Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Leveraging social technologies for talent management

HR should adopt social technologies to reinvent itself. Only in so doing can it reinvent talent management and build it into a strategic capability

Reminder: talent management still the key strategic enabler.
As the economy accelerates and decision-making needs to be pushed at the front-line, mostly all managerial (and, increasingly, non-managerial) positions are acquiring strategic importance. At the same time, competition for talent keeps high in most marketplaces.

It is therefore not enough to have a professional and engaged HR team to succeed in attracting, developing, retaining, compensating and, most importantly, engaging the men and women that will drive success of your organization.

The key success factor is to develop a talent management culture that is as stronger (or stronger) than your financial culture. Only when all managers are as experts with HR practices as they are with financial KPIs, and when they are as engaged in driving HR strategy as they are in reaching financial targets, will you have a competitive advantage on the talent market.

This can translate as making talent management your core organizational capability. To start with, a company needs
  • a strong alignment of your HR strategic goals with your corporate strategic goals;
  • a data-based, almost scientific approach to talent management.
These are reached by being able to consider all talent management practices as an integrated corporate process, which means being able to identify actors, activities, work in progress and finished products. It is only on top of very well handled process that you can bring human value add.

Working on identifying processes, actors and activities is something the HR team should do. In my experience, it is a great learning opportunity for HR professionals, and it gives a sense of ownership over their own function.

When a clear vision about the HR processes is reached, it is important to engage management in how to improve these HR processes. This is the moment when you engage in talent management skills development in your management team. Even though you might think that most of your managers have their "own" HR expertise, it is important to recognize that success will come from consistency. Otherwise, success will come from chance or over-investment.

Leveraging the social in technologies
In the present times, it is a good idea to lead this project (engaging management on talent management practices) with a community mindset or using social technologies. It quickens the pace of the project and opens new horizons that usually bring important innovations and operational improvements.

Even more importantly, as we see social technologies ROI appearing more clearly (in social enabling processes and in accelerating good practice sharing), such a talent management initiative is also an opportunity to make HR processes more human by social enabling them. There are two dimensions to this "social enabling"

  • First dimension, bring HR team members and managers closer by implementing either a social network or purposefully built communities;
  • Second dimension, there is a huge opportunity to innovate on some key HR practices (like recognition or engagement) by professionnally adopting some popular practices in the social media field (or in the web 2.0 environment). For instance, gamification or a badging strategy are helpful to start a project on reinventing engagement and recognition.

The key point here is that these initiatives will deliver their value if they are undertaken within a comprehensive HR strategy. Otherwise, as their potential for disruption is high, the odds are high that these initiatives will be "killed" by HR management.

As I have been thinking lately, 2012 should see the return of strategy (for those teams that have understood social technologies).

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