Blog Post

Say "So Long" to Silos: Part 1

Gayle Loving

Principal, The Pearn Group

I am not going to waste your time telling you that silos and siloed processes in Talent Management are bad. We all know that they cause employee engagement to decrease, reduce quality of hires, and impact productivity at all levels of the organization. No one is really going to argue with that at this point. The focus here is on how to recognize silos and get rid of them!

Now I am not suggesting that we can (or should) remove the structured silos such as departments, divisions, etc. because that would also be a waste of time. You see, as people, we like to organize things with labels and then group them together based on whatever criterion we believe or assume is most effective. I am convinced that even if we completely blow-up our current organizational structures, some form of structure with silos will still be built.

Even our metrics and targets are also for the most part, siloed. For example, who do we hold accountable when sales are down? Sales. Who do we call on the carpet when customer satisfaction scores are low? Customer Service. Are these assumptions correct? Are these symptoms of a more systemic issue? Yes. In the case of lower than expected sales, other areas of the business can impact sales such as product management, supply chain operations, quality assurance. You get the picture.

Who’s to Blame?

I think we can say with certainty that these types of siloed assumptions are at play with regard to talent management issues. Recruiting costs are higher than expected. Production is lower because of lack of skilled workers. Turnover is high among high potentials. Who do we blame? Talent Acquisition or Organizational Development? Well, yes, if the processes supporting talent management are still owned by HR alone and managed without oversight focused on integration.

Change the Assumptions

Getting rid of silos in Talent Management is about changing the assumptions about how talent issues are viewed within an organization. It is creating an understanding among leadership that the inputs and outputs of performance management directly impact talent planning and the development of future leaders. That our talent inventory helps us plan to hire or build the new skills needed to support the business strategy. That means our competencies must be business-driven so that we leverage behavioral interviewing to acquire the best talent with a high possibility to be successful in our organization.

In summary, implementing Integrated Talent Management is the right answer.

The Proven Business Impact of ITM

Integrated Talent Management (ITM) is real and it produces real results. According to Bersin by Deloitte, organizations with integrated talent management functions have some real advantages over companies still viewing their talent from atop their functional silos:

  • 26% higher revenue per employee

  • 40% lower turnover among high performers

  • 17% lower overall voluntary turnover

  • 87% greater ability to "hire the best people"

  • 92% greater ability to "respond to changing economic conditions

The first step to breaking down silos in Talent Management is to recognize them. In this series we will look at three different talent scenarios and discuss how to break down the silos to better leverage your existing talent management processes.

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