onsite career fair, A123
Systems developed a recruitment campaign using
online digital marketing channels.
On the Web
Meet Our ‘Psychology
at work’ Blogger
in this blog channel, Dan Bowling, an
expert on the science of well-being
and work, discusses how to boost
talent development and organizational
performance with a better understanding
of human behavior and psychology.
“I believe that happiness at work
does drive business results ... and I am
confident there are legions of you out
there who agree. We need to be careful,
however, about over-promising and
Dan Bowling, managing principal of
Positive Workplace Solutions
working knowledge
kevin D. wilde
Assist the Rebound
Leading Edge
Jac Fitz-enz
Stopping Short
Guest Editorial
Lisa Earle McLeod
Profit Is Not a Purpose
Full Potential
Marshall Goldsmith
Just a Waitress, or Mojo Queen?
Editor’s Letter
Call Me Maybe
advertisers’ Index
Editorial Resources
Correction: In the article “Here
Today, Gone Tomorrow” in the
August issue, Rebecca Callahan
should have been identified
as president of Recruitment
Process Outsourcing for Randstad
oN The coVer: ©2012, Nic GourGuechoN
talent management magazine
September 2012
[working knowledge] by Kevin D. Wilde
Assist the Rebound
When a star performer stumbles
in a new assignment, there are two
decisions to be made. Organizational leaders make the first one:
“Should we give the employee a
second chance?” With an affirmative choice, the employee makes
the second choice: “Will I give myself a second chance?”
The company’s second chance decision is made up of a number of
affirmative elements, such as:
• The talented employee’s
lack of acceptable performance in the current role
is not due to an ethical
• In the long run, the skills
and competencies to succeed are there, but the
present job needs something else.
• Thereisstillsolidsupport
from key stakeholders and
• The second chance role inside
the organization is a better option for all concerned.
• Theemployeewillrecover,with
the ambition, innovation and
self-confidence shown in prior
It isn’t uncommon after a series
of successful stretch assignments
for a shooting star to hit the wall.
Self-doubt may follow as the regular A-level talent sees a report card
with much lower marks. Smart
talent managers in these save situations carefully guide the employee
to regain performance traction and
self-confidence in specific phases.
September 2012
The first rebound phase comes
with a conversation about changing jobs. Managers should be direct
and clear on the need for a change.
Bosses are understandably nervous
about providing negative feedback
to a high-potential employee. They
fear a negative reaction, which
may result in the employee believ-
talent management magazine
ing he or she has failed in such a
way that career support has been
lost, and that future prospects are
better outside the company.
While that is a risk, the employee
knows current performance is falling short and generally appreciates
being told the truth rather than
having to buy into a sugar-coated
story about the need for change.
Further, there are valuable lessons
to learn in the stretch assign-
Help an employee
give him or herself
a second chance in
the organization.
ment that resulted in the stumble.
Obscuring the facts eliminates potential growth and may plant the
seeds for a blind-spot that becomes
a derailment later in the career.
The point is to deliver the message
and conduct the conversation to
show respect, empathy and support toward the employee. The key
is to help the employee give him or
herself a second chance. A rebound
in self-confidence and lessons in
resiliency are set in motion in the
first meeting. The employee needs
to hear that the change in role is
the result of careful consideration
and that support will continue.
The second rebound phase is the
early journey in the new role. Employees will sense and internalize
the signals that will either rebuild
or tear down self-confidence.
While timing may necessitate a
holding pattern slot to provide
movement out of a failing situation, it’s much better for the next
role to provide a high level of challenge and engagement.
Early success in the rebound role
can reinforce the employee’s efforts to regain positive momentum
and resonates well with the organization. It reminds the entire
workforce of the employee’s value.
If a holding pattern role is the only
option, then work quickly to find a
more suitable role; otherwise you
risk losing the employee, who sees
the career progress clock ticking
loudly and views the new assignment as losing time.
Positioned skillfully, a useful way to show support is
to demonstrate investment
in ongoing development.
Sponsorship to a high-profile
executive education program is one way to show
step may be to provide specific training to shore up a
deficiency in needed competencies, such as strategic
thinking, influence and technical
Another early signal is the quality of support from sponsors and
other key organization stakeholders. Ongoing mentoring and key
management visibility in the new
role sends the right signal: We
value you and believe this new role
will be important to the organization and your career.
All the messages need to align for a
talented high potential to recover.
The work of a talent management
leader is to orchestrate decisions
and help the employee decide
to make the most of the second
Kevin D. Wilde is the vice president
and chief learning officer at General
Mills and author of Dancing with the
Talent Stars. He can be reached at
[email protected]
Virtual HR Environments
Learn how leading organizations are integrating virtual environments
into their HR strategies to recruit, on-board and provide benefits.
Virtual HR Environments Made Easy
Learn how other industry leaders have gone virtual:
The InterCall logo is a registered trademark of InterCall.
[leading edge] by Jac Fitz-enz
Stopping Short
Perhaps it is because human resources people are focused on
administering programs and providing services that they tend to
stop before they reach business
When we try to evaluate or analyze our work, we often quit at
the intermediate results rather
than pushing through to the end
point found in the marketplace. As
a result, line managers nod their
heads at our HR services but don’t
consider them important because
we have not delivered the payoff.
return on investment
evaluation and analytics all take time
and resources. They
all have the potential to add value, but
unless we can link
the result to a business
they are little more
than a sunk cost.
Fundamentally, business operations cover
quality, innovation,
productivity or service. I call
them QIPS, and they are not final
objectives. They are penultimate
stops on the way to profitability.
September 2012
When we offer an HR service
— be it recruiting, training, retention management, compensation
or any other — each has its valuation points. We need to first
benchmark — compare our HR
services and outcomes to other
companies — to see where we
stand. Even if we are the best, this
is not proof that our efforts are affecting the end goal. In fact, it is
not even proof that our corporate
QIPS are better than the competition. It is simply a comparative
score. It may show that our turnover compares favorably with the
benchmark, or that our leadership
competencies are better or worse.
But that is all it is. It is not a leading indicator.
talent management magazine
Next is ROI evaluation. ROI is an
after-the-fact exercise attempting to show how something has
changed as a result of an HR intervention. We can show that
there was or was not a significant change in the outcome from
our service. ROI is most often
used on training. Training can be
measured at several levels, from
trainee satisfaction through learning to application on the job, and
finally effects on QIPS. In some
cases ROI has been pushed all the
way to increases in sales, leading
when we evaluate HR,
we too often quit at
intermediate results.
hopefully to improved profitability. But it does raise questions,
such as, why did sales increase?
What happened to margins? What
about cost of sales? Even if ROI
shows an increase in customer
satisfaction, that is still a step
away from financial impact — our
ultimate goal.
Analytics are divided into three
sections. Descriptive tells what
happened in the past. This is
where benchmarking and ROI
evaluation fit. The news from the
past quarter may be good, but it
doesn’t forecast positive change
for the future. Predictive analytics
suggests what can happen given
future investment decisions. We
may be able to demonstrate that
there is a high improvement probability as a result of investing in
a program to reduce turnover or
increase engagement. Prescriptive
analytics tells us what and how
we should do something to realize
those values.
The problem I suggested from the
start is that we quit before we
reach the goal — the so-called
payoff. Let me give you two examples from fields familiar to all
of us.
Suppose you plan a great Thanksgiving dinner. You work out your
menu, purchase the ingredients,
prepare the food and walk into
the dining room empty handed.
Your guests can smell
the savory aromas
emanating from the
kitchen. It might even
make them salivate,
but until you bring
the food to the table
for them to appreciate, all you have done
is tantalize them.
A second example
would be expanding a
house. Again, you develop a plan, bring all
the materials to the site, erect the
structure and finish painting and
landscaping, but if you don’t turn
on the electricity and the plumbing, all you can do is admire your
creativity and skill. No one will
reap the benefits of living in the
There are countless examples
of stopping short, and seldom is
there a good reason for it. Why go
all the way to the executive suite
and fail to open the door? Predictive analytics is the key to the
door and a seat at the table.
Jac Fitz-enz is founder and CEO of the
Human Capital Source and Workforce
Intelligence Institute. He can be reached
at [email protected]
Make the Human Connection.
We are people people. JOIN THE COMMUNITY.
Human capital is about the people in your organization who you manage, train or
support. It’s also about managing your own career. For that, you need to learn from
other human capital professionals’ ideas, knowledge and experience.
Now, there’s one place you can make the connection — an active, members-only online
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Become a member today for FREE.
[guest editorial] by Lisa Earle McLeod
Profit Is Not a Purpose
What’s the purpose of your business?
If you answered, “to deliver
shareholder value” or some other
version of “make money,” you may
be destined for mediocrity.
Making money isn’t enough. If
you want to attract top talent,
drive revenue and outperform
your competition, your organization needs a more noble purpose
than just scrambling for a buck.
Workplace studies and social science are confirming what we
already know in our hearts to be
true: People want to make a difference, and they want
to make a difference at
Six years ago, a major biotech firm asked
my team to conduct a
six-month-long, double-blind study of its
sales force. The purpose of the study was
to determine the behaviors that separated
top salespeople from
average salespeople.
The study revealed something
no one expected. The most pronounced difference was that the
top performers all had a larger
sense of purpose than their average counterparts. The salespeople
who sold with noble purpose, who
truly wanted to make a difference
to their customers, consistently
outsold those who were focused
on sales goals and money.
The words noble and selling are
rarely seen together. Most people
believe top-performing salespeople are only motivated by money,
and that their sole objective is
to close the deal. That belief is
September 2012
The data from a 10-year study
from Millward Brown Optimor of
more than 50,000 brands around
the world show that companies
talent management magazine
with ideals to improve people’s
lives at the center of all they do
outperform the market by a huge
margin. Another study conducted
by Jim Stengel, former chief marketing officer of Procter & Gamble,
revealed, “those who center their
business on improving people’s
lives have a growth rate triple
that of their competitors.”
People have become jaded about
mission and vision. Too often,
they’re nothing more than meaningless platitudes about market
leadership posted on a placard
that no one reads.
To attract top talent, drive
revenue and outperform
the competition,
organizations need a more
noble purpose than just
scrambling for a buck.
A noble sales purpose is different.
It is a concrete reason to get out of
bed in the morning. It’s how you
and your company make a difference today. Here’s why purpose
Purpose is why your organization exists. Purpose drives sales.
You don’t have to create world
peace. Your purpose can be to help
customers be more successful or
to make a difference in your industry.
Purpose makes you money. Jim
Collins and Jerry Porras of Good
to Great fame documented that organizations driven by purpose and
values outperform the market 15
to 1 and outperform comparison
companies 6 to 1.
Purpose may sound fluffy, but it
translates into cold, hard cash.
Having a purpose beyond making
money almost always results in
you making more money.
Purpose isn’t just a feel-good
thing; it’s essential in a tough
economy. CMIT provides IT services to small businesses. Two
years ago, if you asked its people
what they did, they would have
told you: “We sell IT services.”
Now CEO Jeff Connally says:
“Our purpose is to help small businesses be more successful.” We
pulled that purpose to the front
and center of everything they do,
and the company’s sales are up 35
percent while competitors are floundering.
Purpose attracts top
talent. Beyond food
and shelter, human
beings have two fundamental
needs: connection and
meaning. We want to
make a difference, and
we want to be part of
something bigger than
After working with
more than 200 organizations and
spending more than 10,000 hours
in the field assessing top performers, I know without a doubt that
working for a noble purpose engages top performers in a way
that spreadsheets never will.
Profits connect with your head.
Purpose connects with your heart.
If you want your organization to
be more successful, start with
Lisa Earle McLeod is a sales leadership
consultant and author of the upcoming
book, Selling with Noble Purpose: How
to Drive Revenue and Do Work that
Makes You Proud. She can be reached
at [email protected]
Being HR certified is a mark of distinction. It represents a
personal and professional commitment to the field. HR
certification serves as a visible acknowledgement of your
demonstrated mastery of core HR principles and skills essential
to the best practice of HR.
“I have seen the value perception of my HR
certification increase from my employer and
many other organizations as they prefer and even
require the HR Certification Institute’s credentials.
My credentials have opened employment
opportunities and provided me with professional
– Javier Lozano, SPHR-CA, GPHR
Applications Accepted: July 9—October 5, 2012
Late Applications Due^: November 9, 2012
Exam Dates*: December 1, 2012—Jan. 31, 2013
for more information on our PHR®,
SPHR®, GPHR® and California
(PHR-CA®/SPHR-CA®) certification
exams and exam schedules.
*GPHR® and California (PHR-CA®/SPHR-CA®) exams are held from Dec. 1—31, 2012. ^A late fee of
US$75 will be applied on all late applications.
How to Create
More Value From
Employee Surveys
Laurie Bassi and Dan McMurrer
With retooling, hr leaders can better use survey data to
drive business results.
EOs often proclaim that “people are our
most important asset.” Yet many HR departments find themselves unable to play
a significant part in translating these
words into reality for several reasons:
• Some HR departments rely so heavily on benchmarking that they fail to customize their
strategies to their organization’s unique circumstances, thereby almost guaranteeing they will, at
best, stay average.
for HR departments or functions to ignore analytics,”
said Larry Costello, executive vice president, Tyco
Fire and Security. “The forces bringing analytics to
the forefront are simply too powerful to disregard.”
