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Is Your Succession Plan Authentic?

Is Your Succession Plan Authentic?
Although many things about the employment contract have changed, employee commitment is still typically rewarded with development opportunities that will later lead to career mobility. For the most ambitious, the greatest reward is still an opportunity to compete for positions at the top. And finally, succession management is still the mechanism most organizations use to vet the candidates capable of claiming the top prize.
Promoting from within is a practice that can attract strong talent because it provides a clear prescription for development. To advance to a higher position, individuals know they are required to master certain skills, demonstrate personal growth and deliver the results necessary for an executive position. Succession also assures continuity of organizational culture and the strategic focus of the business.
Unfortunately, while succession plans are found in about 70 percent of all organizations, the degree to which such plans are followed in any organization is more tenuous, according to a 2014 study by Human Capital Media Advisory Group, the research arm of Talent Management.
Employees view succession management as a trustworthy process only if it results in a true meritocracy. To achieve this, the talent identification and development process has to be transparent. For high potentials, executives need to embrace, endorse and consistently act upon the succession plan. And it is incumbent upon talent managers to assure that it happens. Without authenticity, succession management fails as a mechanism to keep employees engaged over time.
What Causes Succession to be Inauthentic? 
Given the pervasiveness of succession planning, how do organizations find themselves with such a dysfunctional succession process? Typically, it occurs in three ways:

It’s on a napkin. Top executives have drawn up their plan and have a picture in their minds of the next senior executive. This can be well intentioned — “We need a proven financial expert with acquisition experience who is looking for their crowning achievement.” Or it can simply be a case of “I want someone who looks and acts like me.” Concerned about legacy, rarely are CEOs best positioned to identify their successors.

Trouble in paradise. The succession plan is real with every intention of being followed, but a top executive — one who is to be succeeded — makes a major error in judgment resulting in a significant loss for the company. Here, the perception among leadership becomes, “Our top, highly vetted and experienced person really messed up! How can we trust other senior leaders who were also formed in that mold?” All bets are off for the fallen executive’s identified successor. Regardless of circumstances, the organization starts to look for someone different.

The devil’s in the details. Again, there’s a plan in place, and high potentials are being groomed for top positions, but in this case one of the candidates falters. It could be the revelation of a personal problem, inappropriate behavior or a failure to deliver results. Regardless, the fallen candidate poisons the process. If a replacement is needed soon, it’s likely to be from outside the organization.

The least authentic succession scenario is the first, in which C-level leadership overrides the process in favor of others who were pre-ordained. Candidates who have been applying themselves to company-designed development plans can suddenly find themselves passed over.
When the successor is “on a napkin,” everyone in the organization is being duped. And it doesn’t take long for the rank-and-file employees to realize the ruse. This makes learning and leadership development initiatives much less effective, lowers morale and instills a culture of dishonesty. While the disruption caused by succession “on a napkin” can’t be easily fixed, the other two scenarios have some hope.
Succession Management That Fits
Sometimes, organizations have a culture that expects a heroic leader model, even if it is unconscious. These are hard challenges for internal candidates because they cannot be “a prophet in their own land.” Often these are academic institutions or organizations that are highly critical and perfectionistic about their expected leader. It’s sometimes inferred that bringing in the “shiny new penny” — a new executive without any internal baggage — will provide a fresh perspective to the organization and lead the changes necessary. Many organizations combine external with internal successors very successfully.
A publicly held corporation that demands constant innovation might value the disruption caused by a hired change agent. On the private side, a family owned organization might need a break from the bloodline to be fresh and competitive while a start-up might need to build new capability. The promise of an outside hire is that they bring none of the stale habits of the organization, and they bring in new capabilities.
For public giants like IBM, effectively managed internal succession can help an organization navigate turbulent times.
In 2011, Ginni Rometty was named the new CEO of IBM. Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte blogged about the appointment:
“A significant transition in the composition of the business itself as well as an opportunity to celebrate the company’s first female CEO. This transition shows an example of world-class succession management. It was predictable (IBM CEO’s leave their jobs at the age of 60) and shows the results of years of development planning. Ms. Rometty is an IBM veteran, worked her way up to managing the integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers, and most recently ran sales and marketing. Investors, customers, and IBM employees will see this as a well-planned, safe transition.”
More than four years have passed since Rometty took the helm, and it’s been anything but smooth sailing, but the board continues to support her leadership as she works to transform the business. Authentic succession planning is a critical process to helping the organization prepare for the future. Is your organization ready to invest?
Requirements for an Authentic Plan
A cultural commitment: One of the most effective ways to connect employees to the organization and its success is to build a strong organizational culture that supports long-term career development. Research tells us that career development and opportunities for advancement are primary drivers of talent recruitment, as well as engagement and retention. Cultural commitment is reinforced through the stories told about the “way things are done here” and evidenced by a track record of in-house promotions.
A defined and transparent career management process: “We’ve come to appreciate that succession planning is not a stand-alone event that occurs once a year,” said Margaret Schweer, chief operating officer and managing principal of Tammy Erickson Associates. “Decisions about succession are intimately connected to a larger, ongoing people practice called the ‘career conversation process.’ ”
Schweer said that today’s career conversation process is actually a series of ongoing conversations designed to transparently connect employee capabilities and ambitions with organizational needs. And no matter the level — individual contributor, manager or senior executive — employees need answers to the same six questions, developed by Right Management:

Who am I, and how do I fit?
What is expected of me?
What and how should I develop?
How am I doing?
How will my talents and contributions be recognized?
What’s next for me?

