In this final part of the series, our focus is on how talent silos impact the successful execution of business strategy and ultimately, business outcomes. The highest level of maturity in Talent Management requires talent processes and the HR organization to be fully integrated with business, not only facilitating the execution of the business strategy, but driving it.
Does This Sound Familiar? A Recruiting Fire Drill
Let’s take a look at another fictitious company, TECH, a global technology company whose focus for the last year has been developing new products to replace other products entering the last stage of their lifecycle. TECH’s customers are very sophisticated with deep technical expertise. Therefore developing products requires that, upon release, customer support professionals have significant technical expertise on the product specs in order to provide the support customers expect.
TECH’s manager of customer service, Barbara, gets pulled into a meeting and is told that she has to have support ready for a new product in four weeks. This product, called XC45 has been in development and testing for over a year. "No one could tell me three months ago that I needed to hire an extra 10 people!?"
Now Barbara has to pull her most senior people off their current work and train them in record time. "I cannot backfill their positions and have the new personnel ready in two weeks."
Barbara goes to her recruiter, Jason, who tells her that they may be able to get some temps to help. Jason thinks to himself, "If I would have known about this – I could have built a pipeline of external candidates and we could have brought them on in time to have them trained. I could have even built a talent pool of internal candidates that could have been developed to be ready. Now we are going to pay a premium for support resources and potentially impact our existing customers."
Silos Lead to Poor Resource Planning
Okay, so TECH may have to pay for external support resources. What else might result from this lack of resource planning? When a customer purchases the new product and has a question or an issue, or if customer support cannot provide the level of technical support customers require, the success of the product may be impacted. Word will go out within the tech industry that there are issues and maybe some customers will go to a competitor. In this particular industry, bad press can impact the company’s image for years to come.
This silo is a fairly common one that has significant consequences beyond increased costs. Often, business units do not think about how staffing and planning for headcount (or lack thereof) will affect the successful execution of strategic plans. Without the resources to execute, the plan stops short. HR needs to be at the table to understand the business plans and help leaders understand the lead time for having resources ready to hit the ground running.
Seeing the Interconnectivity
Many of you are thinking: "Removing the silos from these business scenarios is way above my pay grade." Well – yes and no. One way individuals can overcome their tendencies toward silos it to use systems thinking. I think the best definition comes from Virginia Anderson and Lauren Johnson in their book Systems Thinking Basics, "a school of thought that focuses on recognizing the interconnections between the parts of a system and synthesizing them into a unified view of the whole." Some key points include:
- You do not "own" your area. Be open-minded about input from others regardless of your title or expertise.
- It just MIGHT be your job. Don’t be a slave to your job description. You actions and decisions impact others and ultimately you share accountability for performance of the organization.
- Knowledge TRANSFER is power. You might actually achieve the influence and status you want by becoming a source of useful information. Help others become better and you will be better. Keep others regularly informed and frequently share your ideas.
Moving Theory into Practice
If you are in a position to tackle broader issues within your organization here are some tips for helping break down silos:
- Enable and encourage broader and more diverse input into the decision-making process. Innovation comes from unexpected parts of the organization and through the cross-pollination of ideas from different areas (read, The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation by Frans Johansson.)
- Effectively implementing the first tip can result in meeting hell in some cases. Too much input and/or the ineffective management of the meetings can make them an incredible time drain. Use effective meeting management techniques (agendas, facilitators, etc.) to avoid the possible negative repercussions that can result from expanding meeting participants.
Silos are formed when we get caught up in the day-to-day work of our area and our perspective narrows to just what is in front of us. By stepping back and looking across the system or organization, our perspective changes drastically.
If your organization does not have clear strategic goals – then get some (that is a whole other subject.)
If your organization has them, you already have the one tool that can break down silos. With clear strategy, silos have a common language around which to collaborate and collaboration IS the remedy.
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Empowering Employees by Learning & Development at Amplifon
Learning and development strategies must continue to evolve in the ever-changing world of work. Training and development provide employees with a softer landing into change, and the introduction of digital learning and development platforms allowed employees a smoother transition into a new style of work. Amplifon created a learning and development strategy that is hyper-personalised and skills-focused, allowing their people and their entire organisations to become more agile and adaptable. Amplifon invested not only in learning and development content but also in strengthening the global network and collaboration across geographies and functions, to encourage an equal sense of belonging across the entire organisation. Amplifon created a learning and development strategy that is hyper-personalised and skills-focused, allowing their people and their entire organisations to become more agile and adaptable. Amplifon invested not only in learning and development content but also in strengthening the global network and collaboration across geographies and functions, to encourage an equal sense of belonging across the entire organisation.
Howdens shares how they grew learning by over 500% in one year
Charlene Jackson, HR & Payroll Systems Lead, shares how Howdens moved from traditional classroom based training, to grow learning by over 500% in just one year through the introduction of a simple, modern user experience, accessible from any device.
4 tips to managing diversity and gender equality in your company
If you want to generate success in your company and work in a harmonious environment, then you need to consider each and every one of your employees, get to know their interests, and offer them the best treatment and commitment. However, one of the most important principles that should be commonplace in every organisation is the equal treatment of employees (regardless of gender, race or religion). Gender, for example, should not be a factor that influences how we treat our workforce. Having a gender equality policy shows employees that they are valued and that the company is serious about ending discrimination. Having a fair remuneration policy that is not distinguished by the employee’s gender, but by their job position and their development within the company is an important step towards gender quality too. Opt for a gender-diverse workforce Having more gender diversity in a company is very positive and not just for the company’s own benefit. In fact, the UK could boost its GDP by 9% if the female employment rates matched with Sweden’s for instance. The challenge for HR departments is to successfully and strategically find and enrol more women in their business. It could solve a real problem, breaking barriers of gender discrimination in the workplace and promoting equality within the company. Equality between your workers is essential It is important to not only review the salaries of your employees, but also other professional aspects such as career plans and promotions, ensuring that there are equal opportunities for both men and women. Equality will undoubtedly be a motivational element for employees, regardless of their gender, as having clear objectives is a contributing factor in maintaining employees’ interest levels Strike a balance between work life and family life Fostering harmony between work and family life is key to attracting and retaining talent. It can contribute to the company culture, and to a positive attitude and collaboration amongst employees. Another important point is not to make sweeping generalisations about different genders, and instead to consider the specifics on a case by case basis. Employees need to see that their family life is considered and respected. They will appreciate this and it will likely improve company loyalty in the long run. HR must ensure gender equality in their company HR’s role is essential in managing and promoting gender diversity within the business. They must ensure that the motivation and commitment of their employees is strengthened, which, in turn, strengthens the workforce overall and benefits the entire company.