Talent leaders can use a four-step process to create an
HR analytics strategy that will transform the traditional engagement survey into a source of actionable
business intelligence.
Analytics can ensure HR is not pigeonholed as nonstrategic and out-of-touch. “It’s no longer possible
Step 1 — Create a smarter employee survey. Traditional employee engagement or satisfaction surveys
are not up to the task of producing actionable business intelligence. Engagement is necessary to produce
great results, but it’s not sufficient. For example, in
the Harvard Business Review article “Manage Your
Human Sigma,” while describing an analysis of customer engagement at a multi-site retailer, Gallup
researchers state, “Our working assumption was that
at least a few of the top employee engagement stores
would also be top customer engagement stores. We
were wrong. Just one store appeared on both lists.”
Figure 1: The Essential Elements
of a Smarter Employee Survey
Figure 2: Data That Produces
Actionable Business Intelligence
• Othersgettoocaughtupintheflavor-of-the-month
• Many are so busy putting out fires they have no
time to address what’s truly important — drivers
of business results.
• Despiteitspotential,toooftentheonlythingthat
comes out of the annual employee engagement survey is a big data dump with no real impact.
HRIS data
September 2012
Source: McBassi & Co., 2012
Source: McBassi & Co., 2012
talent management magazine
Data that
force comp
On the Web
Without some essential ingredients, surveys
provide no real value to support goals. To find out
what these ingredients are, visit
There are two major deficiencies in most employee
engagement surveys:
1. They pay too little attention to critical organization-level factors such as work processes, hiring
processes and informal learning. These factors are
big drivers of business results, but are typically not
among the top employee engagement/satisfaction
drivers. For this reason, they are under-measured
in most surveys.
2. They miss the opportunity to tap into workforce
wisdom about the drivers and impediments of
what it takes for an organization to be a good seller
and a good community and environmental steward
— both of which are increasingly necessary to an
organization’s ability to outperform its competition (Figure 1).
Employee survey content should be
expanded to include a broader set
of questions that go beyond HR’s
current concept of employee engagement.
Step 2 — “Linkage analysis” to business outcomes.
Next, statistically link the
data from the smarter employee survey to data on
desired outcomes. For example, Figure 2 shows
the types of data that
has statistically
linked with its
employee survey to create
actionable intelligence for
the business as a
The specific statistical methodologies that should
be used for the linkage analysis will depend on the
outcome being analyzed. The techniques can range
from complex multivariate analysis, such as logit regression or panel estimation
techniques, for most individual-level data, to more
straightforward univariate
analysis — correlations and
statistical testing of differences of means — for group
data with small sample
However, it’s important not
to get hung up on the statistical nuances since there are
plenty of experts who can
help with this. The critical point is that linkage
analysis is the missing
connection that allows organizations to
move beyond guesswork, hope and
intuition on the
people side of their
connects areas
like employee
business results
is the missing link,” said
Mary Humiston,
senior vice president, global human
Materials. “It is helping us to develop a
talent management magazine
September 2012
Linkage analysis can be done with
soft outcomes data collected within
a smarter employee survey, which
includes engagement — including employees’ intent to stay and willingness
to recommend the organization to
friends as a good place to work — as
well as elements such as employees’
reported ability to help the organization achieve its cost containment
goals; and the extent to which
employees report that the work
environment supports excellent
customer service.
Data on hard outcomes comes from outside the survey, such as sales, safety, turnover and customer
satisfaction, and is then mapped to the survey. This
involves aligning these outcomes to the survey responses of the employees who provided them. It is
important to note that this mapping requires the
survey be non-anonymous. Hence, creating business
intelligence from a smarter employee engagement
survey requires contracting with an independent
third-party analytics firm, since failing to do so is
likely to result in less-than-frank responses to a nonanonymous survey.
strong fact-based HR strategy for driving improved
business results. Identifying the unique human drivers of our business outcomes with precision and rigor
is helping us to elevate our game.”
Step 3 — Create a rigorous, fact-based process
to identify the best areas of opportunity. It’s
important to understand that benchmarking is not
analytics. For example, knowing that an organization
benchmarks at the 90th percentile on a specific survey item should not be cause for celebration — unless
linkage analysis reveals that the specific item drives
an important business outcome. And a low score on
a specific survey item should only create significant
concern if it drives a key outcome. Benchmarking
provides little, if any, basis for creating a fact-based
HR strategy.
Figure 3, which is based on a confidential client case,
illustrates this point. Each point in the graph represents a survey question.
The vertical axis shows how strong or weak the organization is on each survey item, measured relative
to the overall organizational average. Survey items
in the bottom half (Quadrants 3 and 4) are areas of
weakness, while items in the top half (Quadrants 1
and 2) are strengths. Following a survey, many organizations spend lots of time working on their
lowest-scoring items. They would therefore focus
heavily on seeking to improve survey item A — lower
left corner — the item with the lowest overall score.
However, if a second piece of information is added to
the mix, a different conclusion emerges. Take a look
at the horizontal axis, which shows the results on
how important each question is in predicting a key
measure of sales success based on Step 2. Those items
farther to the right (Quadrants 2 and 4) are positive
predictors of sales success, and those items on the left
(Quadrants 1 and 3) are negative predictors of sales.
As expected, many more survey items are positive
predictors than negative ones.
Remember survey item A with the lowest score?
Turns out it’s a negative predictor of sales and therefore is actually a poor target for improvement. The
best area of focus turns out to be survey item B,
which has the fourth-lowest score, but is both an important positive predictor of sales and still an area
of relative weakness. While it might be tempting to
wonder what the specific survey questions are that
correspond to A and B, that would miss the point,
which is that each organization must do its analytics homework to determine the survey items that are
most important for it rather than accept a one-sizefits-all answer.
The content of the actual survey items in this example
doesn’t matter; the results will be different for every
organization. That’s the point of doing this analysis
— to help organizations move beyond benchmarking
and target survey items that are the most important
predictors of their organization’s business outcomes.
Step 4 — Make insightful and easy-to-understand
recommendations. Getting to step 3 can be challenging, since it helps move organizations beyond
potentially misleading one-size-fits-all benchmarking measures. But to enjoy the full advantage of this
breakthrough, effectively communicating the find-
Figure 3: Moving Beyond Benchmarking
Each data point = one survey item, showing its score (strength/weakness) and its link with a key sales outcome
Quadrant 1
Quadrant 2
Negative drivers and relative strengths
Positive drivers and relative strengths
Survey score
Survey item B
Survey item A
September 2012
Quadrant 3
Negative drivers and relative weaknesses
Source: McBassi & Co., 2012
talent management magazine
Quadrant 4
Positive drivers and relative weaknesses
Correlation with measure of sales success
ings from the analysis is essential.
Three points to keep in mind:
1. Avoid data dumps and the
temptation to share everything
learned in the course of the analysis.
2. Home in on the most important
findings and implications, and
focus on those.
3. Communicate simply and compellingly. This is as much art as
science, but it’s a critical skill to
create actionable business intelligence on the people side of the
Traditional employee
engagement or satisfaction
surveys are not up to
the task of producing
actionable business
Figure 4 provides an example of how the insights
from Step 3 can be presented in a way that makes it
easy for senior executives to quickly absorb the most
important findings.
The top areas of opportunity emerging from Step 3
provide a compelling business case to create a factbased HR strategy to drive business results.
Once this has been achieved, it is typically no longer
necessary for HR to push the findings of the employee
engagement survey onto the organization — the organization starts to pull for the analysis and insights.
The move from push to pull is a significant breakthrough in HR’s ability to help the organization be
truly strategic.
“At Applied Materials we are using analytics to convert both HR data and business data from information
into actionable insights,” said Angela Sheffield, head
of global workforce planning at Applied Materials.
“The executive team is very engaged — they are asking for more. It really helps them to understand the
link between what goes on in HR and our business
results and guides them to where the biggest levers
are for improvement.”
There are powerful forces — in terms of both supply and demand — that are bringing HR analytics to
the forefront. First, technology advances have made
HR data available on a scale that was heretofore unimaginable. More importantly, the growing economic
premium associated with superior human capital
management means that HR strategy is simply too
important to be left to gut and intuition. If HR doesn’t
step up to the plate, another part of the organization
is sure to fill the void.
One of the real beauties of this approach is that it is
possible to provide insightful, customized reports to
each manager and offer specific recommendations for
actions the manager should take — based on his or
her specific pattern of results — to help that manager
achieve his or her objectives.
Laurie Bassi is CEO of McBassi & Co. and chairman
of Bassi Investments. Dan McMurrer is chief analyst
at McBassi & Co. and chief research officer at Bassi
Investments. They are co-authors of Good Company:
Business Success in the Worthiness Era. They can be
reached at [email protected]
Figure 4: Where Can Talent Leaders Improve Business Results?
Key outcomes for sample company
Survey item
The senior management team seeks and uses input
from employees in making decisions.
Sample company shares information and reasoning
behind important decisions with customers.
Employees’ performance problems are addressed appropriately.
The most competent employees are promoted.
Sample company does things the right way and avoids taking shortcuts.
Sample company has well-defined processes for getting work done.
Hiring process results in the best candidate getting the job.
Sample company encourages and expects teamwork.
September 2012
Source: McBassi & Co., 2012
talent management magazine
Close the
Relationship Gap in
Your Organization
Scott Blanchard
Managers and employees need to be able to
trust one another and communicate effectively
to succeed. Listening and direct communication
techniques can help.
ne of the biggest productivity and performance gaps in most organizations
is the distance that separates an organization’s managers from their direct
reports. Close work relationships that
include frequent conversations, clear goals and candid feedback can improve collaboration, execution
and performance.
Distant relationships cause resistance, mistakes and
lower productivity as employees satisfy the minimum requirements of their job descriptions but not
much more. There are four skills that every manager
needs to possess to bring out the best in people — the
ability to build trust, to listen, to deliver feedback
effectively and to manage challenging conversations.
In 2011, The Ken Blanchard Cos. released research
findings on employee work passion that indicate
feedback, connectedness and a sense of justice are
all positively correlated to employee intentions to
perform at a high level, apply discretionary effort,
endorse an organization and support fellow workers
in ways that are respectful and considerate.
Not providing employees with adequate feedback
on performance, not recognizing their improvements and ideas, or not ensuring that policies and
procedures are fairly and consistently applied to all
has repercussions. Without these things employees
are more likely to engage in unproductive or even
financially damaging behaviors such as passive aggressiveness and bare-minimum performance, and
higher turnover can result.
September 2012
There are two aspects of positive work relationships.
The first is the degree to which the manager and direct report have a productive business relationship
— meaning they are winning together, accomplishing goals and creating success.
talent management magazine
The second aspect is
the emotional, or affective, part of the
relationship. This includes intangibles such
as trust and positive feelings. The aforementioned
study indicates the strongest correlations between the
factors that create a passionate
work environment revolve around
an employee’s overall feeling of wellbeing in the workplace and his or her intentions to
remain with an organization, to endorse the organization and its leadership, and to apply discretionary
effort above and beyond minimum requirements
when necessary.
Trust Is Hard Earned and Easily Lost
The reality is, today’s workforce remains largely
disaffected and lacks trust in senior leaders. A 2011
employee satisfaction report from Maritz Research
found that “Poor communication, lack of perceived
caring, inconsistent behavior and perceptions of favoritism” were cited by respondents as the largest
contributors. As a result, the report identified that
“only 10 percent of employees trust management to
make the right decision in times of uncertainty” and
only 12 percent believe their employers genuinely
listen to and care about their employees.
It may sound cliché and simple, but people often
don’t care what leaders know until they know that
they care. Employees value leaders who connect
with the workforce on an emotional level. A 2010
Towers Watson global workforce report found the
most-desired attributes employees wanted in senior
leaders were trustworthiness (79 percent) and concern for the well-being of others (67 percent).
For managers looking to improve employee trust levels, there are several questions to ask reflectively:
Are you trustworthy and reliable? Can employees
count on you in a pinch? Do you have a clean and
clear relationship emotionally with your employees?
Cindy Olmstead, a business consultant and trust
expert, has an ABCD model that can help managers
assess their behavior. The model also can help open
up conversations between managers and direct reports if some past behavior has created a sense of
able: Do you demonstrate competence in your job?
Believable: Do you act with integrity?
Connected: Do you demonstrate that you care about
On the Web
By looking at these four subcomponents of trust,
managers and direct reports have a greater chance
of successfully identifying and resolving behaviors
that can lead to a negative perception.
Listening as a Skill
Another bedrock foundation of a good relationship is
the manager’s ability to fully understand and “get”
the direct report. To accomplish that, people need to
feel deeply understood and listened to.
For many years, active listening was taught in leadership development programs as the gold standard.
Active listening went beyond being quiet and focused to include understanding. Listeners could
demonstrate this by repeating back to the speaker
what they had just heard.
Recently, many practitioners have been advocating
an additional component to take listening to a higher
level — the ability to “listen with the intention of
being influenced.”
While this is not something that can be as easily
demonstrated, it can be easily recognized by the
talent management magazine
September 2012
helping leaders connect with the workforce on an
emotional level doesn’t mean they shouldn’t also
learn resilience. To find out how the u.S. Army
combats emotional distress among troops, visit
Dependable: Do you perform in a consistent and reliable manner?
speaker. People act and respond differently when
they are actually considering what a speaker is saying as opposed to waiting to respond, dismiss or take
the conversation in a different direction. When people are listening with the intention of possibly being
influenced or having their minds changed, their responses, body language and questions are different.
