A business is essentially a collection of people all working towards a central objective. It is the people in the business that generate its value in the marketplace. Your people come before what you do and how you do it. As Jim Collins says in his book “Good to Great” get the right people on the bus first and then figure out where to drive it.
CEOs understand the importance of people and want to ensure they are getting the very best performance from their employees and help empower them to create value in the company. This is not a trivial endeavour. People are complicated, businesses are complicated and when you put them together the complexity can be overwhelming. In recognition of this we have seen a significant increase in companies investing heavily in their people and tools that aid the management of talent and align it to their strategy, but are they seeing value?
As part of our research, looking at the current trends in learning and talent we interviewed and held focus groups with HR and L&D leaders seeking their insights into learning and talent strategy. Our research indicates that L&D and HR leaders are struggling with building capability that aligns with strategy and positions the organisation for sustained growth. Learning in an organisation is typically bogged down on the day-to-day operational and compliance related training which focuses on the now but not the future need. In this article we outline some of our key findings and how technology can be a key enabler for growth.
Many HR managers struggle with quantifying capability. There is a general move towards using competency frameworks for this purpose but it can introduce unnecessary complexity to the organisation. HR also have concerns about how to make the competency framework relevant for all employees and not some abstract concept just for HR.
Our research highlighted the importance in keeping the organisation’s competency framework simple and accessible to all employees. The competency framework should concentrate on three main areas: core competencies for all employees, leadership competencies targeted at line managers and functional competencies that are role specific.
Defining roles in terms of competencies allows employees to benchmark themselves against roles. Software tools can significantly enhance this process and help employees measure themselves against competencies. The competency framework ‘comes alive’ for them and inform their career progression.
Understanding the competency profile of your organisation is really just the starting point. What do you do with that information once you have it?
Competency gap analysis offers employees and employers an insight into deploying a training intervention that will make a difference. Most talent management solutions as we know them are missing this critical component. The challenge for companies is ensuring capabilities align with the ever-evolving organisational goals and strategy.
Talent management and performance management aligns closely with Learning & Development. We’re not only focusing on top performers ready to fulfill leadership positions, but on the middle-management, who can improve their skills and become part of the talent pool. By integrating learning in the middle of the talent and performance the organisation can take effective action to realign its employees with its strategy.
Beyond competency frameworks
Succession planning and talent management should not just rely on competency for selection and succession particularly for strategic positions. The role of personality, emotional intelligence, engagement and aspiration become increasingly important. HR has a central role in succession management but tends to concentrate on skills and knowledge for roles. Talent that achieve in a strategic position not only have the ability to do the job but are also highly engaged with the company and aspire to grow with the company. Again, technology can assist managers. Pulse survey tools, real-time feedback help managers assess engagement and can probe the levels of aspiration that exist in the workforce.
Organisations are seeking to empower employees to take ownership of their own career within the organisation but to do so it is important for the employee to understand what opportunities exist and how they can realise them.
By giving employees visibility into opportunities within their organisation we’re giving them the key to drive their own career progression. They can identify aspirational roles and understand what they need to do to be considered a candidate for the role. Learning plans can be aligned to this ensuring steady progress towards the employee’s goals.
Here we have outlined an overview from our HR research that is informing Enovation’s HR software product strategy. Technology can be a key catalyst for ensuring HR is at the strategic forefront of business because as we have outlined HR is in the business of people and people are business.