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It is better
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Talent 10

(October 21, 2002) -  In late September, we had the privilege of delivering the kick-off briefing at the "Talent 10" conference. It was an interesting event, hosted by Hire.com but treated as a "non-corporate" event. In other words, it wasn't the standard bait and switch, time share sales style high pressure marketing moment. Rather, Hire.com invested solid time and money in our research and presentation and high-class facilities in order to sponsor a conversation amongst peers.

The talent pool was rich with HR heads from Boeing, Electronic Arts, WMI, Prudential, Roche Diagnostics, TMP, Parametric Technologies, Exult, Hire.com and interbiznet gathered in a room with the ex-CEO of IBM's Tivoli. The conversation was strong and punctuated with presentations from a number of the members. Between Exult, TMP and Hire.com, fairly different vendor views of HR were represented while the HR leadership came from a broad range of industries. 

The subject was something like "In light of the looming labor shortage, How does HR need to change in order to play its required strategic role?"

Culture is, essentially, the end result of a number of conversations within an organization or industry. Each of the leaders had a strong experiential basis in cultural change within their organizations and in former positions. They understood as a group that HR has a culture that transcends organizations and one that exists within organizations. Both are in need of rearrangement. The group agreed that this was a good time and place to start the conversation that changes the culture of HR.

We recently talked with an interesting organizational transformation consultant who said, "HR is in a box. Do they want to be right about being powerless victims or do they want to get over it and fix it." That was, more or less the subtext of the meeting.

The result was a loose proposal for three steps companies should take to prepare for the coming shortages.

  1. Educate company management: HR leaders need to educate executive management teams of the coming labor crisis, show them the short- and long-term implications it will have on their companies and secure agreement that preemptive action must be taken.

  2. Align the people and the business strategies: Management teams and HR need to collaborate to align company workforce plans (which take into account statistics from the coming labor crunch) with defined business goals today and 5 to 10 years out. On an ongoing basis, HR should report on the state of human capital, similar to the way companies report on investment capital, to show management teams if their businesses have sufficient talent to meet stated revenue and share-price growth objective.

  3. Leverage technology to prepare: Businesses should leverage technology to implement, manage and automate their strategic workforce plans, including everything from recruiting and hiring to retaining the high quality people in the organization.

To accomplish these goals, attendees also agreed that it was important for the HR industry to standardize on a common language and set of metrics in order to communicate the true business value of human capital to executive management teams.

No problem of this magnitude solves overnight or in a single meeting. Hire.com is planning to perpetuate the dialog with a series of meetings around the country this fall. The next Talent 10 conference is slated for next spring. You might check with Hank Stringer if you are interested. 

-John Sumser



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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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