People sit forward in their chairs naturally and ask
to hear more. The technique encourages listening to
grow and can be a powerful way to contribute to a
person truly feeling heard.
The Problem With Feedback
Over the years, leaders have been taught a feedback
model based on a pipe dream. The pipe dream is that
a manager will sit down with a person, have a conversation with him or her pointing out the behaviors
that need to change, and then that person will hear
what the manager is saying, agree with the assessment, and successfully change his or her behavior
permanently. That almost never happens, and when
it does it’s only by accident.
that phone call.” They position what should be a direct request to change as feedback.
A better way for managers to approach this is to
make a direct request. “Mary, I just heard you answer the phone this way and, as your manager, I
need you to answer the phone this other way. Here’s
my reasoning behind that. Are you willing to comply
with my request?”
A manager may still get into a drawn-out conversation, but leading with a direct request is a better way
to begin than soft-pedaling the request as feedback,
which implies there is some choice on the employee’s
part as to whether to act on it.
A direct request is the more appropriate approach
and has a higher likelihood of success when behavior
needs to change. As a side benefit, people also will
see the manager as more direct and open with this
approach instead of having a hidden agenda, which
some people sense when a manager opens with, “I
have some feedback for you.”
To bring out the best in
people, every manager needs
the ability to build trust, to
listen, to deliver feedback
effectively and to manage
challenging conversations.
What typically happens is that managers see behavior they don’t like and decide to give the employee
feedback about it. Typically, the employee sees the
situation differently and doesn’t agree. Further, if
the employee has any type of negative relationship
with the manager, he or she often will discount or
devalue the feedback. The employee, in turn, also
will have feedback he or she would like to give. Now
there is a defensive atmosphere.
Feedback must be approached carefully, and a manager needs to lower expectations for the initial
feedback session. Behavioral change is almost always a drawn-out affair, and managers need to be
prepared to work with an employee over an extended
period of time to achieve lasting change.
September 2012
Managers also have to make sure they are not using
feedback as a soft sell of what should be a direct request for behavioral change. For example, if someone
is answering the telephone in an inappropriate way,
often managers — especially young managers — will
use an indirect approach, saying, “Mary, I have some
feedback for you around the way you just answered
talent management magazine
Dealing With Difficult
Eryn Kalish, a mediator in the
San Francisco Bay area, said challenging conversations are mainly
the result of an issue that was
not tackled when it was small
and has been allowed to grow
over time, such as issues with attitudes or behaviors.
If they had been addressed when
they first came up by having a
direct conversation, the issues
could have been defused early.
But in many organizations, small
things, especially those that seem to be sensitive, are
allowed to go on until the situation becomes untenable for one party or the other. Further, there is a lot
of history and tension connected to the issue.
When dealing with difficult conversations, it is important for managers to understand they are dealing
with emotion as much as content. Kalish said she
teaches that managers have to create a structure so
both people involved in the conversation can freely
express their side of the story. Managers should be
able to:
• Stateconcernsdirectly:Learnhowtospeakupin
a way that doesn’t alienate others.
• Probe for more information to gain a deeper understanding.
• Engage others through whole-hearted listening,
including listening with the intent of being influenced.
• Attendtobodylanguage.Beabletospotdiscrepancies between what is seen versus what is being
• Remain forward focused, but only when everybody is ready to move forward.
Each person needs to be allowed to tell his or her version of the story. Managers can’t begin to resolve an
issue until both people have had a chance to explain
what’s been happening from their point of view.
Build Strong Relationships Over Time
In March 2011, Nilofer Merchant, Harvard Business
Review corporate director and founder and former
CEO of Rubicon Consulting, said, “Culture trumps
strategy, every time.” Part of that culture is the accumulated beliefs, values and behaviors that develop
in an organization. She said, “a healthy culture allows us to produce something with each other, not
in spite of each other. That is how a group of people
generates something much bigger than the sum of
the individuals involved.”
Blanchard’s leadership-profit chain research looked
into the connections among leadership, employee
work passion, customer devotion and organizational
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success and vitality. The research found that effective leadership — especially effective day-to-day
management practices — is the key to create a highengagement, high-performance work environment
that wows customers and creates superior financial
Another backbone of day-to-day leadership is effective performance management skills, including the
ability to build trusting relationships, listen, deliver feedback effectively and manage emotionally
charged conversations. Leaders at businesses everywhere need to identify and evaluate the dozens,
hundreds or thousands of relationships that either
help or hinder their organizations’ efforts to reach
their goals. Closing the distance between managers and direct reports is one of the best ways to get
started. Begin today.
Scott Blanchard is an executive vice president and
principal of The Ken Blanchard Cos. and co-founder
of Blanchard Certified. He can be reached at [email protected]
Take Employer
Branding to the
Next Level
Jeffrey Cattel
Branding one’s company as a most-admired employer
may require marketing, but hr executives play a key
role by focusing on early identification and leadership
development programs.
nter the Googleplex, headquarters of the
world’s largest search engine in Mountain View, Calif., and one is transported to
a utopia that appears more Willy Wonka
than Wall Street. The 500,000-square-foot
complex features employee lounges outfitted with pool
tables and snack bars. Outside, employees can take a
break at the beach volleyball courts or take a dip in one
of the two swim-in-place pools. Hungry employees enjoy up to three free gourmet meals a day, and they can
take advantage of subsidized haircuts and massages.
Every part of the Googleplex, from its interiors to
policies that let employees bring their dogs to work,
exemplifies Google’s well-established work-hard, playhard mentality. This has become a cornerstone of the
company’s employer brand, and likely helps Google
perennially garner a top spot on Fortune magazine’s
list of the World’s Most Admired Companies. Last year,
Google finished second.
Fifteen years after it first collaborated with Fortune to
put together the most admired list, the Hay Group, a
global management consulting firm, commissioned the
study “Lighting the Path to Success” to look at the driving factors in the continued prominence of companies
such as Apple and Starbucks that regularly land at the
top of the list.
“Most Admired Company respondents were considerably more likely to indicate that their companies had
developed an explicit employer brand,” said Mark
Royal, senior principal at Hay Group. “It’s something
that Most Admired Companies are focusing on from a
branding standpoint.”
September 2012
Eighty-eight percent of the companies on the Fortune
list developed an explicit employer brand, compared
with 67 percent of their peers.
talent management magazine
A Cultural Shift
Employer branding refers to a company’s reputation as
an employer, and it isn’t new to the workplace. Simon
Barrow, chairman of People in Business, the employer
brand consulting subsidiary of recruitment agency
TMP Worldwide LLC, first introduced the term at the
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s
annual HR conference in 1990.
But the concept of employer branding remains important today in the war for top talent, said Kortney
Kutsop, an employer brand specialist at employee
branding company Universum. The company surveys some 500,000 people annually, including 65,000
college-age students, to find out what traits they find
most attractive in an employer. Like Fortune, Universum comes out with its own list, the Top 100 Ideal
“We’ve really seen a shift over the last few years where
students are no longer saying, ‘I’m going to work for
a company because I want to go into this industry,’”
Kutsop said. “They think, ‘I’m computer science and
I can actually work anywhere I want,’ whether it’s a
consulting company or an accounting firm or someone
like McKinsey or Google.”
With a perceived wider range of options, potential employees are more easily swayed by employer brands
that align closely with their ideal work environment,
Kutsop said. As a result, talent leaders are becoming
more involved in this branding.
On the Web
To find out how to take your organization from bland
to brand and position it to attract diverse talent, visit
Brand Keeps
Flying High
“A lot of it is going to rely on marketing and communications,”
Kutsop said. “But the role of HR is absolutely crucial in developing programs and measuring return on investment.”
Steve Canale, manager of global recruiting and staffing services for General Electric, understands the importance of
employer branding firsthand. During its 135-year history, GE
has established a strong company and employer brand that
aids its recruitment process. It finished 15th on last year’s
Fortune list of most admired companies and third on Universum’s Ideal Employer rankings.
“We have a strong competitive advantage on the engineering
and technology manufacturing side,” Canale said. “When we
mention GE on campus, we’re typically able to get people’s
attention. They know who we are.”
Canale stressed the importance of developing an employer
brand that is truthful and an accurate representation of an
employee’s experience.
“We’re trying to portray it in reality,” he said. “That is important to us because we don’t want to paint it as something
that it’s not just to attract people in the door. We’re trying to
position it so we attract the best, who we feel are going to be
successful in the company.”
That’s exactly where companies with top employer brands
succeed, said Angela Hills, executive vice president at Pinstripe Inc., a recruitment process outsourcing company.
The company is well known
for an employer brand that
emphasizes fun at work,
whether it’s customer service
representatives dressing up
in costumes for Halloween or
flight attendants rapping the
FAA safety regulations.
Walters breaks down Southwest’s success as a brand into
three branches:
• The people: “They are empowered to make decisions
that provide outrageous
customer service, even if it’s
coloring outside the lines of
what is normally done.”
• The brand: “People want
to work for Southwest. Our
candidates are our customers. They fly SWA; they see
how we treat our customers.”
• The recruitment process:
“Our brand goes hand in
hand with recruiting. We do
have a very established intern program and we have
great relationships with
many different colleges.”
— Jeffrey Cattel
talent management magazine
September 2012
“Organizations that consistently stay on lists like this have a
consistency between who they are and who everyone thinks
they are,” Hills said. “The cool factor isn’t just the marketing
hype. They have a way of aligning their employer brand —
their internal employee experience of how it is to work at the
organization — and their outward brand.”
During the past four decades, Southwest Airlines has
branded itself as more than
just a low-cost carrier. In recent years, while other airlines
have reported record losses
and even filed for bankruptcy,
Southwest continued to post
profits. Its success comes back
to the airline’s workplace culture and employer brand, said
Sharmon Walters, manager of
Southwest’s People Department.
How to Extend Employer Branding Online
In the ever-expanding realm of social media recruiting, employer branding remains one of the most
critical aspects to engage top candidates.
Employer branding, however, is more than just how
good a company’s website or careers site looks, according to Sajjad Masud, founder of Simplicant, a
cloud-based social media recruiting service.
“It includes the culture of the company, the responsiveness of the hiring managers and recruiters,
attention to the needs of employees and candidates,
and a tone that is welcoming to the candidates,” Masud said.
Traditionally, these pillars of employer branding
have been present in face-to-face interactions with
human resource professionals. New forms of social
media recruiting, however, allow for a more personalized virtual touch and give candidates a better taste
of the company’s culture. The older systems simply
asked job seekers to submit an application online.
not a surprise that these older platforms are simply
not able to provide what employers, recruiters and
candidates need in this era dominated by social media.”
Simplicant and other next-generation virtual recruiting platforms are attempting to fill a two-decade
technological gap. These platforms emphasize an interactive application process and include automated
templates that can communicate with each candidate for better engagement.
“When the application process is easy, intuitive and
interactive, candidates are more likely to go through
the entire application form,” Masud said. “Providing
an engaging experience and linking it to the employer
brand and company culture is one of the many ways
a next-generation system can leave a strong impression on the candidates who visit the career site.”
These next-generation systems help ensure that potential candidates return to a company’s career site.
“Most of the recruiting systems in place today were Visitors can sign up to get notifications when posibuilt 10, 15 or even 20 years ago,” Masud said. “It’s
tions open that match specific
keywords or applicable résumé experience and skills.
Longevity on Fortune Most Admired List, 2008-2012
Next-generation, cloud-based
recruiting platforms also allow companies to easily share
open positions on social networks such as LinkedIn,
Twitter and Facebook. Simplicant tracks the success of
each social media recruiting
campaign to evaluate which
methods work best for each
company. Further, the analytics let companies know
what colleagues and friends
are most helpful in bringing
qualified candidates to the
Wal-Mart Stores
General Electric
Goldman Sachs Group
Toyota Motor
Johnson & Johnson
Procter & Gamble
Berkshire Hathaway
Source: Fortune, 2012
talent management magazine
Number of years in top 10
“Using social media to source
referrals makes the search
process fun, cost-effective
and a lot more effective for
employers,” Masud said.
— Jeffrey Cattel
“Organizations that consistently stay on
lists like this have a consistency between
who they are and who everyone thinks they
are. The cool factor isn’t just the marketing
hype.” — Angela Hills, executive vice president, Pinstripe Inc.
Going Local
Foot in the Door
Rankings such as Fortune’s Most Admired Companies
and Universum’s Ideal Employer list tend to favor
large, global companies. According to Royal of the Hay
Group, which collaborates on the Fortune list, the primary criterion for inclusion is revenue.
For Canale at General Electric, the importance of a
strong employer brand to get a talented set of potential employees in the door cannot be underestimated.
But in the same breath, he said that a focus solely on
employer branding oversimplifies the situation.
“These are essentially the largest players in the different industry segments that we examine as part of the
rankings,” he said.
Human resource departments at companies such
as GE emphasize early identification programs. GE
brings in 3,000 rising college sophomores, juniors and
seniors as interns and co-op students for 90-day summer programs.
Regional and local companies also work to build employer brands, even if they fail to be recognized at a
national level. Consider, Clark Nuber, a certified public
accounting and consulting firm. The midsize company
based in Bellevue, Wash., won the Better Workplace
Award this year from the Association of Washington
Business and was named one of the 50 Best Small and
Medium Workplaces by the Great Place to Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management
for three consecutive years starting in 2007.