“The answers to these questions culminate in a shared understanding that feeds succession decisions,” Schweer said.
Clear linkage and accountability: Line management and human resources share the responsibility for assuring the basis of a meritocracy by developing personnel to their next levels. Open dialogue about employee development needs, performance and potential is a vital part of the succession process.
Ownership at the top: “One of the clearest ways that I have seen succession management crash and burn — and often the underlying factor in multiple scenarios — is when it has been relegated to HR in such a way that it does not have executive buy-in,” said Dana McDonald, director of Goodwill University at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, in Charlotte, North Carolina. “That leads to an inauthentic process that often underlies each of these scenarios.”
She advised that while talent management should manage the process, the top executives have to author it and own it for succession to be authentic.
Dialogue about employee performance and potential is vital on the management side of the process. Calibration sessions result in feedback to candidates as to their advancement or needs for development. This is where senior leadership is most accountable for an authentic succession management process.
“The annual calibration session is really the key to the process working and senior leaders being brought into the process,” McDonald said. “It brings all of the managers into the room at the same time with a list of candidates. And for each candidate, the direct manager presents that candidate and their assessment of where they fall in a nine-box grid, based upon assessments, performance data and qualitative observations.”
Overall, when creating a succession plan, organizations that value a sense of stability and continuity should consider a transparent process for top positions as vital to their brand. It has to be endorsed and owned at the top, including boards. Talent managers also play an important role in making succession authentic and effective in a way that imbues the company with trust, achievement and meritocracy.
Lily Kelly-Radford is a psychologist and partner in The Executive Development Group, LLC, a leadership development firm in Smyrna, Georgia.
Tags: plan, succession, succession planning, transparency, workThe post Is Your Succession Plan Authentic? appeared first on TALENT MANAGEMENT.
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Source: Succession Planning

Managing Change is About Managing Yourself

Managing Change is About Managing Yourself
People don’t like change; not in life and not at work. Even if things aren’t so great, we are attracted to the safety of the known, rather than the uncertainty that change brings. Psychologists call this “status quo bias,” a tendency to think of change more in terms of potential loss than in potential gain.
This is too bad. Change is constant, and we need to be able to handle it.
Not all people are change-averse, though. Some people are attracted to change and even thrive in its presence. What traits and behaviors are common to these lucky folk?
I learned a lot about attitudes toward change during my days at Coca-Cola Co., where I was involved in the buying and integration of smaller Coke bottlers. A large part of the job was to identify who among the acquired bottler’s management team would be asked to stay with the company and who would be asked to leave. Contrary to belief, we didn’t have a “hit list” prepared prior to taking over, but we could tell within days, if not hours, who would make it and who would not. Some managers greeted us eagerly, drove us around town and introduced us to customers, showcased their rank-and-file employees and expressed genuine curiosity about how we did business. They were excited about the possibilities change promised, even if uncertain of their own job status. Others hid, emotionally and sometimes literally. They were aloof, negative, pessimistic and inflexible, trying to convince us that nothing could be done to make their business better.
Guess who the survivors were?
Embracing change comes easier to some people than to others. Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychology professor and expert on change behavior, studies what she calls “mindset.” There are two types, claimed Dweck: “In a fixed mindset [people] believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount, and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset [people] understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, [learning] and persistence.”
In other words, people blessed with a growth mindset are psychologically wired for change and the possibility for personal growth it entails. Persons with a fixed mindset think more in terms of the risk of loss. But what if you aren’t wired for a growth mindset in a world of constant change?
I have no idea what the psychological state was of the people I met while at Coke — we had never heard of mindset at the time — but the ones who embraced change shared a common set of traits and behaviors. They listened, were curious, showed openness to new ideas and were collaborative with their employees and us. They were authentic, and they didn’t put on an act or pretend to be someone they weren’t.
What lessons can we learn from these examples, and what can you do when faced with change in life or at work? 

Assess your mindset. Ask yourself whether you agree or disagree with this question: “A person is born with a certain amount of intelligence, and there isn’t much he or she can do to change it.” Or this one: “Your talent in an area is something about you that you can’t change very much.” If you agree with both questions and others like them, you have a fixed mindset (according to the survey used by Dweck and other researchers in this area). If you disagree, you are of a growth mindset, and change is naturally more appealing to you. But even persons of the fixed mindset sort (as am I, honestly) can learn skills to help become more adept at change management. A few are listed below.

Play to your strengths. The evidence is overwhelming that we are at our best and our most authentic when we are using our strengths, not trying to hide or cover up weaknesses. When facing change, don’t try to change yourself; focus on your core strengths and abilities, and count on them to see you through. If you have a sense of humor, use it in change situations to defuse tension. If you are a diligent introvert, don’t try to be a back-slapper when you meet new people; just stay buttoned down and well prepared. Be yourself; don’t play a part you aren’t meant for. If you are uncertain as to your core strengths, take this free online survey.

Be mindful of others. As famed Silicon Valley consultant and change guru Elad Levinson reminds his clients, a) change is constant, and b) no one acts alone. Rely upon others when faced with change; build and honor your relationships; don’t throw old friends and allies under the bus when a new management team arrives; work harder than ever to keep your interpersonal bonds strong.

Listen with focus. Change embracers are good listeners, almost meditative in their focus on the words of others. They silence their mind when others are trying to communicate and don’t try to mind read or jump to conclusions based upon partial listening. Stop trying to finish the sentences of others, listen nonjudgmentally, and really hear what another person is saying. As top executive coach Greg Riggs said in an interview, “focused, selfless, intuitive listening is a powerful tool for enhancing our effectiveness and performance, especially in change environments. Deep listening takes practice and discipline, but the payoff is high.”

