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Transforming Talent Decisions With Ethical AI

Sponsored by Reejig

Countless HR tools, applications, and platforms now rely on artificial intelligence in some form. Users may not even notice that AI is operating in the background — but it can fundamentally change the way we work, think, and make talent decisions.

This raises several big questions. What should we really expect from AI? And is this kind of innovation moving us in the right direction?

For example, what role should AI play in skills-related talent acquisition and workforce mobility practices? With stellar talent in short supply these days, this topic has never been more important for employers to consider. So join me as I look closer at key issues surrounding ethical AI in HR tech on this #WorkTrends podcast episode.

Meet Our Guest:  Jonathan Reyes

Today, I’m excited to talk with Jonathan Reyes, a talent advisor and futurist who has been helping technology and banking industry companies navigate hypergrowth for nearly two decades. Now, as VP of North America for Reejig, he’s on a mission to build a world with zero wasted human potential.

Defining “Zero Waste” in Humans

Jonathan, I love the phrase “zero wasted potential.” What exactly does Reejig mean by this?

We envision a world where every person has access to meaningful work — no matter their background or circumstance. In this world, employers can tap into the right skills for the right roles, whenever needed. And at the same time, society can reap the benefits of access to diverse ideas through fair and equitable work opportunity.

The concept of sustainability is emerging in every industry. Now, sustainable human capital is becoming part of that conversation, and this is our way of expressing it.

So, with zero wasted potential, decisions aren’t based on a zero-sum game. When employers make human capital choices, individuals or society shouldn’t suffer. Instead, by focusing on talent mobility through upskilling and reskilling, we can create a new currency of work.

Workforce Intelligence Makes a Difference

Why do you feel workforce intelligence is essential for employers as they make talent decisions?

Organizations have so much human capital data. With all the workforce intelligence available, there’s no reason to hire and fire talent en masse — and then rehire many of the same individuals just months later.

Obviously, that’s an emotional and human experience for employees. But also, organizations are spending unnecessary money to find people and let them go, only to invest again in rehiring them.

Focusing instead on internal mobility is far more cost-effective.

Where Ethical AI Fits In

Many companies are unsure about AI in talent acquisition and management. What’s your take on this?

There are no universally accepted standards for ethical AI. This means vendors across industries can say technology is “ethical” based on self-assessment, without input from legal, ethical, or global experts.

But we’ve developed the world’s first independently audited, ethical talent AI. In fact, the World Economic Forum has recognized us for setting a benchmark in ethical AI.

The Impact on Internal Mobility

How do businesses benefit from shifting to a zero-wasted potential talent strategy? 

When companies manage internal mobility well, they extend employee tenure by 2x. And we know that people who stay and continue growing and developing are much more engaged.

This can create a significant downstream benefit. It’s one of the biggest reasons to invest in this kind of talent management capability.

 


For more great advice from Jonathan about why and how organizations are leveraging AI to make better talent decisions, listen to this full episode. Also, be sure to subscribe to the #WorkTrends Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. And to continue this conversation on social media, follow our #WorkTrends hashtag on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Internal Mobility Programs: The Key to Retention?

In response to the Great Resignation, employers everywhere are reevaluating their talent strategies. As part of this process, they’re seeking cost-effective ways to retain employees who are craving growth opportunities in today’s uncertain economy. That is why internal mobility programs are gaining momentum.

This article looks at why internal mobility is a smart talent strategy. Through the experience of several HR professionals who have launched and led internal mobility programs, we focus on how to develop a successful initiative while avoiding mistakes along the way.

The Benefits of Internal Talent Mobility

Why prioritize mobility—especially during a recession, when budget and resources are often more limited? There are multiple reasons. For example, these programs can help you:

1) Demonstrate Commitment to Your Workforce

Ginny Clarke is the Founder and CEO of Ginny Clarke, LLC. She previously worked at Google as Director of Leadership Internal Mobility. Clarke says internal mobility programs are a highly effective way to show you care and are invested in developing your organization’s top talent.

“This directly correlates with the level of employee engagement and willingness to stay and perform well,” Clarke notes. “It is also a way to give people valuable tools they can take wherever they go.” As a result, this kind of effort can build your brand, even after employees leave the company.

2) Upskill With the Future in Mind

LaRae James, Director of Human Resources for the City of Pearland, Texas, says that as roles evolve, organizations must upskill employees so they’re prepared for future opportunities. This is particularly important in a strong labor market. As LaRae notes, “Finding good talent is a challenge, so retention is vital for a sustainable workforce.”

She adds, “Developing employees results in a higher-performing organization and builds bench strength for internal mobility and succession planning.” In other words, your organization can never be too prepared for economic uncertainty.