“If we provide good assignments and treat our early
identification interns well, they go back to campus
and can hopefully become net promoters of GE,” Canale said. “They become brand ambassadors of GE,
and that is the most important thing we can do in
terms of a recruiting perspective because students
believe other students more than they believe their
parents or teachers or advertisements or the recruiters.”
Tracy White, senior director of human resources at
Clark Nuber, said employer branding played a large
role in winning the workplace accolades. Further, people in the Pacific Northwest are starting to notice.
Following graduation, GE hires roughly 1,000 students in the U.S. each year. More than 70 percent
of those students have already had contact with GE
through an internship or co-op.
“Last week I was out doing errands and I had on a
jacket that says Clark Nuber,” White said. “And a person came up to me and said, ‘Oh, Clark Nuber,’ and told
me a story about a friend who worked at the company.
It’s not uncommon, if you’re around here, for people to
actually recognize our brand and know someone who
works here.”
The enrichment doesn’t stop when employees are
hired. GE and Clark Nuber have leadership development programs to help ensure continued success in
the workplace.
White attributes the success of Clark Nuber’s employer
brand to a focus on employees and a willingness to allow workplace flexibility, something you don’t often
find at a midsize CPA firm.
GE has seven separate corporate leadership programs
that hire students into two-year rotations, which involve six-month assignments in a new recruit’s field
of concentration.
“Students are very attracted to the fact that they
can come into a company that’s going to continue
to invest in their development and their education,”
Canale said.
talent management magazine
September 2012
“If they have something in their life that has come
up, they can take advantage of it,” White said. “It’s
not a situation where people have to work 70 or 80
hours a week. They can participate in their children’s
“We always say it’s the employees’ responsibility to
manage their career,” White said. “But it’s the firm’s
responsibility to provide them with the tools and resources to be able to manage it.”
The Strategic
Importance of
workplace Culture
Lizz Pellet
culture should be treated like other key performance indicators.
The challenge is getting leadership to buy in and elevate culture
to a strategic priority.
any company cultures shifted during
the past few years’ economic challenges, and the resulting stress has
caused fault lines to appear in their
cultural framework. But today’s business environment requires that companies understand
organizational culture and make it a top priority on the
strategic initiatives list.
When cultures shift, they often produce a level of discontent with the talent pool that is a breeding ground
for frustrated and angry behavior. Cultural fault lines, if
not examined and repaired, eventually can lead to unrest
among employees, which can be significant to the organization — most notably in a loss of an organization’s
best performers. The advent of social media often helps
spread negative energy more quickly.
This kind of discontent is often a result of significant
changes in the organization, such as installation of a new
leadership team, a merger or acquisition. These kinds of
changes often force top talent to re-evaluate how they
feel about working for the organization. Culture, therefore, can no longer be an afterthought or byproduct of
leadership’s actions; it must be elevated to a strategic
Too often, however, culture is closer to the bottom of
strategic concerns, an aspect quickly dismissed if need
be because of its reputation as a touchy-feely component
of organizational life and business, belonging solely to
human resources. The challenge is getting senior leadership to buy into the idea that culture is a valuable asset
and should be treated like other key performance indicators (KPI).
In some organizations, cultural assessment or transformation are on the strategic initiatives list. However, they
are typically identified as tasks or deliverables versus
strategies that require a systemic and holistic approach
to understand an organization’s identity.
September 2012
Definitions of organizational culture vary, but essentially
it is a collective behavior of humans in an organization,
formed by similar values, visions, norms, language, sys-
talent management magazine
tems and symbols. Culture also may be interpreted as the
way people — employees, clients and stakeholders — interact with one another in the organization.
A chief executive reading this definition is likely to latch
onto the word “stakeholder.” Therefore, that is the lens
talent leaders should use when presenting items surrounding culture and culture strategy and importance to
senior executives.
Organizational culture is created by leaders’ actions,
what leaders pay attention to, what gets rewarded and
punished and the allocation of resources.
No two cultures are the same because no two leadership teams are the same. Particularly when involved
in merger and acquisition activity, cultural due diligence should be an imperative to align the executives
of both organizations. Ideally, organizations should take
the best attributes of both cultures and create a unified
front. This isn’t always the case, however. What tends
to happen is the acquiring company will impose its culture onto the other. That may be the quickest or most
expedient way to move forward, but it’s not necessarily
the most strategic. A more strategic approach to merging
two cultures would be to leverage the culture of the acquired firm and keep it intact until a cultural assessment
can be conducted.
According to the Journal of Business Strategy article
“The Big Exit: Executive Churn in the Wake of M&As,”
companies can expect to lose 21 percent or more of their
executives each year for up to 10 years after an acquisition. This suggests culture is especially vital to an
organization’s success or failure during an acquisition.
Organizations should not wait until they acquire a company before considering how best to transition cultures.
On the Web
Find out from DJo hr executive Tom capizzi why
integrating talent management into organizational
culture is essential for global growth at
While venture capitalists are focused on return on investment, there is almost always a conversation around
cultural compatibility, because they know the deal can
sour quickly and permanently if it’s not properly addressed.
including factors like culture. By including cultural and
human system fit as part of cultural due diligence, and
the impact those systems have on the bottom line, an
organization can help to maximize a merger’s true potential (Figure 1).
A classic example of this is the merger between DaimlerBenz and Chrysler that created DaimlerChrysler, a deal
consummated for $37 billion in May 1998. Nine years
later, Daimler-Benz sold Chrysler to Cerberus Capital
Management, which specializes in restructuring troubled companies, for $7 billion and lost 80 percent of the
deal’s original value. In this instance, it could be argued
that cultural compatibility, or lack thereof, contributed to
the acquisition’s ultimate failure. Chrysler wasn’t highend like Daimler-Benz; Daimler tried to retain much of
its culture after the merger while ignoring Chrysler’s.
The firms’ cultural clashes, coupled with a recession —
which led to lagging sales — eventually spelled a recipe
for disaster for the two firms.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that by including cultural due diligence organizations could mitigate
shareholder risk by 25 percent. Again, using the numbers
from the previous example, cultural due diligence could
have saved nearly $30 billion in losses. It’s safe to say
this process wouldn’t have cost even a small percentage
of that figure.
Why, then, are lenders, venture capitalists and investors
not demanding that cultural due diligence be required
during the acquisition process? Why do failures like
DaimlerChrysler keep happening? The goal is to mitigate as much risk as possible, but it appears there is no
standard or defined process to follow. The traditional
approach to M&A, some could argue, is outdated by not
Talent leaders involved in a merger or acquisition should
pay attention to cultural compatibility and conduct a formal cultural due diligence process. Can an organization
conduct cultural due diligence before the deal is closed?
Yes and no. Talent leaders can certainly become more educated on the culture of the target company. During the
letter of intent stage, for instance, the integration team
can request data that will provide cultural insights. That
might include:
• Employeeengagementsurveyresults.
• Documentsthatconveythecompany’smission,vision
and values.
Figure 1: Traditional and New M&A Approaches
• Asset size gain
• Pre-tax income (profit)
per employee
and market
• Product complementarities
• Channel structure
• Customer base
and technical
• Market dominance in
main product lines
• National regulatory
bodies’ treatment of
proposed M&A
• Organizational
• Executive leadership
• Values alignment
• National culture
Employee engagement
Change management
September 2012
• Operational assessment
alignment and
• Technology platform
definition and decision
• Integration/transformation
to new company
operations and technology
Source: Felix Global Corp. 2007
talent management magazine
Cultural Due Diligence
at Adreima
Connie Perez
Private equity-owned health care company Adreima is in growth mode.
The organization set out to conduct cultural due diligence, and has since
adopted a cultural health assessment process as a key component in its
integration strategy.
In the competitive outsourcing industry, Adreima has marketed and adopted expertise as one of its core values. In a service business, employee
retention is a key factor for success. The company’s previous approach
to teach, communicate change and on-board new people would no longer work in a rapidly growing organization. So Adreima looked for better
ways to understand employees’ perceptions, concerns and priorities related to culture.
With support from the board of directors, Adreima customized its cultural
health assessment to reflect its values. The initial survey was launched to
create a cultural health baseline and was conducted six months after private equity group Waud Capital Partners bought the company. The results
revealed a healthy organization, but identified opportunities for improvement. The data was shared with all employees, which contributed to an
increase in response rates in subsequent survey cycles.
The leadership team and shared governance council — primarily an
employee-led group — worked together to establish priorities and plans
based on these results. The data and action plan were shared with the
board, and two key performance indicators (KPI) were added — one to
reflect an overall health indicator and one related to compliance. Having invested heavily to develop a comprehensive compliance program,
the more than 90 percent healthy rating assured leaders the program was
reaching front-line staff and that the investment was showing a positive
Adreima acquired Hospital Inpatient Services in September 2010, doubling its size. The assessment was deployed to all new team members
within three months of the acquisition — again, to serve as a baseline
indicator of cultural health as well as the initial response to the acquisition. The data illuminated areas of synergy between the two cultures and
areas of concern.
The assessment also measured employee engagement, which allowed
Adreima to plan and prioritize certain areas of the business and for leadership, and the results were communicated in a webinar given by the CEO.
September 2012
• Performance evaluation templates to
determine if there is accountability for
employees and leaders to live the values
and to quickly assess the level of leadership support for those values.
• Thecareersite.Whatisandisnotonthis
site is an insight into employees’ daily
Acquisitions are inherently risky, and without the proper strategy, mergers can get
ugly. Cultural due diligence is necessary
in the acquisition process to ensure maximum shareholder value is achieved. This
process should be deployed within the first
90 days of the close (Figure 2).
Ideally talent leaders should start the process by assessing and defining the cultures
through a validated cultural assessment.
This allows the organization to:
• Preserve the deal and achieve the benefits first envisioned following the
• Identify ways to take full advantage of
the positive aspects of each organization’s culture.
• Allow leadership to have quantitative
data displaying organizational health by
demographics such as leader, location
and department.
• Designaplantoaccentuatethepositive
and eliminate or mitigate unhealthy aspects in both organizations’ cultures.
• Identifyunhealthyareasofthecultures
that hinder or undermine strategic goals.
The entire organization took the next survey cycle in October 2011. The
overall health of the acquired company had improved by more than 10
percent within that year. One office with lower initial scores improved
significantly, a fact that was met with cheers and celebration by leaders
and team members in that organization. After the acquisition of Accounts
Receivable Management and Data Services Inc. in January, the survey
was completed within the first 30 days to help facilitate team member
engagement and establish action plans to be implemented immediately.
• Assess areas of employee engagement
and disengagement by leader to identify
the most effective leaders in both companies.
Values gap analysis was an important data point in the survey. Employees
respond to the values they would like to experience every day compared
to the values they currently experience. During every survey cycle completed, employees chose an “environment of continuous learning” as their
top desired experience. Based on these results, Adreima revised orientation and on-boarding processes, established new training programs,
reinforced tuition reimbursement benefits and developed new on-the-job
training approaches.
This activity should be conducted for the
entire employee population of the acquired
company and not just a statistically valid
sample size. The newly acquired employees’ first impression of the combined
company should not be one of exclusion —
invite everyone to participate.
Connie Perez is the chief executive officer at Adreima, a hospital revenue cycle
management firm. She can be reached at [email protected]
talent management magazine
• Create a solid, actionable plan that can
be measured and benchmarked over
Lizz Pellet is vice president, U.S. Group, for
management consulting firm Felix Global. She
can be reached at [email protected]
Are You Learning From
Your Learning Programs?
As every business leader knows, there are always gaps
between your strategic goals and your workforce
capabilities. Although training can help bridge those gaps,
you must be able to determine whether it is effective and
delivers a real ROI for the business.
Business metrics and analytics can show the links between
training and key metrics such as revenue by a particular
sales representative, compliance training by production
facility, individual performance, salary increases, retention
of high performers and overall career development.
Learn more about the value of business-critical workforce
analytics and learning in this SuccessFactors article.
Are You Learning From
Your Learning Programs?
Bridging the
gaps: Improve
and deliver a
quantifiable ROI
s every business leader
knows, there are always gaps
between your strategic goals
and your workforce’s capabilities. Training will move you
toward bridging those gaps,
but by itself it’s not enough.
One reason that’s true is that training is often
managed without the tools necessary to deliver
the right training or, even more importantly, to
measure the impact of training on the business.
How do you know if training is effective? How
can you determine whether it delivers a real ROI
for your business? Only when you use business
Training without
the right analytics
is like driving
without a map.
The relationship between learning and analytics is often misunderstood. Typically, when
people discuss analytics and learning, they’re
talking about reporting within a specific learning management system. But this doesn’t help
you make the connection with what is happening in the overall organization, or show you
whether the training is having the desired effect. Training without the right analytics is like
driving without a map. You know what you
want the training to achieve, but you have no
idea whether you’re delivering the right solution, whether you’re providing it to the right
people, and whether that ultimately has an impact on the business.
The value of analytics is that they demonstrate
what real results you can achieve. Effective, data-based insights show the links between training and key metrics such as revenue by a particular sales representative, compliance training
by production facility, individual performance,
salary increases, retention of high performers
and overall career development.
