Talent management and people analytics

Simply put, the nature of talent management has changed dramatically since its inception. More intricately said, a variety of factors has led to this dramatic shift – a younger generation of employees has become a huge part of the workforce, bringing with it a revised set of attitudes and work preferences.

Group of business people in office building
With this generation, a focus on terms like “organisational justice” and “social responsibility” has emerged, which has led to even more changes, including adding those new ideals into corporate cultures. Our understanding of how to engage with employees has also grown, which has affected the way that employers manage and retain talented employees. Organisations are recognising the need to focus on culture and dramatically improve employee engagement as they face a looming crisis in engagement and retention, and as a result, many companies are replacing traditional performance management with innovative performance solutions.Companies are also struggling to develop leaders at all levels and they are investing in new and accelerated leadership models. To address these challenges, companies are actively exploring new approaches to learning and development as they confront increasing skills gaps. Overall, organizations are increasing spend on training and development, performance management, and succession planning. in addition, they are reducing spend on recruitment and focusing on refreshing two long-standing concepts, the annual performance review and on boarding.

Is the Annual Performance Review Dead?

You might be surprised to know that many high-profile companies like General Electric, AccentureMicrosoft, AdobeGap, and Medtronics have moved away from the traditional annual performance appraisal system. There has been an ongoing dialogue and debate among HR professionals about the usefulness of this model, but the debate is valid.On one hand, we know that according to research by CEB, a Best Practice & Technology insight company, managers reported spending an average of 210 hours a year on performance management activities. Seventy-seven percent of HR executives do not believe that reviews accurately reflect employee contributions. The general feeling from companies that have done away with this concept report that annual reviews can actually set up a tense, uncomfortable dynamic in which one person is more of a constant critic versus leader and mentor. They can put employees on the defensive and result in worse performance – even for star employees.On the other hand, this transition away from annual performance appraisals is sure to provoke new questions. Without an annual assessment, how can employers document employees’ progress so managers can objectively hand out promotions, pay raises, and bonuses? Professionals in favour of moving away from the traditional model emphasize frequent performance documentation. The annual review is most problematic because it forces a manager to recount an entire year’s worth of activities in a single session. Companies that are moving away from the annual performance review have adopted this new way of thinking and managing by implementing processes whereby employees receive timely feedback immediately following assignments and setting up systems that support check-in based approaches to performance management.

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Employee Onboarding

Successfully recruiting and attracting top talent involves significant time, company resources, and available, qualified candidates. As we know, talent management is a long-standing, constantly-relevant topic in the industry. But while we focus efforts on attracting and recruiting talent into the organization and/or into key positions, are our efforts wasted if the in-house onboarding and orientation process does not provide the talent with the tools needed to succeed?Almost 40% of respondents to Altair Global’s 2015 Destination U.S. Momentum Productivity Study stated that concerns over job training and onboarding have a high impact on their productivity during relocation. New employees (both new hires to the organization or to a department or position) are faced with the challenge of acclimating to a new culture and environment while coping with the demands of a new role. The goal of every organization should be to effectively integrate new talent into the existing culture and clearly define the company’s critical success factors.One solution is to ensure that an employer is maintaining sufficient communication with the new hire in the weeks between acceptance and the first day on the job. Another effective choice is to invite the new hire in as soon as they accept your offer. The time between job offer acceptance and the first day can be used to strengthen the employer-employee relationship and get a jumpstart on required HR tasks. Are there forms or documents that can legally be completed before an employee’s first day? If so, offer the new hire the opportunity to complete these ahead of the first day. If you use onboarding software, many of these tasks can be done from home and 100% electronically. Beyond paperwork, organizations can bridge the gap with creative welcoming gestures. A “welcome card” signed by future co-workers arriving via mail? An invite to a company after-work social? A short “welcome video” shot with a smart phone? Big or small, these gestures that occur before the first day can help welcome and encourage new hires.Also be wary of the new hire’s first day on the job. The last thing an organization wants is to have the new hire’s first day or first week characterized by a mishmash of ad hoc meetings and supervisor drop-ins. A way to reduce this confusion is through a written training schedule that sets expectations both for the organization and the new hire. This provides context and confidence for new hires, as they are able to see the big picture and anticipate how best to manage their free time. It also reflects well on the organization, thoughtful planning and transparency strengthens an onboarding process.Ensure these training schedules are designed with a new hire in mind, an accurate, clear, and useful schedule will guarantee there is no confusion and that the new hire is not overwhelmed in their new role. Also keep in mind that building an efficient, effective onboarding process is not enough on its own. All key players in the process must understand the role they play and the expectations that come with that role. Finally, consider leveraging onboarding efficiency to provide opportunities for training and social interaction, work and play. This approach balances the two important metrics of time-to-productivity and employee turnover rate. According to Altair Global’s 2015 Destination U.S. Momentum Productivity Study, one-third of respondents indicated that adapting to the new work environment from a social and cultural perspective had a significant impact on their work productivity.The many changes and shifting dynamics that professionals see in talent management can be overwhelming; however, it’s also an exciting time with many opportunities for innovation and creativity. The topics addressed in this report are just a few of the main trends professionals are keen to address today – but as you notice, any problem can be mitigated by understanding your employee population, empathy, and imaginative solutions that focus on creating a positive environment for employees.Mary Beth Nitz is vice president of global consulting at Altair Global.

For further information about Altair Global, email or visit www.altairglobal.com.

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