Is change easy? Of course not, regardless of your psychological makeup. But it is an unavoidable part of our modern lives. Managing yourself by working on your strengths and interpersonal skills can make navigating change easier and help ensure it brings opportunity, not loss.
Tags: change, manage, mindset, self help, youThe post Managing Change is About Managing Yourself appeared first on TALENT MANAGEMENT.
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Source: Succession Planning

How to Implement Unlimited Vacation Time

How to Implement Unlimited Vacation Time
True to their hardworking stereotype, workers in the United States have trouble taking time off — and some companies are hesitant to give them ample time to do so.
U.S. companies offer an average of 15 days off per year, the third fewest in the world behind Thailand and Malaysia, which offer 10 and 14 days off, respectively, according to a 2015 survey from online travel website operator Expedia Inc.
Being offered less time off doesn’t seem to matter to U.S. workers, who leave an average of four full days of vacation on the table each year and take just 11 of the 15 days offered to them, according to the Expedia survey, which polled 9,200 employed adults across 26 countries.
If Americans aren’t taking full advantage of the little time off given to them, it seems counterintuitive to offer them more paid time off. When employers consider the fact that this hard-working, nose-to-the-grindstone mentality often isn’t producing better results, it’s time to make a change, said Sonya Merrill, chief people officer at big data underwriting firm ZestFinance, based in Los Angeles.
“When employees don’t take time off, companies lose productivity,” Merrill said. “In my experience, when employees take personal time needed to rest and recharge, they return to the office more inspired and focused and as a result bring stronger ideas to the table.”
Merrill referenced a 2013 Project: Time Off survey of 971 employees, conducted by Oxford Economics, focusing on how paid time off is perceived and used in the U.S. It found 48 percent of managers viewed increased PTO as positively impacting employee productivity.
Unlimited paid time off policies have been popping up across companies big and small in recent years. Netflix Inc. made headlines in 2010 with its unlimited employee PTO policy, which was recently extended to all new parents in 2015. Virgin Group followed suit in 2014. Smaller firms have adopted similar unlimited vacation policies.
Given the amount of time Americans spend at work each week — a globally leading 34.4 hours, according to Gallup — unlimited PTO policies are intended to give employees the flexibility to work efficiently and better manage their lives.

‘We want them [our employees] to be able to manage their personal lives relative to their responsibilities at work.’ 
—Natalie Wadsworth, vice president of people, Sailthru