The key to successfully using analytics with
learning is combining traditional training reporting with business data from other systems.
This data is critical to understanding the business impact of training. The first step when developing a training program is identifying the
key business issues you’re trying to solve.
• Whatareyourcompany’sbusinessproblems?
• Cantheybesolvedthroughtraining?
metrics and analytics to support your learning
programs will you start to see the impact across
your business.
• Wasthetrainingeffective?
• Whatwasthetraining’simpact?
By Jeff Kristick
Jeff Kristick is the vice president of product sales and strategy for the learning product line at
SuccessFactors. He came to SuccessFactors via the Plateau Systems acquisition, where he was senior
vice president of marketing. Prior to joining Plateau, Kristick worked at TIBCO Software and Siebel
Systems in a variety of senior product marketing and management roles. He received his bachelor’s degree in
mechanical engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at
Northwestern University.
and deliver a powerful tool for measuring business performance.
The best way to answer these questions is by using workforce analytics to continually measure
your company’s performance — and the only
way to measure the impact on performance is
to incorporate business data and metrics in your
Ultimately, you’ll be able to identify the gaps in
your workforce’s capabilities and understand
how to bridge them with the right training. Performance will improve across the business and
you’ll be better equipped to execute your strategy more efficiently and profitably. The financial
business case for analytics and learning is real
and significant. When you can fine-tune how
you manage your most strategic asset — human
capital — it leads to real, measurable results.
Workforce analytics give you up-to-the-minute
information on the impact of training on your
business results. When integrated into a suite
of applications with both workforce metrics
and analytics capabilities, they can help identify problems and show you how to solve them
through training. Plus, analytics provide a transparent way of calculating the ROI across the
entire company, not just within your training
Traditionally, training departments have been
measured by how cheaply and effectively they
can deliver training. But with the use of analytics
against company metrics, you can now measure
the impact of training in terms of how much
money you’re saving per training dollar — or
how much additional revenue you can generate. For example, if you know that your best
sales representatives take a certain set of courses that cost $10,000 per person, and those reps
generate $100,000 more in revenue than their
peers, the decision to send more reps to training
is simple.
Workforce analytics and learning are two significant pieces of the entire SuccessFactors solution. Combined, they can provide a tremendous
amount of insight for your training department
Analytics provide a
transparent way of
calculating the ROI
across the entire
company, not just
within your training
In today’s economy, this kind of insight makes
you more effective, ensures you get maximum
value from your budget and generates insights
that in turn create a real and sustainable competitive advantage.
To learn more, visit
Is HR the New IT?
Ladan Nikravan
As recruitment, on-boarding and development head to the cloud
and mobile devices put sophisticated tools into everyone’s hands,
hr leaders are discovering that technology savvy and analytical
skills are key to effective talent management.
ast spring prospective Fastrac Markets employees had one choice when applying for
a job at the gas station. They had to come
to the location where they wanted to work
and fill out an application onsite. Not only
was this time consuming — hiring managers spent their
days traveling to stores picking up applications — it
was fruitless, because Dave Hogan, the company’s vice
president of human resources, knew he wasn’t reaching
top talent.
Cecile Leroux
Vice president, product strategy and
development, Ultimate Software
“We are moving beyond just giving employees access to data from wherever and
whenever to a new era of “consumerization”
in HR technology. This means that employees today want the capability to collaborate
and get work done using technology like they do outside of the
office — in ways that traditional HR technology has not allowed.
Expectations are that business applications should work more like
consumer apps — think Facebook, Amazon, etc. Employees want
simple-to-use, easily adoptable applications that will allow them to
interact with co-workers, bosses, even executives.”
On the Web
For more on hr technology, visit
Hogan adopted a new, Web-based talent management
solution to generate assessments and reports. He said
he thought candidates would appreciate the opportunity to apply through their desktops at home, but he
didn’t expect the deluge of response.
“I’ve had several people come into the store saying they
have a question about our application,” he said. “When
I look for the Web instruction sheet to give them, they
say they know how to do it — they just applied on the
phone in the car — they just want to make sure something they submitted was OK.”
Hogan shouldn’t be surprised. According to Cisco’s
“Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic
Forecast Update,” globally, mobile data traffic grew 2.3fold in 2011, more than doubling for the fourth year in a
row. By 2016, there will be 1.4 mobile devices per capita
— that’s more than 10 billion, which will exceed the
world’s estimated population at that time of 7.3 billion.
Figure 1
Timeline of HR Technology Evolution
On premise
Early 2000s:
Best of breed talent application:
1990s: Transaction automation:
HR is largely focused on automating core HR,
benefits and payroll transactions. This period
is marked by the “elimination of paper.”
HR begins focus on deploying best-of-breed talent
management applications and automating
singular processes — performance and compensation.
Late 1990s: Continued transaction focus:
September 2012
HR extends its transaction focus and tracking capability
largely in recruiting and learning. Talent management
begins to take shape via Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Source: Knowledge Infusion, 2012
talent management magazine
Thanks to this trend, when it comes to mobile workforce management technology, the days of pen, paper
and spreadsheets are practically history. Employees
once flustered by bureaucratic tasks can accomplish
wonders from wherever they like. Managers plagued by
scheduling and time-off requests can approve or deny
dozens in a matter of minutes.
“In the past, HR has been responsible for certain administrative activities and compliance,” said Jim
Holincheck, vice president of services strategy and
marketing at software provider Workday. “Those
responsibilities never go away, unless they are outsourced. Technology, however, has been a great enabler
for reducing the effort and cost associated with administration and compliance. HR has moved from focusing
on efficiency to effectiveness.”
Mobile Builds a Brand
By adopting mobile technology for HR processes, employers can boost service levels, employee satisfaction
and productivity rather than dealing with administrative frustrations.
“You build brand loyalty by being relevant to employees’ lifestyle,” said Nate DaPore, president and CEO of
PeopleMatter, a talent management software provider.
“If you look at the traditional talent management system, most employees only use [it] several times a year:
when they’re hired, when they need to look up benefit
information, when they’re forced into training or performance management. Talent managers need to find a
way to get employees back into the system day to day.
Using a platform like mobile is a start, but you need
to do something unique to have your app next to Facebook, Twitter and email.”
One of PeopleMatter’s apps, Schedule, is an online employee scheduling system that allows hourly employees
Jason Corsello
Vice president of corporate
development and strategy,
Cornerstone OnDemand
“Technology strategies are no longer being
driven by IT departments; rather, they are
being driven by what employees need, want
and expect in order to get their jobs done
using technology from their everyday lives. This includes social,
mobile and cloud technologies. While social and mobile are the
channels through which employees, managers and business leaders engage with learning and talent management tools, the cloud
is the catalyst that brings it all to life. You can’t realize the promise
of these other technologies without it. As a result, HR is becoming more real-time, with traditional processes evolving into living,
breathing, ongoing interactions.”
to view schedules, request time off, trade shifts and
communicate with others from their smartphones.
The PeopleMatter platform also includes Hire and
Learn, which give employers the ability to manage all
of their applicant tracking, hiring, on-boarding, training
and scheduling online within a single system.
“You have to provide a vehicle to continuously drive the
employee back into the system,” DaPore said. “A schedule is the trunk of the tree for employees; they want
to access that information immediately and have it in
their back pockets. Benefits, policies and procedures are
branches of that tree, but the hours they work are most
important, and that’s how you can pull them into everything else.”
When it comes to benefits, many consumer-directed
health care programs enable participants to view account information, upload receipt images and file claims
from their mobile devices. HR leaders hope making this
functionality more convenient might improve engagement in their health and health care.
2010-2012: Unified HCM:
HR continues to drive toward unified process and
technology and begins to enable user experience and
process connected to its core HR system.
Mid- to late 2000s: Talent management suite:
2012 and beyond: Unified workforce experience:
HR looks beyond systems to deliver a unified workforce
experience by combining knowledge, collaboration, analytics
and transaction into a personalized employee experience.
September 2012
HR begins to understand the value of integration and looks to the
talent management suite as the solution. Organizations begin to
combine more than one process under a single-vendor technology.
talent management magazine
Manufacturer Saves Millions Through Improved Hiring Decisions
or Littelfuse, an innovative $600-million company
with the premier circuit protection brand worldwide,
finding committed, attentive and driven employees is
an ongoing process required to uphold its global leadership
position. Continually raising the standard comes with
every job.
To meet the challenge, it relies on a web-based, referenceassessment solution that incorporates over 30 years of
research in job competency modeling. The solution has
had a dramatic impact on the company’s recruitment
efficiency and hiring quality.
The Situation: So Much Required, So Little Time
From offices in over 28 countries, the 5,000 employees of
Littelfuse deliver products that are found in virtually every
product that requires electrical energy, from automobiles to
computers to industrial equipment. Yet, only in the past few
years has Littelfuse raised its level of sophistication
concerning its reference-assessment process.
“It’s fair to say that we hadn’t been doing the best job of
reference-checking,” said Holly Stanton, human resources
director for global talent and the Americas, at Littelfuse.
“On rare occasions we found someone willing to tell us
something about a candidate that actually made a
difference. But, often we couldn’t justify time spent
on reference-checking because it yielded little more than
standard employment information.”
The Solution: A Broader Reference-Base and Better Data
Upon discovering the automated survey process, Littelfuse
tested it internally, then piloted it on an actual applicant.
After those initial trials four years ago, the company adopted
the solution for a full range of positions across all functional
and professional levels in the United States, Canada, Mexico,
China and the Philippines. It has never looked back, and
internal feedback from hiring managers has been
consistently positive.
The method involves having the candidate send his or her
references—managers, peers, subordinates, and business
partners—an electronic survey that contains approximately
20 questions. And, because the questions are specific to
particular types and levels of positions, they pertain to the
skills and behaviors that correlate with day-to-day success
on the job.
References respond because the electronic format is easy
and because the e-mailed invitation comes directly from
the candidate. Since sources are released from legal liability
and know that their responses will be aggregated and not
identifiable, they are candid in their assessments.
“Our managers are amazed at the kinds of references people
give, especially as we see a lot more negative references
than we had expected,” Stanton said. “This may be, in part,
because we had historically requested only two or three
references. Our current system is set to require a minimum
of five, two of whom must be managers. Candidates
have had to broaden their reference-base, which tends
to produce more revealing information.”
The tool produces a report that displays easy-to-read
bar graphs revealing a candidate’s scores. “When a
candidate scores low—and sometimes horrendously
low—across most statements, it’s obvious we don’t have
a match,” said Stanton. “Because we’re looking to hire
the best, even if someone’s report shows low scores in just
one area that’s critical to the job, we continue looking.”
Quality Selection Yields Measurable Results
Clearly, the process is efficient. However, Littelfuse
considers the true value to be in how the system
influences the company’s hiring choices. Since adopting
the process, Littelfuse has avoided hiring about 48
low-scoring candidates—candidates who might have
otherwise been hired only to become poor performers.
At an average annual salary of $83,000, this represents
nearly $4 million in wages that could have been spent
on employees the company did not want to retain.
Statistics on usage for Littelfuse reveal the strategic impact
that HR can have on operations and quality-of-hire:
s 50-percent of the 416 reference assessments provided
were from managers
s 5 references responded per candidate
s 89-percent of those references who were contacted
s The reference response time was less than one day
s 12-percent of candidates received scores showing
“great developmental need,” providing insight into
whom not to hire
“It’s the behavioral-based questions that provide the
assurance we need,” Stanton said. “There’s no doubt
that we’re making better-quality decisions, and we
also feel that the objective feedback reflects better on
the integrity of our selection process. It not only helps
us identify the most optimal future employees, it also
speaks well for the company.” s Phone: (610) 947-6300
What Would His
References Say?
Gathering reference information often takes too long
and yields limited information about a candidate’s
past performance. What if you could:
• avoid the lowest 10-15% of your new hires through
behaviorally-based screening questions
• increase recruiters’ productivity by getting
feedback from 5 references in 2 days
• gain 3 passive candidates per hire by
capturing reference responder’s contact
information in a searchable database
• be audit-ready with the click of a button
Find out how over 500 leading
companies, including Fortune
1000 firms, are doing this
every day.
(610) 947-6300 • [email protected] • Watch the video:
These leading organizations use online reference-checking:
“Technology-driven innovation is transforming all business processes in a short amount of time,” said Daniel
Burrus, author of Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible. “We had customization in
the past, but mobility is leading to personalization. That
means there are opportunities for us to grow our careers and grow our businesses when we work together,
collaborate and communicate in new ways.”
Eric Lochner
President, global talent management,
“Technological advances in systems are
enabling HR professionals to link informed
workforce decisions to positive business
outcomes. Workforce data centered
on employee profiles, hiring needs,
competencies, goals, performance, succession, compensation and
other areas is now easily available, and can be harvested and
analyzed to provide greater insights and actions needed for HR
professionals to do their jobs better. These tools allow companies
to fill voids in the workforce, reduce risk and plan for the future.”
No More Silo
While many talent managers have realized integrating
talent management tools, content and processes delivers consistent messages to employees, many leaders
remain confined within internal organizational silos.
Technology is changing this. More leaders have to work
in knowledge teams with marketing and IT to introduce
employees to new tools and technologies.