3) Support Your Retention Goals

Angela-Cheng-Cimini, Senior Vice President of Talent and Chief Human Resources Officer at Harvard Business Publishing (HBP), emphasizes that “Career mobility is no longer in a black box. It is based on known expectations.” This kind of clarity means employees and managers can more confidently identify growth opportunities and work together toward the future.

City of Pearland’s James agrees. She says many organizations are creative about how they attract candidates, yet they don’t put the same kind of effort into retaining existing employees. This is why she recommends considering what the employee experience would look like if your organization approached its overall people strategy more creatively.

Building an Internal Mobility Program

To develop a recession-proof talent strategy, James says it is important to understand what motivates people to stay on board. Direct feedback tools help.

For example, her organization recently learned that when employees want to advance their careers, they tend to think of leaving, rather than exploring internal mobility options. The team used this insight to implement a series of events that help employees learn about various roles across the organization. They also provided career development and interview preparation courses.

Other organizations also use employee feedback to inform mobility program development. For example, HBP recently launched a robust career pathing framework. This is a response to exit interviews that revealed a lack of career advancement was the most common reason employees sought outside opportunities. HPB’s frameworks are designed to establish universal criteria for movement across the organization. “The system is grounded in core, leadership, and technical competencies,” Cheng-Cimini says.

Today, HPB offers more than 20 ladders. This provides full visibility into the skills employees need for success. It also lets them design their own paths based on their interests and strengths. As a result, “employees can now see beyond the role they currently occupy. Also, with their manager, they can plan for the experiences and skills they want to build.”

But what if your organization is just starting to build a program? Clarke thinks it’s wise to start small, even with only one business unit or with your most senior employees. She recommends focusing first on helping participants assess their capabilities and competencies. Then help them build a narrative that transcends past roles and responsibilities. She suggests that some of these steps can be scaled through online instruction, rather than relying solely on one-on-one coaching.

Internal Mobility Mistakes to Avoid

What missteps should you avoid when building and managing an internal mobility program?

1) Don’t give employees false hope

When sharing open roles, it is important not to misrepresent these opportunities. Clarke cautions, “There are no guarantees participants will get roles they are considered for.” Be intentional and transparent in how you market the program. For example, be sure to make employees aware that external candidates are also likely to be considered for opportunities. This context can help soften the disappointment employees feel if they are bypassed for desired assignments.

2) Avoid playing favorites

Internal mobility shouldn’t be a popularity contest. Clarke says it’s particularly important not to favor any particular type of person. Instead, she recommends a three-point strategy:

  • Take time to review those identified as ‘top talent’ to ensure broad representation.
  • Triangulate these recommendations with performance reviews, 360-degree feedback, and other endorsements.
  • Incentivize leaders to perform thoughtful talent reviews so you can identify top talent continuously and confidently.

3) Let go of seriously weak links

Don’t keep talent for the sake of ease. Clarke advises employers to proactively question the rationale for retaining some people. “If they are toxic or otherwise don’t represent company values, don’t fall into the trap of wanting to retain their intellectual capital, domain expertise, or a brand name at the expense of poor morale with the rest of their team.”

4) Don’t bite off more than you can chew

On a final note, you may be tempted to overthink this challenge. Although it makes sense to tailor mobility to your organization’s talent strategy, infrastructure, and employee needs, getting started is key. If necessary, focus first on small, achievable steps. Then build on those early wins.

Why Winners Invest in the Internal Candidate Experience Today

For the longest time it’s always been about recruiting from the outside in. As if companies had never hired for many of their jobs before. As if the only way to fill them was to post the jobs and pray for new magical applicants they’d never identified previously, and hopefully some of those had just enough of a magical edge to get the final interviews and then get hired.

Of course, the reality is that most of those applicants aren’t magical and aren’t qualified 75-95 percent of the time. And out of those hired, we hope that they’ll stick and stay beyond their first 6-12 months. But that’s the way we’ve sourced and recruited for decades, and recruiting technology automation has only given us more of the same.

A lot more of the same – hundreds of applicants per open requisition on the average according to the latest Talent Board Candidate Experience survey results (a trend that’s increased over the past few years). The good news here is, at least for the companies that have participated in the Candidate Experience surveys (whether the employer won a CandE Award or not), is that:

  • 70% of participating candidates are likely and to apply again to the same employers.
  • 70% of participating candidates are likely or extremely likely to refer others.
  • 68% of the candidates rated the employers with 3 or more stars out of 5 stars on their overall candidate experience.

And nearly 80% of those candidates weren’t hired.

It’s even more refreshing to hear companies are investing strategy, resources and time into their internal candidate experience. Yes, those folks who are already employed. Your hopefully engaged critical talent. Your brand ambassadors. Your key referrers who help attract competitive people your way.

It’s really only been the past few years where I’ve heard larger organizations talk more about improving the internal candidate experience. Anyone who’s read my articles know how much I emphasize the fact that we’re all perpetual applicants/candidates all the time.

