Blog Post

Say "So Long" to Silos: Part 3

Gayle Loving

Principal, The Pearn Group

This is the third part of our series on siloed processes in talent management. We’ve been discussing how taking a siloed approach tends to cause employee engagement to decrease, reduce quality of hires, and impact productivity at all levels of the organization. Our focus in this series of blogs is to learn how to recognize silos and get rid of them.

In the last instalment we saw how critical change management and manager accountability are in breaking down silos in talent management. Today, we are going to tackle a specific issue that arises when processes intersect but the players are not aware of the need for integration.

Integration between Recruiting, HR and the Business Leader

Kevin Landers, the Vice President of Human Resources for GCP, Co. stated "Our talent planning processes are based on industry best practices and our leadership is very engaged and supportive." Kevin is very proud of the succession processes his team has implemented to ensure a strong bench for critical roles within the company and his team has implemented a technology solution. Beautiful binders containing the profiles and resumes of all high potentials were built in advance and distributed to the Executive Talent Board prior to the Talent Review Meeting. The resulting succession organization charts and development decisions were documented in the system and in binders kept with the HR business partners.

Kudos to Kevin. He’s doing all the right things: he has strong leadership support, he’s identifying high potentials, and he is holding talent review meetings. The process is enabled by technology so that all decisions can be documented and kept for use as business requirements change. So, what’s not to love here? Let’s see.

Bill, a Regional Vice President, has a vacancy in the critical role of warehouse manager. Doris left after only four months to take a position with a competitor who offered a clear career path to a higher level position. Bill calls the recruiter assigned to his business unit, Cathy, to help fill it. Bill makes it clear that this is a critical hire and the longer this position goes unfilled the greater the potential negative impact on customers. In a panic, Cathy contacts the retained search firm she uses and after a lot of screening, interviewing, travel costs, and time, the position is filled in twelve weeks. During the next weekly HR meeting, the HR Business Partner, Dennis, asks Cathy, "There were two Ready-Now internal successors identified for the Warehouse Manager position. Why weren’t they considered?" Cathy responds, "I didn’t even think we did succession for the Warehouse Manager role."

Working Towards Alignment

The lack of integration between Recruiting, HR, and the business leader, Bill, has resulted in significant costs (search firm fees, travel, time) and possible loss of revenue. Twelve weeks is a significant amount of time for a critical position to go unfilled. How could this have been avoided? How could GCP have avoided paying a retained search firm to find a candidate that, during the last succession event, was already identified?

  • First, make sure that recruiting or Talent Acquisition is aware of the succession process and has access to the potential successors identified. In many organizations, recruitment may not even be involved in the process or even know that they are part of a much larger process called Workforce Planning. Recruiting is focused on external candidates for the most part and succession or talent planning is focused on internal bench strength. In order to achieve the objectives of the company, these two functions need to work together as one.

  • Second, we stated at the beginning of this piece that GCP has a technology solution to support succession. GCP should consider how they could appropriate access to recruiting so that they can search for good internal candidates either by looking at the succession plans or talent pools. Giving recruiting the ability to search the talent inventory for employees based on certain skills or other criteria would also ensure that GCP was leveraging their current talent first rather than spending money unnecessarily.

  • Third, Bill went directly to Cathy and bypassed his HR business partner. Had he started with Dennis, he, hopefully, could have informed him of the Ready Now candidates and potentially not engaged recruiting at all for this emergency situation. Resulting in a shorter time to fill, avoidance of fees, and keeping recruiting’s attention on the current open requisitions.

So, if we look at this from a very critical lens, the HR business partner really is the one to integrate this process. He interacts with Bill and Cathy and facilitates the succession processes for his area. So maybe Dennis should consider reviewing open requisitions for his business unit with Cathy on a regular basis or maybe Cathy should always check in with Dennis when a critical need comes up to get his input regarding who might be a good candidate.

Silos can be easily removed when we understand what the critical intersection points are between processes and find simple ways to allow information to be shared.

In our last installment, we will look at a look at an example of how silos can impact the execution of a company’s business strategy.

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