“Consider this HR 3.0,” said Jessica Miller-Merrell, CEO
of Xceptional HR and author of Tweet This! Twitter
for Business. “Up until early this year, talent managers
would most often send out a company memo that said:
‘Come to a meeting at 2:30 on Tuesday to learn more
about the employee benefit process and how it works
on the intranet.’ Now you’ll get a company memo, but
it’ll be a push notification to your mobile phone guiding you to an interactive video on how to access the
employee benefit information on your company’s app.”
September 2012
According to Holincheck, this trend means HR has a
greater say in its technology destiny. Subscription licensing for software as a service products allows HR to
purchase products out of its operational budget rather
than through a capital budget that undergoes deeper
and broader scrutiny. However, IT often still needs to
be involved to integrate new technology with other
talent management magazine
Burrus agreed. He said in the past, IT kept to itself and
HR kept to itself because the relationship was cooperative, not collaborative. HR can increase the value it
brings to the organization because of technology, but
that means HR leaders need to know what technology
can do.
“There’s a new level of communication and collaboration between tech people and people dealing with
culture, training and education,” Burrus said. “In the
past, IT folks were kind of like plumbers. They made
sure everything was hooked up, everything worked, everyone knew how to turn things on and off, and that HR
technology was secure with no leaks.
“Today, with hardware and software as a service, we
have on-demand IT, which is transforming into what
we always wanted IT folks to do, but they were too
busy to do, which is to help us use technology to gain
new competitive advantages and apply it in new and
powerful ways. Through this we are transforming how
we sell, market, communicate and collaborate with
each other. HR is involved in all those things, but now
so are IT and individual departments, daily. HR is restructuring companies; it’s transformative because of
Chris Leone
Senior vice president, applications
development, Oracle
“Technology trends such as social, mobile,
big data and the cloud are creating a fundamental change in how employees and
HR create value and relationships within
the networked organization. Each of these
individually affects work, the employee and work culture — collectively they are a formidable force of change within the HR
landscape. Technology today can provide deep workforce insight
with benchmarks that can help HR and business leaders make intelligent hiring and talent decisions all linked to business metrics.”
Technology Is No Panacea
According to Ted Elliott, CEO and founder of talent relationship management product provider Jobscience,
people forget that technology is only a tool, not an end
in itself. Older workers bring the hard-wired experience — or what freshly minted MBAs may call pattern
recognition skills — that younger workers are still developing.
“Realize that even if an employee is in a very nontechnology-related job, there is and will always be
a technology component to almost every job in an
organization. Providing training and ongoing support
is a key for success and future development of those
employees.” — Warren Laughlin, human resources vice president,
Longmont United Hospital
“Companies cannot do without experienced employees,” he said. “Instead of worrying about whether older
workers can keep up with new technology, we should
demand that IT only deploy technology that all employees can use. If only experienced workers can figure out
how to use the technology, it’s not good for the business.”
Miller-Merrell suggests that HR leaders teach employees about mobile HR technology and its progression of
use via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and
“We need to spend a lot more time than we already do
talking to our employees about how these tools can and
should be used,” she said. “It’s about more than ‘Here’s
our mobile policy, here’s our social media policy, and
here’s our flex-work policy.’ We need to explain the
what, how and where of these tools and how they can
benefit the company and employee when used.”
Talent managers have to work hard to make sure all
new technology is intuitive. Most busy employees don’t
have the time or attention to learn new software. IPads,
iPhones and their rivals will continue an aggressive
march into the workplace and the HR department. It’s
a talent manager’s responsibility to make sure technology for these platforms and others can be learned
quickly and is an asset to the business.
“We see growing adoption of talent management applications. However, much of the adoption has focused
on automating traditional processes,” Workday’s
Holincheck said. “This is valuable, but adopting talent
management technology does not mean your organization is managing talent more effectively. It is the
garbage in equals garbage out phenomenon.”
“My optimistic view of the future is that HR embraces
its business partner role and gets beyond the perception
of other business leaders that its primary role is administration and compliance,” he said. “People coming into
HR roles will hopefully have broader business experience and more analytical skills.
“HR will discover that analytics are a key tool for solving
the garbage in, garbage out problem in talent management, and emerging technologies around mobile, social
and analytics — delivered in the cloud — will become
tools the HR professional uses to instill culture, drive
change and facilitate work in the organization.”
Andrew “Flip” Filipowski
CEO, SilkRoad Technology
“Companies need better insight into how
employees and trends drive business. Social talent management allows just that
by mapping and measuring relationships,
influence and knowledge across the organization. It changes the way employees
communicate with each other by mirroring the way they’ve
become accustomed to social networks. It changes the way
employees learn by leveraging both traditional and informal
learning gleaned from a shared knowledge catalog of employees.
It removes HR from its traditional siloed-employee approach to
talent management to one that fully engages and understands
employees and everything around them.”
talent management magazine
September 2012
Holincheck said companies can have the best talent
management technology and the best talent processes
in the world, but if they have not identified the correct
competencies for the job, set the right goals or identified
the appropriate development items, it does not matter. Likewise, if a leader has great talent management
technology and talent processes but managers who do
a poor job of communicating with employees, the company will fail.
by Kellye Whitney
Robb Webb:
hyatt Culture Guru
Long employee tenure is common at Hyatt — a testament to the
organization’s cultural strength and HR strategies that focus on internal
employee development and engagement.
Serendipity often plays a role in how the course of a
life plays out. For instance, Robb Webb, chief human
resources officer for Hyatt Hotels Corp., never set out to
work in HR. In fact, he didn’t really plan anything. His
career trajectory was almost shockingly random, one
lucky appointment after another.
Webb said part of the skill set that enables HR leaders
like him to have that seat at the table is being Canadian.
He said it relatively tongue in cheek, but said it’s important to understand and appreciate diversity in a new
culture. When he moved from Citigroup to Hyatt, his
first task was to understand the hotel business.
It began during college. He went to a government center in his native Canada to ask for help finding a job.
The woman who waited on him said, ‘You look like a
nice person. Why not come work for us?’ He applied
and ended up helping other students find jobs.
“If you’re going to drive change, it’s better to drive
change from within,” he said. “I remember flying to
Australia and reading in a book: Change is a door that
can only be opened from the inside. There are a lot
of people that stand outside the door pounding on it,
throwing hand grenades, battering rams and the door
doesn’t open because you have to do it from the inside.”
After college he worked for the United Way, where he
later caught the attention of an executive for Westinghouse Canada Ltd. who hired him away to work in HR.
Nine years later, he moved into the financial services
industry as an assistant vice president. After a year, his
employer offered to move him to the company headquarters in California. Here Webb said his wife gave
serendipity a push when she suggested he go for it. After a decade, the company was acquired by Citigroup.
Webb stayed, and made more geographic moves up the
career ladder before landing at Hyatt five years ago.
There’s a common thread in Webb’s career: At each
stage someone recognized something in him that they
wanted for their own organization, then lured him
away to the next opportunity.
For instance, in the mid-90s while he was living in California, over a long dinner at an offsite meeting with
his boss and the fellow who would run the company’s
newest venture in Hong Kong, another opportunity
dropped into his lap.
September 2012
“We were discussing who could coordinate the setup
and launch of the company. I turned to [my boss] and
said, ‘If there’s nobody else, I’d be interested in doing
it,’” Webb said. “He put his wine glass down and said,
‘That only took four hours. I was waiting for you to say
that.’ I said, ‘But I’m the HR guy; I shouldn’t be the guy
who’s opening up companies,’ and he said, ‘No, you’re
Robb, and you’re actually the guy with the skill set that
we need to open the company; don’t limit yourself by
what your title says on your business card.’ It was a
fascinating experience.”
talent management magazine
The Hyatt culture was already strong when Webb came
on board, evidenced by the long tenure of many of the
company’s employees. He’s a rookie compared to the
30-plus years many of his peers on the executive committee have been with the company.
But just as customers won’t come back to buy products or services from a company that doesn’t meet their
needs, employees won’t stay with a company unless
they feel valued. With more than 90,000 people working under the Hyatt brand in 46 countries, Webb and his
team provide an experience where each individual can
achieve his or her full potential and feel engaged with
Hyatt and its business. Culture is key in that process.
As Webb said, one can buy nice sheets, great furniture
and art work when setting up a hotel, but people decide
whether to return because of the human component.
“I think it was Warren Buffett who talked about the
moat around your company — how big, how deep,
how wide is the moat in terms of keeping competitors
at bay,” he said. “The most lasting strategy to extend
and deepen the moat has to do with human capital.
It’s also the most difficult to copy. If a competitor looks
and says, ‘Wow, Hyatt’s got all this tenure, they’ve got
great culture’ and so on, ‘Let’s go hire a couple of Hyatt
people, and we’ll have that culture,’ knock yourself out.
It’s not going to happen. If it was that easy, everybody
would do it.”
Webb said there are several building blocks that
contribute to the company’s talent strategy. Global en-
gagement is one piece — not in the sense of
the annual survey, but in a 365-days-a-year
“We’re now coming up on five years of
measuring and talking about engagement,
and that’s been a small but important way
to give people a common language to talk
about what people expect at work,” Webb
Development is another piece. Last year
he launched the first Hyatt Leadership
Forum, custom designed after a year of interviewing people to identify goals so that
participants will come away with a broader
business perspective as well as things that
are immediately relevant to their careers
at Hyatt. Leader is in the program title, but
the program is for all employees.
Development also acts as an engagement
tool. Hyatt partnered with Gallup to develop a methodology and instrument to
measure engagement. The tool has 12
questions, which makes it more likely that
a general manager, for instance, will remember and use it to recognize others’ contributions more
“It isn’t a program,” Webb said. “We think of engagement as small e, not capital E — that it’s just the way
we behave. It’s who we are as a company. It’s part of
our people brand. Guests have a guest experience with
us; employees should have an employee experience
with us.”
in growth areas such as Asia, Europe and the Middle
For instance, to ensure that a new hotel in Vietnam
has the feel, employees and values that matter to Hyatt while simultaneously opening 10 other hotels in the
region, Webb and his team deploy “carriers of the Hyatt
DNA” to open the hotels. Then, with the right recruitment and selection mechanisms in place — and a brand
that promotes the company’s philosophy on growing
the best leaders in the industry — the company can attract people who share Hyatt’s values around respect,
PROFILE continued on page 48
talent management magazine
September 2012
In addition to its impact on the employee experience,
culture also plays a significant role in how talent leaders develop the company’s global brand and properties
©2012, Nic GourGuechoN
“If I ever heard anyone say, ‘Am I on the
list?’ my answer is ‘Yeah, if you work here,
you’re on the list because everyone is on
the list,’” Webb said. “Everyone at every
level of the company has an opportunity to
develop somehow, and depending on what
you do, who you are and what your interests are that will look very different.”
by Ladan Nikravan
Does education Pay?
Harvard professor Richard Freeman and Northeastern University’s
Andrew Sum say earning a degree has benefits, but they disagree
on what those are.
There’s a lot of controversy about the
education as more
on their parents’
couches. With unemployment for new
graduates lingering
around 9 percent,
many are questioning the value of
higher education and
whether it’s still the
golden ticket to a
good job.
Talent Management
spoke with Richard
Freeman, professor of economics at Harvard University and co-director of the Labor and Worklife Program
at Harvard Law School, and Andrew Sum, director of
the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern
University, on their contrary views about the value of
a college education and what it means for talent managers.
Richard Freeman
How important is a college education in today’s
working world?
Freeman: On average, college education is more important than it was in the past, but you can succeed
greatly without one or without graduating with a college degree. This may seem paradoxical but it has an
easy explanation.
The difference in the average earnings of all college
graduates compared to non-graduates has gotten large,
and graduates have much lower rates of unemployment than non-graduates in the current job market.
But there is much greater variation around the average
experience for graduates and for non-graduates; many
persons who do not have a college degree earn more
than those who do. If you do not go to college but get
a job in a firm that promotes from within or get into a
small business that is growing and that offers workers
chances for ownership stakes, you can succeed famously. You will learn more from your job experience
than most graduates learn in college. It is the learning
experience and skill acquisition more than college education per se that today’s working world wants.
Sum: On average, college graduates will do considerably better than any young person who does not go to
college after high school. The problem is the rewards
for going to college have become fairly perverse over
the past few years. There’s a lot more uncertainty attached to your ability to do well, although you could
reduce that uncertainty by majoring in particular fields
and doing particular things for yourself while you’re
still in school. I still expect, on average, you will find
a sizable differential that will prevail for the average
college grad.
When labor markets are weak, employers will increase
their demands for a job. When we were interviewing
call centers a couple years ago and looking at who they
were hiring, many were hiring kids with a college degree. Clearly the job doesn’t require anything like that.
When we would speak to the employer and ask why
he or she was hiring people with degrees, the response
was, “Because I can.” This problem we have in the U.S.
Education Level and employment
Median Annual Income Age 25 to 34, by Education
Constant 2009 dollars
September 2012
High School
1980 1985 1990
1995 2000 2005 2009
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010
talent management magazine
Unemployment Rate For Adults Age 25 to 34, by Education
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
is even more intense in Europe.
It’s not enough to just generate
the supply of college graduates;
you’ve got to guarantee there
will be a demand there to absorb it.