“We started offering unlimited vacation because we believed it could provide an enriched environment for our employees in terms of at-work engagement and overall balance in their lives,” said Natalie Wadsworth, vice president of people at cloud-based marketing firm Sailthru based in New York City. “We want them to be able to manage their personal lives relative to their responsibilities at work.”
It’s not as simple as deleting the time and attendance function included in HR management software and letting employees come and go as they please. Unlimited PTO policies are effective when expectations are clearly stated and results are closely monitored.
Think Culture First 
While it’s a great way to attract employees, employers have to think beyond the recruiting angle when considering offering unlimited PTO. Infusing that much flexibility into a workplace structure requires employers to build a culture of trust and accountability among its employees.
The first step is setting clear expectations. When Sailthru decided to make the shift from a standard two weeks paid vacation policy four years ago, the company began by educating employees on what it means to work in a results-only environment.
“We began by creating expectations between an employee and their manager about what results should look like,” Wadsworth said. “Define the deliverables. Define top performance. Outline expectations across lines from the individual to the manager as well as across teams. Employees need to know what we want from them before we could begin enabling flexibility in terms of working hours and time away from the office.”
ZestFinance took that process a step further by implementing an honors system that asks employees to track their progress on projects so that everyone can still be held accountable for their work.
“We expect employees to be completely unplugged while they are on vacation,” Merrill said. “That means no emails, no conference calls and no text messages. This also means that when they are working, we expect employees to be focused and remain productive. This honor system allows employees to be more autonomous while ultimately delivering quality results, meeting deadlines and exceeding expectations.”
From a legal perspective, Sailthru and ZestFinance are smart to take steps to clearly articulate the their company’s’ expectations before giving employees free reign.
“The best way for employers to protect themselves when rolling out an unlimited PTO policy is to make sure they have adequately created a culture of mutual trust and respect amongst the workforce,” said Adam Forman, a member of the labor and employment practice at the law firm Epstein Becker Green in Chicago. “Companies should also stress accountability for failure to maintain their work as well.”
Keep Some Structure
It’s important to take steps to shift corporate culture from hours spent at a desk to work produced. But changing culture is futile unless there are policies in place to regulate unlimited PTO.
Some companies, such as ZestFinance, do not keep track of the number of days off an employee takes per year. They rely solely on culture to regulate the practice.
“We don’t track on purpose,” Merrill said. “We have a culture of trust and we expect our employees to manage their workload and take time off when they need it. With everyone held accountable for their work, abuse of the policy has never been a concern.”
But employers can better ensure the success of such programs if they put some semblance of structure in place to regulate when employees are working.
“Companies must develop and promulgate a policy outlining how the unlimited PTO benefit will be implemented,” Forman said. “Factors to consider include prior approval, the amount of advanced notice required and what will happen in the event that multiple employees request the same time off.”
Creative management platform Thunder. based in San Francisco, made the decision to offer unlimited PTO partly for efficiency reasons, according to CEO Victor Wong. “Tracking and monitoring utilization was a real overhead for management and felt very inefficient,” Wong said.
But with a company of just 75 employees, Wong knew that an unlimited PTO policy would still require some structure to ensure that work was still being done.
“We require that you give your team advanced notice, with greater lengths of notice for greater amounts of vacation,” Wong said. “It is subject to approval by the manager to ensure it doesn’t conflict with other team members’ vacations or very important deadlines for the company.”
Having individual team managers track time off instead of doing it at a companywide level was a conscious decision for Wong, whose company thrives on a team’s ability to produce.
“We are very focused on teams and building trust within teams,” Wong said. “People in our company don’t want to let down their teammates by abusing the privilege.”
Sailthru adopted a similar strategy, understanding that each team’s needs differ so it is up to each individual team to collaborate in its use of unlimited PTO.
“Each particular scenario varies from team to team,” Wadsworth said. “It may no longer be the responsibility of human resources to track days off, but as a trade-off, teams need to increase their communication of objectives. They need to know where each member is at in terms of meeting their work and personal needs. That element of tracking just can’t go away.”
Watch Your Step
Despite all the best practices, unlimited PTO policies just don’t work at some organizations. This often has to do with the industry, nature of a given firm’s business or company culture. Industries that deal with unions and have a high percentage of nonexempt hourly workers, for example, are often difficult to manage with this type of time-off policy.
“I don’t see this working at a General Motors or Ford plant,” Forman said. “Some jobs require people to be present, and that makes trying to implement unlimited PTO very difficult.”
Employers who have employees represented by a labor union should keep in mind that paid time off is a mandatory term and condition of employment, Forman said. As a result, before implementing an unlimited PTO policy for represented employees, the employer must collectively bargain over the policy with the represented employee’s union.
Another legal issue to consider involves the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime regulations. Effective Dec. 1, 2016, many employees that were previously exempt from receiving overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act may now qualify for overtime, Forman said.
“This change may impact unlimited PTO policies because one of the underlying rationales of such policies — particularly for salaried employees — is that their salary remains static whether they work 40 or 60 hours a week,” Forman said. “Such a rationale will no longer be applicable for those employees who will be eligible for overtime. This means unlimited PTO will be more difficult to manage.”
Keep the Balance
While an employer can change their culture and put structures in place to regulate unlimited PTO, there is no guarantee that the program will be successful. In fact, one of the most common ways in which these programs fail is when employees don’t take any time off at all.
Small business expert Gene Marks argues that unlimited PTO is actually a way to get employees in competitive fields to work more.
“So many other companies in this busy economy are competing for a very narrow pool of good, reliable and qualified employees who have the development, programing, security and database skills required for their very specialized jobs,” Marks wrote in Inc. “It’s important for them to offer great compensation and benefits packages, but once signed, the work is tough. There is a great deal of pressure to stay ahead in the midst of intense competition.”
Because companies like Thunder do not formally track their employees’ time off, Wong said he is unable to comment on whether or not there has been an increase or decrease in the amount of time employees spend outside of the office.
“Managers can suggest to their team to take time off, especially after major winds or releases,” Wong said. “After long sprints of work, we think it’s important that people do recharge.”
Sailthru tracks engagement and culture instead of logging employees’ days off. Wadsworth did emphasize the company’s promotion of work-life balance and the positive response they’ve seen from employees as a result.
“In terms of engagement and work-life balance, we have seen huge validation from our employees,” Wadsworth said. “We measure culture and engagement on a regular basis and since launching the unlimited PTO program we have seen that employees feel valued and respected. This is a major driver of employee happiness and that’s important to us.”
In addition to promotion a sense of work-life balance, ZestFinance has put effort into rewarding employees in different ways. Employees who take more than 14 days off each year and still meet their work goals are publicly recognized and given a monetary bonus.
“We now reward based on performance and how well they’ve achieved their personal goals,” Merrill said. “This productivity-centric culture makes a difference in the way each employee views his or her workload and vacation days. We want to celebrate employees who have achieved that balance.”
Tags: benefits, perks, pto, unlimited, vacationThe post How to Implement Unlimited Vacation Time appeared first on TALENT MANAGEMENT.
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Source: Succession Planning

CME Group’s Talent Exchange Win

CME Group’s Talent Exchange Win
If only there was a way to make career development simple, effective and more of a win-win for all. CME Group may have an answer.
A global financial services company based in Chicago with 2,600 employees, CME customers trade futures and options in interest rates, equities, foreign exchange, energy, agriculture and metals. The folks at CME have also developed a “Talent Exchange.”
In a nutshell, the Talent Exchange supplies CME project owners with CME volunteers to help get work done. The mechanics are pretty simple. Project owners post their projects using a simple template on an internal portal. Employees seeking learning, job enrichment or an opportunity to meet program leaders or new colleagues pursue the opportunities that fit their needs.
Talent management veterans know the significant challenges involved in designing and implementing effective career development programs. The programs are often low on the priority list, they can be resource intensive, and supervisors are not motivated to develop and, ultimately, lose their top talent.
I spoke with Hilda Harris Piell, CME Group’s chief human resources officer, to better understand how CME established the Talent Exchange.
Piell told me that CME traditionally offered a lot of formal training, but several years ago, it decided to move toward more of a 70-20-10 approach to learning.
This approach, based on the notion that most employee learning occurs through experience, has gained considerable popularity. CME’s specific blend translates to 70 percent hands-on experience, 20 percent exposure to new ideas/people and 10 percent education.
Previously, CME had experiential development programs for succession candidates, but not for employees early in their careers.
Thus, the Talent Exchange was created in 2012 and designed as a “Help Wanted.” But would volunteers do one to 10 hours of additional work per week without additional pay?
The company designed a strong communications plan and rollout to create buzz and establish guidelines. For instance, projects must be “real work,” with clear objectives and expectations, a clear beginning and end, with regular progress reports, guidance and feedback.
HR facilitates relationships so project leaders and volunteers understand what is involved and expected. Volunteers remain fully responsible for their regular duties, and their managers must approve their participation.
Talent Exchange projects have run the gamut. Here are two examples.
Process Improvement (PI) Champions: A team was selected to train others in process improvement. PI Champions are ambassadors who elevate the importance and fundamentals of process streamlining and optimization.
Select Companies for Investment: In 2014, CME launched an internal CME Ventures fund to invest in companies that will shape the future. A Talent Exchange team of 10 researched a pipeline of possible companies, and identified one, Nervana Systems, as most promising. The next quarter another Talent Exchange project team reached the same conclusion. CME Ventures invested.
So far, Talent Exchange has been a hit. Here are the statistics:

