Friday, February 4, 2011

Talent Management: Does What Get Measured Really Get Done?

I am very excited to have Sean Conrad from Halogen Software as our guest blogger today:

Cathy has done a series of great posts recently on HR metrics and analytics. I couldn’t agree more with her take on the importance of measuring and analyzing the right things – HR data that matters to the business, because these are the metrics that can be used to track against corporate objectives and to help make business decisions.

Now of course I have a pretty specific focus on talent management metrics. Over the past several years I’ve had the pleasure of working and talking to hundreds of HR professionals who are passionate about driving high performance within their companies, but who at one time or another have struggled with determining what to track. Suffice it to say that without the ability to centralize performance and talent management data in some type of system, the question is moot, because it’s nearly impossible to get meaningful insight from paper.

But for the many who have taken the step of centralizing their talent management processes and data online the task of accessing the data is much easier. But now that you know you have access to metrics, it’s important to determine which ones you and your business care about.

For example, you gather a lot of useful data during your performance management processes. Are you making strategic use of it to drive business decision-making and organizational success? Here are just some of the questions you should be able to answer using data from your process.

· What are your strongest organizational competencies? Do these support your organization's mission/vision/strategy?

· What are your weakest organizational competencies? What learning programs could you put in place to strengthen these?

· Who are your high-performing employees? Are they being rewarded appropriately? Do you need to take action to ensure they remain loyal and engaged?

· Which employees are underperforming? Do their managers have specific development plans in place to help them improve?

· Which employees are currently on a performance improvement plan? Has their performance improved as a result of the actions taken?

· If you conducted any training initiatives last year, aimed at improving specific skills, did they have the desired impact on employee performance?

· Will your organization be able to achieve its stated goals? Do employee goals for the coming year support organizational goals?

· Are managers rating employee performance fairly and consistently?

· Does every employee have goals? Does every employee have a development plan? Are they making progress on these?

· What is the profile of your high performers? How can you use that data to predict the future success of potential job candidates?

· What are your workforce planning needs? Can you forecast your employee demand 2-3 years out?

Again, collecting this data is only beneficial if you’re going to do something with it. This can sometimes require a cultural shift within your organization that may require you to change or refine existing business processes, perceptions and levels of accountability.

Getting your organization comfortable using your talent management system is an important step since you need your managers and employees to input information into the system for there to be data to report on. While an automated talent management solution that is easy to use can help, you need buy-in at the executive level to make the performance appraisal process strategic to the organization and not just to HR.

Start by determining which of the above questions are most important to your C-suite and can be tied to your strategic objectives. Then get executive buy-in into your performance management process to ensure you get the answers they are looking for.

Doing so will create a level of readiness and accountability across the organization to ensure everyone is engaged in the performance appraisal process appropriately so that you analyze performance data accurately and effectively. It’s important to note that talent management data you collect and measure must be part of your overall Human Capital Metrics so that you can determine how well employees are performing against corporate objectives. To get a complete picture on workforce performance, you need to also be measuring recruiting, learning, financial data and more.)

I am really pumped to be co-hosting an upcoming webinar with Cathy Martin that delves a lot deeper into the concept of talent management metrics and analytics. I hope you can join us on February 23!

Sean Conrad is a senior product analyst at Halogen Software, working closely with customers on a day-to-day basis. Sean is an avid writer and blogger on the topic of Talent Management. For the past 15 years Sean has focused on enabling organizations to successfully implement software solutions. An accredited Human Capital Strategist, Sean has worked with hundreds of HR professionals on defining their talent management strategy and execution.

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