We’re all either being constantly re-recruited into their current organizations (engagement and opportunity) or recruited out of them (attrition and opportunity). It makes no never mind whether we’re happily employed (some of us) and unhappily disengaged (most of us), looking for our next gig, or not. We’re all perpetual candidates, regardless of generation or gender, skill set or experience.

So I was energized when CandE Award-winning companies like Humana, T-Mobile, SWIFT and many others shared at this year’s Candidate Experience Symposium that they are truly investing in and improving on how they treat internal candidates and re-recruit and retain them. We learned they’re making it much easier for current employees (including permanent and contingent) to be internally mobile, transforming cultures that used to discourage mobility to those that embrace it, in order to apply for and stay within the “mothership.” And many other companies are right behind them to keep their competitive edge and sharp as possible. Again, these folks are your employment brand ambassadors.

Now, even with these internal candidate experience improvements, it’s true that predicting new employee tenure is about as difficult as predicting the weather, even with various data inputs and powerful algorithms we have today. Most people these days stay in their jobs only about 3-5 years. It’s not just the millennials moving around for better opportunities — all generations do it.

But one thing is clear: referrals can and do have an impact on employee retention. If an employee is satisfied at work, feels like part of a team and the greater culture, and of course is rewarded fairly, then he or she is much more likely to suggest referrals. They become a brand advocate.

And if these referrals have a similar experience to those who referred them, they will in turn potentially last a little longer and make referrals themselves. In fact, even candidates that don’t get hired will make referrals if their experience is a good one as referenced in the Talent Board data above.

Long-time recruiting analyst John Sumser and HR thought leader Jessica Miller-Merrell concurred on the TalentCulture #TChat Show when you hire somebody you don’t know, and you bring them in, you have to figure out all sorts of attributes of trust, in order to get them to fit into your organization.

In fact, John said it best, “When you use a referral, the trust is implied by the person making the referral. Everybody knows that what makes organizations fun, flexible, agile, adaptive and productive is the degree to which everybody in the organization trusts everybody else. Trust is the variable that makes your organization great or makes it fail.”

This is why CandE Winners invest in the internal candidate experience today.  Re-recruiting from the inside out makes for one trustworthy and invaluable talent pool.

Welcome Everyone To Job Fair

“Dreams flow across the heartland
Feeding on the fires
Dreams transport desires
Drive you when you’re down
Dreams transport the ones who need to get out of town…”

—Neil Peart

 

Or the ones who need to get out of jail.

“Welcome to Job Fair everyone!”

The auditorium filled with clapping and laughter, every seat taken by women of all shapes and sizes, from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, but most of them simply wore gray and orange jumpsuits.

Women in various outfits ranging from office professional to “street” professional lined the stage. A Dress for Success representative proceeded to review each outfit, not hesitating to ridicule all but two of the women.

One woman, dressed like a cutesy sailor girl, and another like a call girl, were called out.

“Ladies, companies don’t hire whores or children, they hire adults.”

The crowd whooped it up, and the two women not ridiculed were selected for the next round of Job Fair.

On stage, an executive from Phillip Morris then interviewed the two well-dressed women. Yes, the cigarette company. One of the women was much more prepped than the other, much more professional in her demeanor, much more thoughtful in her interview answers. The other, not so much.

“The winner is, Tasha Jefferson!” announced the Phillip Morris executive.

A few minutes later, Tasha stopped the assistant warden and asked her about getting the actual job she had just “won” in the Job Fair contest. The assistant warden proceeded to tell her nobody wins a job in prison.

Tasha was crestfallen.

“Okay,” the assistant warden conceded, “you’ll get ten dollars added to your personal account.”

Tasha smiled. “That’s something,” she said.

But none of this was real, at least, not quite. It was a scene from a Netflix show based on one women’s experience in prison called Orange Is the New Black. (Funny they called it “Job Fair” as in an official, proper name, not “the job fair.”)

It struck me as I watched this particular episode that, with the dismal employee engagement numbers and voluntary attrition rates as they are, especially for hires during their first year of employment, many of us feel as if we’re in prison, chaffing against the repetition, straining against the faith,” trapped with not even continuous development “conjugal” visits to temper the daily grind.

Peers and colleagues help, of course, but most are just as trapped as you are, some even in solitary. But mercy me, many of us are on stage everyday at Job Fair trying to be seen, to be heard, to be considered for other internal opportunities should they make themselves apparent as well as being an apparent fit.

Apparently not, although maybe there’s a little extra added to our paychecks, because indeed we are somewhat valued. That’s why it should be no surprise why companies struggle to retain top talent from the moment the ink is dry on the new hire paperwork (hopefully that’s online paperwork, you know?).

The good news?

Listening to talent leaders like Tracey Arnish, SVP of Talent at SAP, talk about how they foster development from the recruiting front end for all new employees, and how they empower career paths and opportunities right from the first-day get-go, a refreshing one-size-fits-one approach.