Since we’re not generating
many new jobs, new people
trying to make it in the labor
market are most adversely affected. You can try to influence
demand — we’ve done this in
the past with other programs
— by giving employers tax Andrew Sum
credits for hiring college graduates. I say we have to say, “If you end up hiring an
unemployed BA degree person, for the first year we’ll
subsidize your wage up to this amount” — in the past it
has been up to 30 or 40 percent. This gives an incentive
for employers to put more people on their payroll. We
subsidize energy, we subsidize R&D, we subsidize capital investment, but we don’t do much subsidization of
workers’ wages. Large numbers of people are unable to
get jobs in their field; we have to do the best we can to
go out and make jobs for them.
what does this mean for HR leaders?
Freeman: HR should be looking for people who have
some skills and want to learn more and have initiative
in using skills. Now, there is no good app for linking
huge databases of resumes or other data to winnow
down large numbers of applicants to the right few, but
some such apps will be coming. There is too much data
and analytic techniques from computer science and
physical science for HR and talent managers to go by
seat of pants or gut. The sports teams — NBA, baseball and so on — have shown what one can do with
data to better link skills to job roles. You cannot simply
pick people on the basis of their majors or whether they
have the “right” degree or not. The creative English major has a reasonably high chance to be better than the
accounting major or engineering major on a real job.
I would look for people with majors/minors or double
majors and some devotion to extracurricular projects.
The key issue is how to get a nation that wants to increase the college graduation rate to world highs to
pursue policies that will give an economic incentive to
employers and students to put these graduates to work
and have colleges train them to be prepared for such
Degree Holders
and Unemployment
About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s
degree holders under age 25 last year were jobless
or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11
years. In 2000, the share was at a low of 41 percent.
Out of the 1.5 million in the job market, about half
were underemployed, an increase from the previous year.
Source: Northeastern University, Drexel University and the
Economic Policy Institute, based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s
Current Population Survey and U.S. Department of Labor data
talent management magazine
September 2012
Sum: There are some instances where I could foresee
spot shortages. If this happens, HR leaders will have to
be involved in working with universities and on-thejob training to get all the help they need. If the labor
market stays weak, talent managers will continue to
have a lot of choices when it comes to hiring. It varies
a lot by occupation and by area of the country. Either
way, HR leaders need to work with universities to get
young people acquainted with their firm. Give them
work while they’re in school so they’ll retain loyalty
when they graduate. There are certain skills you can
learn on the job, that’s true, but for certain jobs upward mobility will be enhanced by going to school and
improving your ability to acquire skills to move up.
Even to be trained on the job, the more education you
bring with you, the more likely a company will spend
to train you.
by Halley Bock
three best Practices
employees Crave
Talent leaders can prevent best practices from turning into worst practices by
creating and sustaining a positive work environment.
In theory, best practices bring positive results. The
intent is to use them to simplify processes, improve
quality, save time and provide a consistent framework
within which talent can efficiently operate. Organizations create best practices to support employees and
help them succeed. However, a 2012 Fierce Inc. survey
titled “Workplace Practices: What Role Do They Play
in Your Organization?” finds there is often a disconnect
between an organization’s well-meaning best practices
and their impact on talent.
Of the nearly 800 corporate executives, employees
and educators across the finance, health care, retail,
aerospace and defense sectors who responded to the
survey, 44 percent claim their company’s best practices
hinder employee productivity and morale. Forty-seven
percent report their organization’s current practices
consistently get in the way of achieving results. This
means long-accepted best practices are failing to address the issues they were intended to fix and instead
escalate problems and limit performance.
their company’s best practices
hinder employee productivity
and morale.
organization’s current practices
consistently get in the way of
achieving results.
Source: Fierce Inc., 2012
September 2012
Three practices can create and sustain positive, productive work environments, and have the added
benefit of giving talent management clear insight into
what employees want: corporate transparency, individual autonomy and organizational responsiveness.
These three practices are also tools organizations can
use to ensure best practices remain relevant and do
not devolve into worst practices. Seventy-nine percent
of survey respondents identified one or more of these
talent management magazine
three practices as the top ones that consistently improve their organizations.
The Need to Be Clear
According to the Fierce survey, some 50 percent of
respondents identified lack of company-wide transparency and too little involvement in company decisions
as key areas of concern. Nearly 50 percent selected lack
of transparency as the top practice holding their organization back, while 25 percent were concerned that
decisions were made behind closed doors or information is only disseminated on a need-to-know basis.
Transparency into how and why decisions are being
made is no longer optional in the modern workforce.
Because of the last 20 years’ economic roller coaster,
including the Enron scandal, the mortgage crisis, even
the recent Facebook IPO, lack of transparency and
closed-door discussions are increasingly equated with
dishonesty, corporate greed and corruption.
Talent management can rebuild trust within the workforce by shifting the way in which employees access
information and participate in the decision-making
process. For example, increasing the flow of information and consistently reporting to staff throughout
the year as to the organization’s overall health, strategy and goals will engender trust. Most employees
would rather participate in the good and bad news
than have management protect them in an effort to
avoid demoralizing talent. Given the speed of modernday communication, it is only a matter of time as to
when the news — good or bad — is posted, emailed or
tweeted. Organizations must take steps to ensure they
are the messengers; otherwise negative impact on morale is likely.
Further, management should actively involve talent
at all organizational levels in the decision-making
process. There was once a widely held belief and expectation that managers and leaders would have all the
answers and make the calls. The expectation of today’s
talent is for leadership to seek out diverse opinions and
engage staff so that decisions are well informed while
providing insight into the process used to arrive at the
Give Them Some Power
Fifty percent of respondents identified the most beneficial practices as those that encourage accountability,
development and individual empowerment within
Nearly 50 percent identify lack of company-wide transparency
and too little involvement in company decisions as key areas of
Nearly 50 percent selected lack of transparency as the top
practice holding their organization back.
25 percent are concerned decisions are made by management
behind closed doors.
25 percent dislike that information is disseminated on a
“need-to-know” basis.
Source: Fierce Inc., 2012
an organization. In their book, The Handbook of SelfDetermination Research, authors Edward Deci and
Richard Ryan found employees have three basic desires when it comes to work: competence — a strong
understanding of their work; autonomy — the ability
to decide what they do and how they do it; and relatedness — the ability to engage with others through the
course of their work.
Organizations that address these needs experience
higher retention levels, and job satisfaction increases
because employees do not feel constantly monitored by
controlling supervisors and co-workers.
down corporate silos and improve the overall quality of
decisions throughout the organization.
Through workforce training, HAVI Global Solutions
developed a common language and toolset to increase
collaboration, leadership development and an autonomy culture resulting in smart risk taking. Through
coaching and the development of clear roles, employees have begun to trust their own instincts. They are
now more independent and proactive, bringing solutions, rather than problems, to their discussions with
talent management magazine
September 2012
Talent managers can shift past paradigms where Here’s What We’ll Do
autonomy was given exclusively to higher-level em- A dichotomy exists between an employee’s willingployees by offering increased autonomy at all levels. ness to provide feedback about best practices and an
organization’s willingness
They should start by defining clear
to respond. Seventy perdecision-making
what Employees want
cent of survey respondents
with employees so they understand
said they would candidly
which decisions are theirs to make,
1. Transparency
approach decision makers
which need to be jointly made and
within their organization if
which should be passed to oth2. Autonomy
they felt a company practice
ers. Providing clarity empowers
needed to be re-evaluated
individuals and creates roadmaps
3. Responsiveness
or adjusted. However, of
for professional development and
Source: Fierce Inc., 2012
those who reported limited
opportunities for employees to rebenefits from their organiquest more responsibility.
zation’s practices, less than
Unlike best practices, autonomy offers employees the
one-third believed their company was willing to change
freedom to employ creative problem-solving skills and
practices based on employee feedback.
strategic thinking while avoiding the group-think trap.
When employees are entrusted to take on challenges, In an effort to support transparency and provide a
they are often fully engaged in outcomes instead of continuous feedback loop, talent management should
create regular touch points to extract ideas and opinions
blindly following protocol.
from the workforce while keeping employees abreast
For example, HAVI Global Solutions, a global packaging
of what the organization is doing with the informaand supply chain company, invested in problem-solvtion. Leaders should consider scheduling monthly pulse
ing training for its employees, with 95 percent of the
checks with employee teams and recognize individuU.S. workforce and 75 percent of international employals for their input, or think about organizing quarterly,
ees having received training thus far. Its goals were
companywide or division-wide meetings, and make
to develop more organization-wide transparency and
inclusion among its business units, as well as break DaSHBOaRD continued on page 48
by Neil Costa
Virtually engineer
top talent
Problem: A123 Systems’ Energy Solutions Group had to quickly create an influx of fresh
engineering candidates to support an expansion.
Solution: The company implemented a digital recruitment advertising campaign to drive
qualified candidates to an onsite career fair and created a communication loop for candidates
and recruiters to engage before, during and after the event.
In February, A123 Systems, a lithium-ion battery and
energy storage systems developer, planned and publicized its first career fair at its facility in Westborough,
Mass., where its Energy Solutions Group (ESG) operates.
The company’s objective was twofold: quickly recruit a
large pool of engineering candidates who matched the
attributes of a dozen hard-to-fill positions, and try new
recruitment marketing methods using the most current
online marketing channels.
A123 Systems’ products call for highly skilled employees
with specific work experience and skills. This year, the
ESG is rapidly expanding as demand for its products in
the electric grid, telecommunications, IT, military and
other markets grows based on the country’s increased interest and investment in environmentally friendly power
The division is also expanding its portfolio of grid storage
products, which help integrate renewable power sources
such as wind and solar into the existing electric grid infrastructure. Thus the company was seeking more talented
engineers to develop products and bring them to market.
Its human resources team needed to engage experienced
technical engineers and build its pipeline of recent graduates for entry-level positions.
Attracting Better Candidates
Career fairs and open houses are old-fashioned, but they
are still effective sourcing and hiring tools because they
showcase a company’s most valuable hiring assets — its
people and its culture. In the past recruiters relied on
newspaper and radio advertising to drive career fair attendance. These one-way marketing channels did not
allow recruiters and candidates to communicate before
the event.
September 2012
Now, using the most current online marketing channels
available, recruiters can reinvigorate in-house career
fairs. After deciding to host an onsite career fair, A123 Systems asked HireClix (Editor’s note: The author works for
this company), a digital recruitment marketing agency, to
help promote and market the event.
talent management magazine
Get Started
To begin targeting passive job candidates on Facebook or LinkedIn, companies need three things:
• Somethingtopromote,suchasacorporatecareer
page, job openings or a career fair and a landing
page to communicate the details.
• A description of who they want to reach by job
title, geography and skills.
• Asocialrecruitmentadbudget.Onlineadvertising channels provide flexibility so advertisers can
spend from $10 to $1,000 per day. There are many
options, and the point of entry is low.
Certain sites have a tool to help employers build social media ads.
These walk the employer through a step-by-step process to build an ad and identify which profile pages
to display the ad on based on the desired location,
demographic and candidate’s interest.
The company controls the cost it pays for each ad by
bidding on the maximum cost to pay per click and
setting a cap on the daily budget it’s willing to spend.
— Neil Costa
“We were looking for a focused approach that targeted
specific candidates — primarily engineers who graduated
from a technical school, have 10 to 15 years of work history and power supply experience,” said David Pantano,
vice president of human resources for A123 Systems. “We
have dabbled in social media, but we don’t use it to the
best of its ability. We don’t have the expertise within our
in-house HR department.”
HireClix developed and executed a recruitment marketing campaign using online digital marketing channels.
Using Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and targeted banner
advertising on websites, the team was able to target
passive and active job seekers as well as recent college
graduates and experienced professionals. This digital approach had a number of advantages:
• Witha$20,000budget,arecruitmentadvertisingcampaign targeted candidates with the education and work
history A123 Systems wanted.
• Because attendees registered online, recruiters could
screen candidates pre-event to prioritize onsite interviews, schedule pre-event phone interviews and
anticipate attendance.
• Flexible online advertising allowed the team to increase spending in top-performing channels.
• Steppingoutsidetheboundariesofanonlinejobboard
and direct sourcing, the campaign attracted new candidates, rather than the same people who show up
through direct sourcing.
The Right Education and Work History
To start, the team created an online registration page using Eventbrite, an online service where people can post,
share and join events for free. The page allowed candidates to RSVP in advance for the career fair and A123 to
collect contact information for candidates.
The registration page also encouraged candidates to submit their resumes through the A123 career site in advance
so recruiters could review their experience and prioritize
them for onsite interviews.
Facebook’s more than 800 million global users make it
a valuable platform with which to target recent college
grads and experienced engineers.
A123 reached both types of candidates by sponsoring payper-click Facebook ads that started promoting the on-site
career fair six weeks before the event. The Facebook ad
featured A123 branding, information about the career
fair and a link to the Eventbrite page where candidates
could RSVP.
Pay-per-click ads were displayed on Facebook profiles of
students majoring in engineering at six universities with
strong engineering programs. For example, students from
the class of 2012-2015, studying an engineering discipline at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Worcester
Polytechnic Institute, University of Massachusetts and
Cornell saw the ads.
Test engineers at A123 Systems
use custom-built test stations to
“The beauty of the marketensure quality at all levels of the
ing campaigns was that we
manufacturing process.
were sure to get qualified
candidates to the career fair,
and we did,” Pantano said. Courtesy of Bill Truslow Photography
“The ads drove candidates to
pre-register; our recruiters were able to identify the most
qualified candidates before they arrived at the event.