63 projects have been approved (on average 4 to 5 per quarter).
400 employees have been placed on project teams; 750 have applied.
In excess of 30,000 page views of projects.

Piell said managers have been uniformly supportive. Currently, demand is outstripping the number of projects, so CME is strongly encouraging managers to post more opportunities. In addition, CME has experienced a spike of roughly 25 percent in internal recruits that can fill job openings. Down the road, Piell anticipates that participation in the Talent Exchange will be mandatory for high potentials.
So what are the keys to Talent Exchange success? Piell points to HR’s role as a central facilitator, and a consistent, repeatable process with a strong framework for project owners and employees.
Other essentials are high-quality projects, selection of applicants who are a good fit and project facilitation to ensure all stakeholders understand commitments. Sounds like a lot of work for HR, but Piell said her staff spends less than five hours per week on work related to Talent Exchange.
Tags: CME Group, development, employee, L&D, learning and development, talent exchangeThe post CME Group’s Talent Exchange Win appeared first on TALENT MANAGEMENT.
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Source: Succession Planning

The Week That Was: July 25-29, 2016

The Week That Was: July 25-29, 2016
Don’t flip the switch to August before reading these top five stories from for the week of July 25.

Coaching to Mesh Planners and Doers: A coach bridges the gap between the visionary planner and shortsighted doer in us.
The Rise of the ‘Superposes’: The influence of a boss can reach beyond simply managing people, says Dartmouth professor Sydney Finkelstein.
Communication Falls Short in Hiring Process: Many companies are improving their candidate experience. However, contacting displaced candidates remains a problem area.
The Pros and Cons of a Four-Day Workweek: Some evidence suggests workers are more focused and productive when given the prospect of an extra day off. Does this mean the four-day workweek is a realistic practice?
Making Talent Dreams Come True at Disney: Disney’s once-decentralized talent management structure made it difficult to streamline and unify toward its goal of continued expansion. Not anymore.

In Other News …

General Electric has become the latest company to drop employee ratings from its performance review process, a big step for a firm that standardized the method of stack ranking under former CEO Jack Welch, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Also, a U.S. college is requiring every physics and math class to teach diversity, reports Quartz.

Finally, here are 30 high-paying jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, from Business Insider.

Tags: communication, compensation, disney, diversity, General Electric, Jobs, Stack Ranking, SuperbossThe post The Week That Was: July 25-29, 2016 appeared first on TALENT MANAGEMENT.
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Source: Succession Planning

Know Your Generations of Recruiting Software, Part 3

Know Your Generations of Recruiting Software, Part 3
If you hung out in the recruiting industry long enough, you know that colleagues were caught off guard when the economy recovered from the most recent major economic downturn.
Rebounding, many organizations moved back to a growth strategy — and quickly. With this came the need to prime the pump for new talent, expanding job types and prepping for global growth. During the recession, when recruiting was primarily replacement-based hires, the need for mining, marketing, social, engagement and assessment capabilities were nice-to-haves. In a recovery mode, they become must-haves almost immediately. With the products embracing HRIS or talent management solutions came the need for additional applications to fully enable recruiting. This caused the new point solution race and led to the first maturity of the millennial solutions.
Millennial solutions focus on specific problems, doing a few things well and not a lot of things average. These solutions created new categories for recruiting technology, faster than any other generation. This includes point solutions for dozens of categories: data mining, candidate relationship management, talent communities/networks, social distribution/marketing, assessments, video interviewing, scheduling, event management, recruitment marketing, predictive analytics, onboarding, mobile platform, and the list goes on.
These solutions are transforming the recruiting technology landscape at warp speed. Many are true software-as-a-service solutions, which offer free or highly discounted trials, solve for an issue in a way that improves the experience for everyone involved, and typically have a more open mind to integrations, partnerships and sharing customer models. Millennial solutions compete in category but remain true to their calling and discipline with a young and agile infrastructure and footprint.
For organizations interested only in vendors that have a Dun & Bradstreet five-star rating, and a financial footprint that can be traced back five years, these providers will never pass the initial assessment. Millennial solutions are, in many cases, building code on the fly and running with it, fixing things along the way. This is the technology model of the 21st century. Consider smartphones, which have apps for pretty much everything you want to do. Don’t like the flashlight that came with your phone? Download 2,000 other options with the click of a button. Don’t like the way your career site looks? Change it in five minutes with drag and drop images, text and modules. Both decisions and design options often rest in the hands of the user.
But what happened to the core recruiting applications? Those forever known as applicant tracking systems? Well, for those not using an HRIS recruiting application, a talent management recruiting application or a recruitment process outsourcing solution, then the other option was iCIMS, which was, for a brief time, one of the only standalone ATS solutions. That time was brief. As the number of point solutions increased, the need for new core recruiting solutions remained important; however, these solutions were in desperate need of leveraging the newly coded options. It’s also worth noting that recruiting apps were not the only products making a big swing on new code. This is when Workday Inc. entered the market as an alternative to Oracle/PeopleSoft and SAP, making people pay attention to what was possible again. With this shift from relational data structure to an object-oriented structured model, the possibilities became exponential.
Recruiting technology was no different. The bulky, restrictive, dictatorship-type solutions were no longer able to meet increased business needs, and where control and compliance were forefront, agility became the new norm. Taking note, the millennial solutions were adopted by companies in a strong position to hear these new needs and respond quickly. Companies like Avature, Jobvite, iCIMS and SilkRoad were a few that embraced the call and expanded their solutions to include ATS as well as full customer relationship management solutions. The flexibility of these products, readiness for responsive design, plus implementation models averaging one-quarter of the time as other products, not to mention competitive pricing, started to see organizations pulling away from the HRIS solution, and in some cases, the talent management solution in favor of the core recruiting applications.
This trend continues today. And while in the middle of a workforce and technology landscape with five active generations, this millennial generation remains the strongest. However, there is one generation left to describe that is maturing through adolescence right now with another poised to come up after it. Let’s get ready to meet Generation Z.
Tags: candidate, cms, employee, experience, interview, recruiter, recruiting, saas, softwareThe post Know Your Generations of Recruiting Software, Part 3 appeared first on TALENT MANAGEMENT.
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Source: Succession Planning