And how they themselves have experienced longevity in the organization because they had the opportunity to work up and across the business (think like a lattice), gaining valuable insight for where they ultimately ended up at this point. Not everyone will end up on the leadership path, but everyone should end up on a development one that continually maximizes their value for both individual and collective.

Which is why we should always:

  • Welcome. This may include assigning buddies and peer-to-peer networks seamlessly before day one even starts, so the new employees feel welcome and have support, regardless of role, classification or location (in the office or remote). Incremental and attainable individual and group goals can also be set up with their first 3-6 months to ensure complete workplace and cultural immersion as well as shortening their initial time to contribution.
  • Everyone to Job Fair. Once onboarded, networked and contributing, every single person — full-time to part-time to temp to contingent — is a perpetual candidate and a growth opportunity for the company at large. In turn, providing a continuous mobility experience to your workforce that includes the flexibility to dial up and down their level of contribution, while ensuring they’re career paths are personalized growth opportunities, are the keys to retaining knowledge and your competitive edge.

Companies invest a lot in their talent up front and to lose them quickly because of little to no nurturing empowers their competitors. Why look outside first when you already have a highly competitive and trained internal talent community and referral network?

Nobody wants to work in a prison. Let the Job Fair rehabilitation begin.

Intrapreneurial Talent: How Do You Find the "X" Factor?

Written by Susan Foley, Managing Partner, Corporate Entrepreneurs & Hans Balmaekers, Founder, SA.AM

Recently, we’ve seen a groundswell of interest in intrapreneurship – the process of developing organizational cultures that unleash entrepreneurial innovation from within.

Although intrapreneurship can be a powerful engine for business innovation and growth, it’s really not about generating ideas — it’s about turning ideas into profitable ventures. Intrapreneurs are the instigators who make that transformation happen.

Where can you find this special breed? We suggest that you start by taking a fresh look at your existing workforce. Even if you don’t recognize these innovators as they roam the halls of your company, we can assure you, they are there — and they’re likely to respond favorably when you offer support. But before you can move forward, you must first identify the right talent.

How can you spot the best bets? You may actually know some contenders. However, if your organization is large, you may not have crossed paths with some of your most promising candidates. They’re not typical high-potential or C-level mavericks — although they do possess traits that distinguish them from the usual corporate soldier. Keep these attributes in mind as you look for the right match with your initiatives…

7 Traits of Successful Intrapreneurs

1) Intrapreneurs tell us that they feel like they don’t fit. Their organizations don’t understand them or appreciate what they do or how they do it. They see the world through a different lens. They’re independent spirits and independent minds. They think, act and make decisions differently. They often find themselves championing the opposite side of issues.

2) Intrapreneurs are a distinct group of individuals. They have a unique combination of competencies that set them apart from more traditional workers. They are self reliant, they like to explore new things, and they’re totally engaged in their heads and hearts. They actively seek out new challenges, effectively manage limited resources and stay focused on getting things done.

3) Intrapreneurs make significant leaps in thinking that are not always linear or fact-based. They’re able to connect the dots. They work with what they’ve got, not what they think they need. They rapidly test and refine ideas, to push them through each stage in a decision process. They make sense of uncertain and complex situations more quickly than most. And they’re resilient — tending to fail and recover quickly.

4) Intrapreneurs think differently. They view situations from a more holistic, “systems” oriented perspective. Many are “whole brain” thinkers who embrace both their analytical and intuitive nature. They’re integrative problem solvers who can consider two totally opposite concepts, and instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, they creatively combine ideas to form a new solution. They balance thinking and action, and they learn from the outcomes of those actions.

5) Intrapreneurs approach decision making differently. They resist diving into data too early. They don’t simplify things too quickly. They linger in complexity because it presents more options. However, they are decisive. They don’t allow caution to paralyze them. They will change direction or even shut down a project when new data suggests a different course of action. They effectively balance short term and long term demands. They’re willing to base decisions on insufficient data, rather than waiting for perfect data to become available.

6) Intrapreneurs have different motivations and aspirations than others. They are not interested in a traditional career path. They are self motivated and good at motivating others. They like to build things. They’re energized by the excitement of creating anything that moves their company forward. They want to work on the big stuff — the bigger and more challenging, the better. They like to start with a clean slate, because it gives them more freedom to be creative. They are highly curious, avid learners, and they constantly ask themselves if there’s something else they need to know. This also means that they’re restless and may easily become bored.

7) Intrapreneurs operate through action. They’re inherently creative. They typically don’t generate ideas — however they recognize the value in others’ ideas, and turn them into viable business options. They find iterative planning useful, because things are continually changing. They embrace the unexpected. They like surprise because it refines their understanding. They take calculated risks — looking at both the upside and downside of a decision. They deal with uncertainty by acting on it, rather than sitting back and waiting to see what happens.