“That allowed us to triage the job seekers to the appropriate hiring managers and interviewers, which made the
event run very smoothly and efficiently. We were able to
devote more one-on-one time to the most qualified candidates and get a sense for the people we couldn’t hire
immediately, but who would potentially be a fit for future
job opportunities.”
Registration Provides Predictability
In total, the online marketing campaign motivated
candidates to visit the career fair registration page on
Eventbrite 4,500 times. Thanks to online registrations, by
the time the career fair began, 160 candidates had registered to attend at A123 Systems headquarters.
Members of the A123 human resources team from each of
its three Massachusetts offices were on hand to work the
event. As candidates arrived, they were paired with one
of four technical recruiters, 12 hiring managers and engineering team members for interviews or conversations
over food and beverages.
Sixty-five potential candidates were interviewed at the
fair, and an additional 25 interviews were conducted after the event. Two offers were subsequently made that
resulted in one hire. Three candidates who attended the
career fair are still actively in the interview process.
“The most unique aspect of the digital marketing campaign was the ability it gave us to prescreen and
pre-qualify candidates,” Pantano said. “But the event also
helped with employee morale. Once you get employees
talking about the company — the programs we have, the
growth in the business, and what A123 Systems is doing
for the environment — they get reinvigorated as to why
they work here and what they like about the company.”
Neil Costa is CEO and founder of HireClix, a recruitment
marketing agency. He can be reached at [email protected]
talent management magazine
September 2012
To recruit more experienced engineers, ads were placed
on Facebook profiles where people listed professional
engineering associations, engineering job titles or engineering sub-specialties as interests or in the academic
and work history. These ads were targeted to attract engineers in states where other large battery technology
companies have offices or headquarters, with the hope of
luring talent with battery experience to new opportunities at A123 Systems. In total, the Facebook advertising
campaigns for A123 Systems generated more than 10
million impressions for the company brand and delivered
3,000 visits to the A123 career fair page.
Similar advertising campaigns ran on LinkedIn to
identify more senior engineering talent because a
majority of LinkedIn users
are older than those with
Facebook profiles and more
advanced in their careers.
The LinkedIn campaigns
generated a total of 500,000
impressions and 1,000 visits
to the career fair page.
PROFILE continued from page 41
DaSHBOaRD continued from page 45
intellectual honesty and integrity. These values are important internally and externally.
sure to report back to employees on how their feedback
helped management reach decisions. When organizations make a concerted effort to hear from talent, and
talent feels the “ask” is authentic, decision makers gain
the emotional capital required to make even unpopular
decisions without losing support.
When Hyatt went public in 2009, talent strategy underwent a significant change. “When we went public I
was a little naïve,” he said. “I’ve been here long enough
as a private company, I’d forgotten what it was like to
be public. So we went public and all of a sudden a lot of
stakeholders started to come at us. I had a lot of people
in the religious community writing here and asking us
what our position was on human trafficking around the
World Cup in South Africa. How else do you answer that
except to say, ‘Well, we’re opposed to it.’ I realized as a
public company we can’t just know that we’re doing
the right things. We need to have a framework, policies,
things that demonstrate to the outside world that that’s
what we believe.”
That type of wholesale move carries risk and can potentially impact how talent is viewed and strategy
is executed. Lilith Christiansen, vice president and
co-lead of the organization development practice at
management consulting firm Kaiser Associates, said it
can be easier to invest in culture and people programs
in a privately held organization because there’s no need
to defend the resource spending to outside investors.
“The fact that Hyatt made this transition in a successful
way and we haven’t seen any bleeps in terms of news
around a degradation of their service and culture says a
lot,” she said. “I suspect it has something to do with how
core their culture is to their success and their ability to
deliver client service. It hasn’t been a place that investors have looked to make improvements or changes.”
Moving from a private, family-owned to a publicly
traded company creates a different organization, said
Mark Demich, vice president of leadership and organization development at Hyatt. Once the dust settled,
Demich worked with Webb as well as other business
and HR leaders to put together a global review process
for top talent.
“We have a base criteria on how we measure leaders, a
process by which we do the measurement, and then we
have the actual conversation with the executive team
about all of the talent at that level to understand that
talent from a succession standpoint, to understand how
deep that talent pool is and where leaders across the organization might come from that we hadn’t seen before
for future opportunities,” he said.
Leadership at all levels is fast becoming an organizational norm. Take the front doorman of Chicago’s Park
Hyatt Hotel. “I love this guy,” Webb said. “He is the
absolute personification of Hyatt and a leader in the
company. I want 90,000 people just like him.
September 2012
“The future is providing development for those 90,000
people so they can continue to be the stewards of our
culture and of our brand, so that every time they come
into contact with each other, with a guest, that guest or
colleague walks away feeling more engaged, more loyal
and more cared about than before the interaction. I’m
trying to figure out how to bottle that. I haven’t quite
gotten there yet, but that’s the goal.”
talent management magazine
Regardless of the outcome, maintaining clear two-way
communication is key for today’s workforce. When
employees have a voice, they feel as though they are
contributing and, as a result, become more engaged.
Management reaps the reward of knowing exactly
where it stands with its employees, and thanks to a robust communication flow, the organization has a fully
functioning early warning system as to what is and is
not working well.
There are transparency lessons to be learned from
some consumer-facing initiatives already in use. For
example, Starbucks has created its own My Starbucks
Idea website. Starbucks invites consumers and website visitors to submit their ideas for products, service
improvements and social responsibility ideas. Tens of
thousands of concepts have been submitted, reviewed
by other consumers, given thumbs up or thumbs down
and reviewed by Starbucks management. This level of
engagement and transparency results in rich data and
taps into groups’ collective wisdom.
Similarly, Dell has created a site named Idea Storm.
Like My Starbucks Idea, Dell’s 5-year-old site invites
consumers to vote on potential advances to the company’s line of technology products. More than 17,000
concepts have been contributed by site visitors, more
than 700 votes cast on the individual concepts, and
500 ideas have been implemented by the company.
This transparent communication with stakeholders
and the collective wisdom of Dell’s consumers has
led to tangible benefits — product innovations — and
intangible benefits — ongoing, deeper, brand-building conversations with its customers and potential
These sites invite key stakeholder groups to actively
participate in strategic decisions and the company’s
long-term success. These stakeholders are promised
a reasonable level of response, demonstrating that
the organization is actively engaged in the communication process. On top of that, people who submit
winning ideas receive recognition — although not
material compensation — from the company.
Talent management should stay vigilant about its
organization’s needs and desires today versus what
the business required decades ago. Best practices are
often created with a specific need in mind or as a result of a leadership belief or philosophy. As much and
as often as an organization’s workforce demographic
and competitive landscape shifts, so should its best
Halley Bock is the CEO of Fierce Inc., a leadership
development and training company. She can be
reached at [email protected]
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Back Cover
3rd Cover
2nd Cover
Editorial Resources
A123 Systems
46, 47
Accounts Receivable Management
Applied Materials
17, 19
Association of Washington Business
Bureau of Labor Statistics
42, 43
Cerberus Capital Management
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development 24
Clark Nuber
Cornerstone OnDemand
Data Services Inc.
Drexel University
Economic Policy Institute
26, 39, 44, 46, 47
Fastrac Markets
Felix Global Corp.
29, 30
Fierce Inc.
44, 45, 48
4, 25, 27
General Mills
24, 46
Great Place to Work Institute
Harvard University
4, 42
HAVI Global Solutions
Hay Group
46, 47
Hospital Inpatient Services
Human Capital Source
Hyatt Hotels Corp.
40, 41, 48
Kaiser Associates
Ken Blanchard Cos., The
20, 23
Knowledge Infusion
26, 39, 46, 47
LongHorn Steakhouse
Longmont United Hospital
Maritz Research
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
McBassi & Co.
16, 18, 19
Millward Brown Optimor
Northeastern University
42, 43
People in Business
Pinstripe Inc.
25, 27
Procter & Gamble
Rubicon Consulting
SilkRoad Technology
Society for Human Resource Management
Southwest Airlines
24, 48
TMP Worldwide LLC
Towers Watson
26, 39
Tyco Fire and Security
U.S. Department of Labor
Ultimate Software
United Way
University of Massachusetts
24, 25, 27
Waud Capital Partners
Westinghouse Canada Ltd.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Workforce Intelligence Institute
Xceptional HR
Editorial Advisory Board
Jim Bowles
Vice President, BTS USA
Daniel S. Bowling III
Senior Vice President of HR, Coca-Cola Enterprises
Doug Castor
Vice President of Talent Acquisition,Wellpoint
Chris Cutone
Senior Vice President, Talent Director,
McCann Erickson
Kate DCamp
Senior Executive Adviser, Cisco Systems
John DiBenedetto
Chief People Officer, General Parts International Inc.
Jac Fitz-enz
Founder and CEO, Human Capital Source
Jim Gillece
Chief People Officer, AlliedBarton Security Services
Beverly Kaye
Chief Executive Officer, Career Systems International
Michael Laming
Senior Vice President of HR, GENWORTH Financial
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September 2012
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MaryAnn Miller
Chief Human Resources Officer, Avnet Inc.
Matthew T. Peters
Vice Deputy Director for Human Capital,
Defense Intelligence Agency
Matt Schuyler
Chief Human Resources Officer, Hilton Hotels
Stephanie Taylor
Director of Talent Management, TIAA-CREF
Gail Thakarar
Senior Vice President, Human Resources, ProCure
Jeff Tritt
Executive Vice President, People and Culture,
Leo Burnett USA
Kevin D. Wilde
Vice President, Chief Learning Officer, General Mills
Bouvier Williams
Vice President, Talent Management, MTV Networks
Patti Wilmot
Executive Vice President of People First,
Domino’s Pizza
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talent management magazine
[full potential] by Marshall Goldsmith
Just a Waitress, or Mojo Queen?
One person’s idea of surviving is
another’s idea of success and vice
versa. I got a vivid lesson about
this from Frank, the president of
a two-branch savings and loan in
Jasper, Ga.
Frank was driving through Prattville, Ala., when he stopped for
dinner at a LongHorn Steakhouse.
It was packed, so Frank grabbed
the last remaining seat at the bar.
Sitting there with 20 other people, waiting for the lone
female bartender to take
his order, Frank had a
moment to observe and
listen. He focused on the
how long it would take
her to notice him and get
him something to drink.
She was in her late 30s,
he guessed, dressed in
the same cowboy shirt
and jeans outfit as every
other employee. But she
was unlike any service
provider he had ever
She didn’t waste one step, one
comment, one move along the
bar. She took his order for a
draft beer less than 30 seconds
after he settled in his seat, asking, “Are you having dinner too?”
Less than a minute later, she had
plunked the beer, a bowl of peanuts, a menu, and the silverware
in front of him — all while serving drinks and dinners to 20 other
bar patrons.
September 2012
She also handled the drink orders
for the entire restaurant, and
was responsible for making sure
every takeout order was correct
before it went out the door. She
was a non-stop bundle of energy
and an efficiency expert, and she
was smart. When she fell behind,
she knew precisely when and
talent management magazine
what to say to let patrons know
she hadn’t forgotten them. She
had the politician’s gift of making
everyone feel like the most important person in her world.
Frank was impressed. As he sliced
his filet, his first thought was if
there were a reality show for the
best bartender in America, this
woman could win. Her name was
Cothy — like Cathy, only with an
“o,” she said.
when people pass
their positive spirit
to us, we feel like
passing it back.
He told her, “You’re the most impressive bartender I’ve ever seen.
You should come work for me at
my bank in Georgia.” It wasn’t
the drink talking. Frank was halfserious; someone this amazing
could do anything.
“I’m divorced. I have an 8-yearold daughter and my mother at
home. I couldn’t just get up and
leave them. Besides, you couldn’t
afford me.”
“We pay pretty well in Georgia,”
Frank said.
She leaned over the bar and whispered, “Well, you’re going to leave
me a tip, right? Multiply your tip
by 60, then multiply that by five
days a week, 50 weeks a year,
and you’re getting close to what
I’d cost you.” Frank did the math
in his head and realized she might
be out-earning him.
On paper, her résumé didn’t seem
promising: divorced, single mom,
raising a daughter alone, living
under the same roof with her
mother and working nights at a
For many people, that would fall
somewhere between sacrificing
and surviving. But this woman
clearly loved what she was doing, and as a result did
it so well that she could
handle all her responsibilities, and then some.
She had enough spirit to
convince a stranger to
hire her on the spot. She
was, without question,
As Frank got up from
his meal, he tripled his
usual tip. It was a small
gesture, more a salute to
a great worker than excessive generosity. Frank
wanted to impress her
as she had impressed him, even
though he knew he’d never pass
through Prattville again.
Spirit is often infectious. When
people pass their positive spirit
to us, we feel like passing it back.
People who find happiness and
meaning at work tend to be the
same people who find it at home.
In other words, our spirit comes
from inside ourselves, as much as
it does from what we do.
Marshall Goldsmith is an authority
in helping successful leaders achieve
positive, lasting change in behavior. He
is the author or co-editor of 31 books,
including MOJO. He can be reached at
[email protected]
The pace of change is
accelerating. The way we
perform, compete, and grow.
People are driving
this change.
From the next economy, to the
next generation, SHRM and its
members will help you get the
most out of business by getting
the best out of your people.
Learn more at
Leading People.
Leading Organizations.
only the smart survive.
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