Make the Interview Last

Make the Interview Last
As part of the field research for our book “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go,” we asked employees throughout North America about the last great career conversation they had with their manager. The responses became increasingly predictable, falling somewhere between “never” and “so long ago I don’t remember.”
That is until we met research subject No.164. After furrowing his brow for a moment, it appeared that his would be a similarly disappointing response. But then, his demeanor took a 180-degree turn and he animatedly shared:
“It was such a great conversation. My boss couldn’t have been more interested in me, what I like and what I wanted to do. He was asking — and really seemed to want to hear — about my talents and strengths. And we spent quite a bit of time talking about how I could contribute to the team. It was so energizing and inspiring.”
Finally, we’d stumbled upon an employee with a manager who had cracked the code around career development, and we inquired about how recently this conversation had happened.
“About eight years ago during my employment interview,” he said. And then, he posed an important and haunting question for leaders everywhere: “Why can’t managers make the interview last?”
At the risk of diluting this young man’s powerful words and pointing out the obvious, too frequently the interest talent leaders demonstrate when determining if candidates should be extended an employment offer immediately runs dry when they join the team.
With that in mind, how can leaders be so fascinated and captivated by someone one minute and then become seemingly ambivalent about what makes them tick once they become part of the team?
Research consistently suggests that employees across all five generations that make up today’s workforce want their bosses to get to know them. And yet, the human connection that’s established during employment interviews frequently gives way to administrative and task-oriented exchanges as everyone dives in to get the job done.
As a result, items like “information sharing,” “feedback” and “career conversations” consistently fall to bottom of engagement and climate surveys in most organizations.
Tell Me About a Time
The interview is a powerful metaphor and helpful framework for considering how to incorporate more meaningful conversation into the workflow.
Maybe it would serve talent leaders well to dust off and retool the standard behavioral approach to interviewing — because it has tremendous application for ongoing and routine connections with employees.
Think about the best interviews you’ve conducted or been on the receiving end of. They likely included a lot of probes that started with “Tell me about a time when…” followed by a specific competency, challenge or task and additional questions about the steps taken and results realized.
Why is this formula reserved for interviewing? It’s an appropriate framework for any number of workplace conversations. And it incorporates an element of storytelling, a capability that is gaining attention in many circles.
While we typically think of stories as being shared from leaders to followers, it also works in reverse. Because storytelling improves one’s ability to communicate, influence and manage change, it’s a skill that’s appropriate for individuals at all levels of the organization to develop. Incorporating more dialogue and conversation into the workplace and the workflow is easier than most managers realize. Keeping the interview going is as simple as asking a question.
Questions are powerful because they:

Keep the focus squarely on employee — where it belongs.
Demonstrate respect, value and genuine interest in the other person.
Shift ownership, putting responsibility for answering the questions on the employee.
Provoke deep reflection, insights, constructive discomfort, ideas and actions.