Finding the right kind of talent is essential to developing an intrapreneurial culture. These are just some of the characteristics that successful intrapreneurs display. Of course, every individual is unique, but if you look for these traits, you’ll be well on your way to creating a team with the strength you need to move your organization into the future.

Learn More: “Business In Your Business” Conference

To better understand the relationship between corporate entrepreneurship and innovation, or if you’re looking for ways to implement intrapreneurship in your organization, check out the “Business In Your Business” International Intrapreneurship Conference in Barcelona, Spain, December 12-13, 2013. Experienced intrapreneurs and inspiring experts will share how the process works for them and explain how you can implement it, too. BONUS DISCOUNT: Get 10% off on your attendance fee — enter the code “TalentCulture“ when you register online.

Susan Foley Intrapreneurship-001(Author Profiles: Susan Foley is Founder and Managing Partner at Corporate Entrepreneurs, LLC where she helps companies leverage intrapreneurship strategies that accelerate business growth. An experienced corporate entrepreneur herself, Susan has guided organizations through intrapreneurial endeavors that have generated millions in revenue. She is also a professional speaker and author of the book “Entrepreneurs Inside.” She teaches Corporate Entrepreneurship in the Executive Education program at Babson College, and is a Fellow at the Center for Innovation and Change Leadership at Suffolk University. Connect with Susan on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Hans-Balmaekers-founder-sa.am_-001Hans Balmaekers is the Founder and Director of SA.AM, a resource for young professionals who care about their future, want to make a difference, and want to develop the mindset and skills to become change-makers. Recently, SA.AM launched an online intrapreneurship course to prepare aspiring and new intrapreneurs for success. Connect with Hans on Twitter, or on LinkedIn.)

Image Credit: Marginal Boundaries

Intrapreneurial Talent: How Do You Find the “X” Factor?

Written by Susan Foley, Managing Partner, Corporate Entrepreneurs & Hans Balmaekers, Founder, SA.AM

Recently, we’ve seen a groundswell of interest in intrapreneurship – the process of developing organizational cultures that unleash entrepreneurial innovation from within.

Although intrapreneurship can be a powerful engine for business innovation and growth, it’s really not about generating ideas — it’s about turning ideas into profitable ventures. Intrapreneurs are the instigators who make that transformation happen.

Where can you find this special breed? We suggest that you start by taking a fresh look at your existing workforce. Even if you don’t recognize these innovators as they roam the halls of your company, we can assure you, they are there — and they’re likely to respond favorably when you offer support. But before you can move forward, you must first identify the right talent.

How can you spot the best bets? You may actually know some contenders. However, if your organization is large, you may not have crossed paths with some of your most promising candidates. They’re not typical high-potential or C-level mavericks — although they do possess traits that distinguish them from the usual corporate soldier. Keep these attributes in mind as you look for the right match with your initiatives…

7 Traits of Successful Intrapreneurs

1) Intrapreneurs tell us that they feel like they don’t fit. Their organizations don’t understand them or appreciate what they do or how they do it. They see the world through a different lens. They’re independent spirits and independent minds. They think, act and make decisions differently. They often find themselves championing the opposite side of issues.

2) Intrapreneurs are a distinct group of individuals. They have a unique combination of competencies that set them apart from more traditional workers. They are self reliant, they like to explore new things, and they’re totally engaged in their heads and hearts. They actively seek out new challenges, effectively manage limited resources and stay focused on getting things done.

3) Intrapreneurs make significant leaps in thinking that are not always linear or fact-based. They’re able to connect the dots. They work with what they’ve got, not what they think they need. They rapidly test and refine ideas, to push them through each stage in a decision process. They make sense of uncertain and complex situations more quickly than most. And they’re resilient — tending to fail and recover quickly.

4) Intrapreneurs think differently. They view situations from a more holistic, “systems” oriented perspective. Many are “whole brain” thinkers who embrace both their analytical and intuitive nature. They’re integrative problem solvers who can consider two totally opposite concepts, and instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, they creatively combine ideas to form a new solution. They balance thinking and action, and they learn from the outcomes of those actions.

5) Intrapreneurs approach decision making differently. They resist diving into data too early. They don’t simplify things too quickly. They linger in complexity because it presents more options. However, they are decisive. They don’t allow caution to paralyze them. They will change direction or even shut down a project when new data suggests a different course of action. They effectively balance short term and long term demands. They’re willing to base decisions on insufficient data, rather than waiting for perfect data to become available.

6) Intrapreneurs have different motivations and aspirations than others. They are not interested in a traditional career path. They are self motivated and good at motivating others. They like to build things. They’re energized by the excitement of creating anything that moves their company forward. They want to work on the big stuff — the bigger and more challenging, the better. They like to start with a clean slate, because it gives them more freedom to be creative. They are highly curious, avid learners, and they constantly ask themselves if there’s something else they need to know. This also means that they’re restless and may easily become bored.

