Monday, May 23, 2011

Beyond Talent Management - musings from SuccessConnect

I was in Amsterdam these past two days, invited by Pierre to witness the presentation of SuccessFactors. It was a pleasure to discuss with Pierre and French team, with Patchen and CubeTree team, and get some insights into the company's new developments and vision. I was impressed by the execution power the suite gives you and by the vision that was presented to me. But more than that, I could indulge into some day-dreaming about what comes next for talent-centered, innovative corporations ...

Executing from your Talent environment

First thing that caught my attention, you could start working, collaborating, executing, right from your "talent page". If I understand correctly, Cubettre and Jambok give the suite the possibility, first to connect and collaborate and then to accelerate content sharing and social learning. Of course, that's what many social collaboration software suites do ... But the starting point, here, is your own "talent" page (home page) the one that is linked to talent management processes. That makes a huge difference

Another key point to me was the very "toy-like experience" of the suite, and namely in its mobile version. 

I have been working in E2.0 projects these past few years, and quick adoption is key to reach the benefits of extended professional collaboration (innovation, labor productivity, process efficiency). As Patchen had it, if your collaboration environment is linked to your talent management suite, if the user experience is close to best practice (Apple, Facebook), you can achieve 100% adoption. Point taken. I have not seen 100% adoption so far, and sometimes threats to adoption come from HR teams focus on control. This might be an answer.

HCM suites have the potential to make talent management a strategic capability, way beyond it being a simple addition of professional practices. Adding social collaboration to this capability is a great move.

I wrote some years ago how we were moving to people-centered corporations. I also wrote that collaboration would bring talent management from execution to strategy ... That is the vision I understand Successfactors has

Strategy from the HR field ?

If I try to look into what adoption of similar HCM & social suites could bring, I would underline:
  • First, a great agility for Talent Management processes. Social collaboration has the potential to "break the process sequence" if necessary. That helps accelerating execution and saving "muda", as they say in lean manufacturing ...
  • In second place, if social collaboration is widely deployed, it will greatly help Talent Management culture deployment. This is when Talent Management can become a capability (when it is shared by at least every manager from top to front-line);
  • Then, HR professionnalisation is made easier from tools like Jambok or just from "folloving" the activities and social production of selected peers; of course, professionnalisation is not limited to the HR team;
  • Tying collaboration to people management will help its deployment, as said earlier. The key point here is that the collaboration culture can be driven from the HR perspective (behaviours, usage, values, ethics). This is a key point. Collaboration through social technologies has a great potential for improvement, and that is why it should be driven from the beginning by strong governance (and not control). You could choose tool governance, what some corporations are doing. The danger here is to end doing just that, governing tool deployment and forgetting about professional behaviours and values evolution; 
  • Finally, when you link collaboration to HR, it should be easier to identify professional behaviours that foster innovation. And that is key in the 21st century economics.
Beyond talent management

Let's dream for a moment. Imagine that corporations adopt integrated and distributed HCM suites, and that they are conveniently linked to a state-of-the-art collaboration environment (social technologies, mobility). What could we imagine for a such corporation ?
  • In the first place, and regarding talent management, you could go beyond "breaking the processes sequence". In fact, there is room to reinvent talent management practices and fundamentals by learning from new collaboration practices and behaviours. And reinventing talent management practices is key if you want your corporation to transform itself into an innovation-based corporations;
  • And that is just the beginning. Because, to take full advantage of the mass collaboration opportunity, management practices too, have to be reinvented (see what social value means). In my view, corporations need to move from managing execution to managing innovation, and that is a huge step;
I wrote some months ago, that you need depth to thrive in the new, accelerated, connected, real-time business environment. Making collaboration a key capability, and not only enabling it through tool development will make all the difference.

Maybe it's time for HR to take the lead