Asking questions informally as part of talent leaders’ ongoing “interview” builds self-awareness and understanding in others. This is increasingly becoming an important core competency for many organizations.
But many leaders feel compelled to bring both the questions and the answers to the conversation. This is not necessary — nor is it helpful. Just like in an employment interview, the manager owns the questions and the candidate (in this case the employee) needs to own the answers. Failing to understand this dynamic does no one any favors and compromises the quality of the conversation.
‘Interviewing’ as a Vehicle for Getting Real Work Done
Cultivating engaging, ongoing conversations need not become “extra” work or additional to-dos on an already overflowing list of priorities. This interview-based approach to dialogue lends itself to a great deal of the “real work” of managers. Consider retooling these standard leadership responsibilities and making them part of leaders’ never-ending interview.
Performance reviews: Ratings and rankings are disappearing, and managers are now expected to swap the one-and-done annual appraisal conversation for frequent check-ins. What better excuse to conduct a performance interview? Imagine the effect on communication, learning and engagement when a manager trades that mind-numbing form review for something like, “Tell me about the results you’re most proud of over the last month.”
Individual development planning: Similarly, organizations want to move toward replacing the current emphasis on annual forms with a process that drives a more substantive conversation. Savvy leaders can turn career and development planning into an interview as well with something like, “Describe the kind of work you’d like to be doing and the contributions you’d like to make. What kinds of experience will you need to cultivate to be prepared to do that?”
Setting goals and expectations: Employees consistently report they have talents and strengths that are underutilized by their employers. And the research of psychologist Michelle McQuaid and others suggests that labeling and talking about strengths enhances engagement. So why not infuse delegating and goal setting with strength-based inquiry? It could all start with something like, “I’d love to hear about the strengths and talents you can bring to this quarter’s goals.”
Implementing changes: Anyone who’s ever had to manage change knows the value of asking vs. telling. Engaging others in an interview can surface critical information, but it also helps others figure out how they can plug in and contribute to the effort. It’s as simple as something like, “How is this change similar to others you’ve successfully navigated, and what are you best suited to do to help make this happen?”
Why can’t the conversations captured in an initial employment interview last? Why can’t we continue to deepen our understanding of employees and help them deepen their own self-awareness? Why can’t we engage in ongoing inquiry as a fundamental methodology for all that we do as leaders?
The answer is: we can. When we choose to make work a never-ending interview, we just might see never-ending commitment, never-ending retention — and never-ending results.
Tags: candidate experience, career, conversation, employment, interview, recruiting, workThe post Make the Interview Last appeared first on TALENT MANAGEMENT.
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Source: Succession Planning

Communication Falls Short in Hiring Process

Communication Falls Short in Hiring Process
As hiring continues to become more competitive and candidates are more informed, today’s employers must deliver an effective candidate experience. And while many companies have made great strides over the years in improving their candidate experience, some firms continue to fall short of candidates’ expectations, hurting their employer brand in the process.
Since 2010, nonprofit research firm Talent Board has sought to determine how companies can improve their candidate experience (Editor’s note: The author works at the firm). Through its annual Candidate Experience Awards and Benchmark Program, the organization surveys hundreds of thousands of job seekers aiming to learn the processes that candidates find most frustrating and least productive — and what they would like to see from the companies with whom they interview. The organization’s latest report, released in February 2016, highlights the key trends in candidate experience.
Talent Attraction, Sourcing
The candidate experience begins long before an individual even applies to a job. During the attraction stage, companies use many methods to engage with both active and passive candidates.
Still, most candidates aren’t complete strangers to the companies to which they apply — most already have a degree of connection to those employers. In 2015, 55 percent of candidates had a past relationship with an employer, according to the report, a slight increase from 53 percent in 2014.
When it comes to attracting those individuals and encouraging them to apply, Talent Board research suggests candidates want a clear understanding of the company, its culture, the employee experience and the job itself. About 76 percent of candidates reported conducting their own research to uncover information about a company prior to applying.
What channels are candidates using? The career site continues to be the first stop, followed by job notifications, LinkedIn Career Pages, online groups and employer reviews (Figure 1).
Application Process
Employers today can receive more than 200 applicants for each position, and between 50 and 75 percent of these applicants aren’t qualified for the jobs to which they applied.
How can employers deliver a positive candidate experience as they sort through heaps of applications to find the best candidates? It all comes down to technology. In both 2014 and 2015, the majority of employers used an applicant tracking system, followed by assessment systems and candidate relationship management, or CRM, systems to facilitate the process, according to Talent Board research.
For 2016, about one-third of all employers are considering the implementation of a CRM, an employee referral system, a mobile-enabled system and a predictive analytics system, up slightly from 2014 (Figure 2).
Screening and Dispositioning
With such an influx of candidates for each position, screening is an essential part of the overall recruitment strategy.
In 2015, 90 percent of organizations used screening questions to determine which of their candidates warranted further evaluation, Talent Board research shows. Yet 88 percent allow more applicants to complete the application even after they fail screening questions — compared with 81 percent in 2014 — as a way to source ahead of need and build a pipeline of talent.
When it comes to dispositioning candidates who aren’t selected, many employers have unfortunately regressed since Talent Board first starting collecting data. Companies are offering less personalization, communication and accountability.
The percentage of employers acknowledging applications with a “thank you” note has declined to 85 percent from 90 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, the number of recruiters required to provide feedback to candidates by phone fell to 11 percent from 18 percent, and the number required to respond at all fell to 40 percent from 49 percent.
Interviewing and Selection
Many recruiters and hiring managers don’t receive sufficient training on how to conduct a good interview. Candidates want to be prepared ahead of time, answer relevant questions and receive feedback following the interview. However, 38 percent of candidates said they only received the name of the interviewer and background information, according to Talent Board research. Another 41 percent received no communication at all prior to their interview.
Although 45 percent of candidates agree that most questions they were asked were relevant to the job, the opportunity for feedback provides another potential problem area for firms, as 23 percent of candidates said they did not receive additional information and 73 percent reported that they were never asked to provide feedback on the interview process.
After an organization selects a top candidate, the process of making an offer and onboarding are just as important to the candidate experience. Candidates want responsiveness during the offer management stage. Fortunately, 53 percent of candidates reported that less than one week elapsed between the last interview and an offer (Figure 3).
Employers are also making great strides in regard to their onboarding practices. More companies are enabling new hires to complete forms online — 63 percent in 2015 compared with 60 percent in 2014 — and more companies are offering new hires a welcome basket on their first day.
But the need for communications extends to the onboarding stage as well; in 2015, more individuals were asked to provide feedback prior to their start date (16 percent in 2015 vs. 12 percent in 2014), according to Talent Board research.
Tags: candidate, candidate experience, communication, experience, hiring, interview, recruitingThe post Communication Falls Short in Hiring Process appeared first on TALENT MANAGEMENT.
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Source: Succession Planning

The Week That Was: July 18-22

The Week That Was: July 18-22
A low sun casts dramatic shadows on three pink stone steps.Don’t let the dog days of summer stop you from reading the top five stories from the week of July 18.