7) Intrapreneurs operate through action. They’re inherently creative. They typically don’t generate ideas — however they recognize the value in others’ ideas, and turn them into viable business options. They find iterative planning useful, because things are continually changing. They embrace the unexpected. They like surprise because it refines their understanding. They take calculated risks — looking at both the upside and downside of a decision. They deal with uncertainty by acting on it, rather than sitting back and waiting to see what happens.

Finding the right kind of talent is essential to developing an intrapreneurial culture. These are just some of the characteristics that successful intrapreneurs display. Of course, every individual is unique, but if you look for these traits, you’ll be well on your way to creating a team with the strength you need to move your organization into the future.

Learn More: “Business In Your Business” Conference

To better understand the relationship between corporate entrepreneurship and innovation, or if you’re looking for ways to implement intrapreneurship in your organization, check out the “Business In Your Business” International Intrapreneurship Conference in Barcelona, Spain, December 12-13, 2013. Experienced intrapreneurs and inspiring experts will share how the process works for them and explain how you can implement it, too. BONUS DISCOUNT: Get 10% off on your attendance fee — enter the code “TalentCulture“ when you register online.

Susan Foley Intrapreneurship-001(Author Profiles: Susan Foley is Founder and Managing Partner at Corporate Entrepreneurs, LLC where she helps companies leverage intrapreneurship strategies that accelerate business growth. An experienced corporate entrepreneur herself, Susan has guided organizations through intrapreneurial endeavors that have generated millions in revenue. She is also a professional speaker and author of the book “Entrepreneurs Inside.” She teaches Corporate Entrepreneurship in the Executive Education program at Babson College, and is a Fellow at the Center for Innovation and Change Leadership at Suffolk University. Connect with Susan on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Hans-Balmaekers-founder-sa.am_-001Hans Balmaekers is the Founder and Director of SA.AM, a resource for young professionals who care about their future, want to make a difference, and want to develop the mindset and skills to become change-makers. Recently, SA.AM launched an online intrapreneurship course to prepare aspiring and new intrapreneurs for success. Connect with Hans on Twitter, or on LinkedIn.)

Image Credit: Marginal Boundaries

It's Maslow's World. We Just Live In It: #TChat Recap

The other day, my friend couldn’t find her Droid. So we looked and looked until we found it. …in the back pocket of the pants she’d been wearing the whole time. And then there was last weekend, when I searched what seemed like every nook and cranny of the house: My Jeep’s keys were nowhere to be found. …until I remembered I’d left them in the ignition; my home is in the sticks, on a dirt road where nary a bad guy lurks to take away my stuff.

The palm of my hand traveled to my forehead. So, too, did hers. Together, we experienced a “double facepalm.” Employers have them all the time, and especially when they realize that the talent they’re looking for is right there, inside.

Pet Theories

Here’s a pet theory: Employees work to make money. I know: I could be wrong. But money is probably the primary reason a majority work, and for a majority, money used to be one of the only reasons.

Employees would look for the greatest amount of security in making that money over the greatest amount of time — ideally, a lifetime’s worth of time. And they found those conditions almost everywhere. They found them in big corporations that paid well and provided room for advancement — to be paid even better, over several decades, till retirement knocked. They stayed because they wanted to, and for these conditions specifically. But they also stayed because society told them they had to. Seeing to it was an ingrained, shared ethos that honestly couldn’t fathom anyone wanting to leave a secure job.

And here’s another pet theory: Today, it’s Maslow’s world, and we just live in it. Employees stay because they want to. But they don’t have to — unless they really do have to, but for reasons entirely divorced from that old ethos, which has faded into memory. In an economy that is weak, employees stay for security, but they may resent the security, especially if the pay just barely provides the security. And they will concurrently pine for work more self-fulfilling, more self-advancing. As a world of work, we’ve moved further up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, above survival to self-actualization.

Looking Within

Here’s one more point, before we get to the main one:

A common bit of advice says to look within for answers to the spirit’s ailments. Looking outside one’s self for answers rarely brings authentic or lasting happiness, the saying goes. And that’s true. And a kernel of the saying’s truth applies to the topic of recruiting. Yes, the answer to an organization’s ailments often is a need for talent that’s outside, waiting to be recruited; just as often, however, a relentless recruitment of talent not there yet is a symptom of deep unhappiness within the organization, or lack of appreciation for the talent already there.

Or (and?), this unending need for outside talent reflects the organization’s inattention to self. When an organization neglects its self, looking outside to fix what’s broken inside is an unconscious cry for help. An addiction to new employees sets in, a salve for the continual pain wrought by the organization’s dysfunctional home life — the dynamics intended and unintended that govern workers’ daily grind. The organization must instead acknowledge that the inside is broken — and focus on fixing the inside with inside parts.

Those inside parts are your employees, and many are chomping at the bit to self-actualize, in their jobs. Individuals have self-help books and mentors to help fix what’s broken inside. Organizations have HR and HR technology. HR people implement processes to heal an organization, and HR technology provides more and better tools than ever for organizations to see, understand and cater to their talent inside.

Right In Front of You

My keys were where I left them, and my friend’s Droid was in her back pocket. We each searched a long time before realizing those items were right there, right in front of us. Where is your talent? It might be right in front of you. Remove your palms from your foreheads, like we did, and get on with it. She made a call. I fired up the engine in my truck. Organizations, provide your employees with the conditions that’ll lead them to want to stay.

Thank you for joining us last night. Your tweets ran the gamut of good thinking, as always, and below is a slide show of them. We thank  Rob Garcia (@robgarciasj) for his peerless guest moderation. Did you miss this week’s preview? Click here. We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday.

Image Credit: Facepalm-Picard by DarkUncle

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Collaborative Community Results for NPR & HRevolution

“So, I really liked Kevin’s definition of talent communities from last week’s #TChat Radio Show. Kevin, why don’t you share that?”

Stammer. Stutter. I have no idea.

Here we were yesterday in our packed HRevolution session on building and maintaining talent communities, me in one of three groups we had broken up in to, and after all the research, writing and talking about it to date, I couldn’t define it on the spot if my life depended on it.

Thankfully it didn’t, but still.

My point being it continues to be a much larger multifaceted conversation with a moving-target definition depending on context — and for us yesterday the context was social recruiting and employment branding.

You can review the premise of our HRevolution Talent Communities & Company Culture session, but simply put it included some of the best and brightest minds in talent acquisition and social media (and I’m not talking about mine) and our case study partner, Lars Schmidt, director of talent acquisition at National Public Radio (NPR).

The idea was to break up our session into three consulting groups vying for NPR’s business, and for each group to come up with and present a business case – and strategy – for developing and sustaining talent communities for sourcing, recruiting and employment branding.

But right from the beginning, the consensus question was, what’s a talent community?

So hey, I wasn’t the only one.

And then there was, why does it have to be called that anyway and why do we insist on the continued use of gobbledygook like engagement, transactional, pipelines, empowerment and the like?

Alas, supposedly smart spin-speak can force all the breathable atmosphere from a room (and we’re going to see a lot more of that this week at the HR Technology Conference & Exposition too).

That said, Lars from NPR found our session to be a very smart success, although he didn’t pick my group as a winner. That’s all right, as long as I get to meet the Planet Money news team someday.

Again, there are two things that differentiate true talent communities from talent pipelines and resume databases of old. The quality of interactions, not the quantity, make the community. And members are members, from outside the organization and from within as current employees — not applicants — at least until they apply for a new job. These were universally agreed on in all three groups.

But the collaborative results from each of our “community” neighborhoods were as diverse as the neighborhoods themselves.

Funny how that works. Here were all our brief ideas in schematic as written on our paper “white board” pages that forced the air back in our room. My brain doesn’t have a recordable microchip, so use your professional imaginations to fill in between the answers.

Team 1:

  • Create a curated sourcing channel that includes the target audience.
  • Add in influencers to engage with the target audience (yikes, engage).
  • Develop selective engagement events.
  • Create a Twitter dedicated hashtag.
  • Develop an influencer analysis tool to understand impact on target audience.

Team 2 (The Winner!):

  • Use the NPR Facebook page as the sourcing hub — leverage the current consumer page to tap into the 2MM fans/likes.
  • Solicit content from fans to contribute to NPR.
  • Use Facebook analytics to track traffic.
  • Utilize free solutions such as BeKnown and BraveNewTalent and integrate jobs tab on NPR page.
  • Leverage Twitter and career page traffic.
  • Add a Facebook “Like” button across all properties.
  • Leverage open graph.
  • Develop hashtag to create content.
  • Include Klout scores of fans and visitors.

Team 3 (my team — thank you to Sean Sheppard from TalentCircles for being our presenter):

  • Map and analyze the 30MM unique NPR monthly visitors.
  • Develop participation strategy to motivate super fans.
  • Interact with super fans around digital content and other activities.
  • Cherry pick and career pitch the best of the super fans.

So there you have it. Hopefully the first of many interactive learning sessions about building and sustaining (talent) communities.

A special thank you to all our smart participants as well as my #TChat co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Matt Charney, and of course of guest of honor Lars Schmidt, director of talent acquisition at National Public Radio (NPR).

And a very special thank you to the HRevolution organizers for yet another amazing event. To date I’ve never attended an event so immersed in the collaborative moment. For me, the online social chatter slows to a stop when I participate in a true community like HRevolution.

Now it’s time for HR Tech!