The Pros and Cons of a Four-Day Workweek: Some evidence suggests workers are more focused and productive when given the prospect of an extra day off. Does this mean the four-day workweek is a realistic practice?

The Rise of the ‘Superbosses’: The influence of a boss can reach beyond simply managing people, says Dartmouth professor Sydney Finkelstein.

Making Talent Dreams Come True at Disney: Disney’s once-decentralized talent management structure made it difficult to streamline and unify toward its goal of continued expansion. Not anymore.

Benchmarking Uses and Abuses: Benchmarks can be very useful, or terribly misleading, depending on whether they’re understood and appropriately applied.

Candidate Experience Tech Is Ticking Them Off: Automated recruiting tools could be slowly destroying your brand, experts say.

In Other News …

CEOs whose management style runs counter to their company’s culture are better for the firm’s bottom line, reports The Wall Street Journal (Paywall).

Also, 10 habits to help you learn twice as fast, via Entrepreneur.

Finally, 19 signs someone at work is about to quit, from Business Insider.

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Source: Succession Planning

Use Simulations to Develop Millennial Leaders

Use Simulations to Develop Millennial Leaders
Architects team discussion on blueprints in office 
Many of the baby boomers are getting ready to ride their motorcycles into the sunset while millennials are using the Uber app to get a ride into work. The knowledge gap between the two groups is causing leaders great concern because the next generation of millennial leaders don’t have the experience to effectively lead. There is a senior management chasm developing, and there aren’t enough Generation Xers to help fill the gap.
According to a Forbes article, “5 Reasons Why Millennials Are Passed Over As Managers,” published in September 2013, a survey of 1,200 business professionals reported that 59 percent believe millennials are not ready to become managers because of lack of experience. Only 45 percent of those surveyed believed millennials were team players, and 36 percent believed them to be difficult to work with. That survey is a few years old, but perceptions haven’t changed much.
In reality, millennials are smart, energetic and extremely eager to take over the reins. But their appetites are often larger than their capabilities. This doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Instead, learning leaders should build their knowledge and accelerate their real-world capabilities by putting participants in the executive’s shoes for a given period of time.
Historically, giving young managers experiences above their position introduced significant organizational risk. Further, this development strategy can be challenging to implement. But there is a way to accelerate millennials’ skills, experience and capabilities by exposing them to real-world business challenges and situations without risk and in a shortened time frame. Technology can help. Specifically, the use of computer simulations can give learners a chance to live like a leader; it’s similar to putting student pilots into a flight simulator.
Simulations are ideally suited for millennial leadership development tools because traditional development tools such as action learning, learning exchange and employee rotations, while good, can be slow to produce results. Companies need to give millennials hands-on experience in real-world business challenges to produce executive-level business acumen, seamless collaboration skills, and a deep understanding of what it means to be an effective leader.
These kinds of simulations can be very diverse. Most often they are delivered via web-based or desktop application. Though the trend has been moving away from internet or cloud-based solutions due to the security threat they offer hackers.
In most cases, participants break into teams and compete against each other in friendly, business war game-style exercises. Simulations often run over the course of a single day, and many times up to 25 employees may compete against each other in an effort to run a business, lead employees, and solve tough business challenges. The competition is an important aspect.
These tools are ideal to accelerate management growth in millennials. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 14th Annual Global CEO Survey stated that “one of the defining characteristics of the millennial generation is their affinity with the digital world. They have grown up with broadband, smartphones, laptops and social media being the norm and expect instant access to information. This is the first generation to enter the workplace with a better grasp of a key business tool than more senior workers.”
Simulations are also excellent development tools for millennials because learning professionals can team them up with outgoing managers. The structure looks like this: If each team has five participants, combine two leaders with three emerging leaders. This creates an opportunity for both emerging and current leaders to interact. By working together, these teams can organically share deep knowledge that is traditionally hard to transfer, while having an engaging time solving business and leadership challenges and reducing the organizational brain drain that many corporate executives fear.
Getting started using business simulations for leadership development is not hard. To avoid development potholes, maintain control and save money: Keep the leadership simulation small and focused, ensure the simulation aligns closely with leadership program goals, and do in-person leadership development as companion learning.
A final bonus to using simulations is that business simulations help create training that is strategically applicable and closely aligned with strategic corporate goals. Strategic learning at this level provides all participants with an opportunity to walk a mile in a senior leaders’ shoes. By doing this, managers understand the enterprise as a whole as opposed to one business silo.
This type of training is hands on, engaging, applicable, strategic and puts millennials shoulder to shoulder with retiring baby boomers. Firing up the spirit of competition in both generations can produce organizational value that is virtually priceless.
William Hall is vice president of learning and development at Simulation Studios, a boutique corporate training firm. To comment email This article originally appeared in Talent Management‘s sister publication, Chief Learning Officer. 
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Source: Succession Planning