Get to Know the "Talent" in Talent Community: #TChat Recap

Two people meet on the street.

“Hi, how are you today?”

“I’m great thanks. And you?”

“Great.

Repeat this thousands of times per day as we move along our own separate ways, whether we’re really great or not, and what do we have?

Lots of insincere transactions. And we live with them, although that doesn’t make for tight-knit community. It makes for a polite one, but not one that’s necessarily a collaborative or problem-solving one.

Businesses today need collaborative, problem-solvers across all positions, from management to front-line. If you’re sourcing and recruiting them the old school way, via job boards and cold calls, or even the new pseudo-two-way transactional play, via social recruiting, which includes creating talent communities, otherwise known as talent pools – there are choices to make.

But applicants aren’t applicants unless they apply, and transactions aren’t meaningful for applicants that aren’t applicants unless they’re of authentic quality, not of faux frequency.

There are two things that differentiate true talent communities from talent pipelines and resume databases of old. The quality of interactions, not the quantity, make the community. And members are members, not applicants, at least until they apply for a job.

I shared some of this yesterday, and after last night’s #TChat Radio Show, it certainly rang truer with our amazing panel of “talent community” experts:

  • Marvin Smith, Senior Research Recruiter, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Anthony Knierim, Web & Emerging Technologies Global Leader, Aon by day / RadMatter by night
  • KC Donovan, CEO, Upwardly Me
  • Maren Hogan, Head of Marketing, US, BraveNewTalent
  • Harpaul Sambhi, CEO, Careerify

And one thing that was resoundingly agreed on was the fact that the talent pipeline days of old don’t make for talent communities; they make for resume databases. Sending relevant (not always unfortunately) employment brand and job information to your database of semi-warm bodies may be enough for the small percentage of potential applicants who want to apply for a job or two and get out quick, isn’t enough for the rest of the folks who need a little more small-group authentic interaction.

Imagine if certain key employees were seeded appropriately and spread that authentic interaction throughout, as well as your 2-way communication and lots of other types of “engagement” activities and assessments…

Imagine how much these quality interactions will help those in hiring get to know the talent in community, inside and out.

Imagine that.

Read Matt Charney’s precap here as well as the questions. The #TChat Twitter chat and #TChat Radio are created and hosted by @MeghanMBiro @KevinWGrossman and powered by our friends and partners @TalentCulture @Monster_WORKS @MonsterCareers @HRmarketer and of course @Focus.

Internal Mobility for Your Talent Clouds: #TChat Recap

If you want to make it rain inside and out, you’ve got to be able to control your talent weather.

More precisely, you must be able to understand the molecular makeup of your talent clouds, and how rapidly the combining and recombining of the molecules change the innovative power of your people.

Wouldn’t you rather be able to predict your weather rather than be carried away in the storm? That means having to look outward for talent sunshine, which is usually more costly in regards to attracting, recruiting, hiring, on-boarding and training. Necessary depending on who and what you’re hiring for, but more costly.

Companies today need talent insight on:

  • What happened before
  • What’s happening now
  • What will happen if I move the warm front to the cold front and back again…

I’m talking about understanding who you have now who can then help later when you need them then, over there, or over there. This can include selecting from full-time, part-time, temps, contractors as well as your own customers, partners and competitors (poaching is a lightning storm and story for another time).

Internal mobility has been mixed blessing for many organizations because although many would prefer to hire and promote from within, if they don’t have the right insight on their employees and teams, then it becomes difficult making those decisions.

Of course you can open up your position searches to internal folks and compare and contrast them and then hire/promote the most qualified, but that linear thinking doesn’t help when it comes to understand how your internal folks work individually, together, what their value is combined and recombined, and how they impact your business.

In the smaller organizations I’ve worked in, it’s easier to orchestrate your talent clouds. But in larger ones it can become the cliché of the resume database that stagnates like pooled rainwater that then breeds mosquitoes, not mobility.

The HR software available today gives organizations the tools to better orchestrate their talent weather, although we all know how glacial change management can be.  And you can’t have just-in-time sunshine if you can’t see through the clouds.

All right – enough with the weather. Internal mobility done right with insight can help the cost of hire be lower.

Right on.

You can read the #TChat preview here and here were last night’s questions:

  • Q1: What are some of the benefits to promoting/filling jobs with internal candidates?
  • Q2: What can business leaders do better to encourage internal mobility?
  • Q3: What can employees do to improve their chances at internal promotions or transfers?
  • Q4: How does social media fit into the internal talent planning picture, if at all?
  • Q5: Is internal mobility the responsibility of the employer or the employee?  Or both?
  • Q6: Can internal mobility hurt a company or career?  How?

A special thank you to @MattCharney and @Monster_Works for moderating last night’s #TChat!

PLEASE NOTE: Starting next week on Wednesday, August 10, #TChat will move to Wednesdays at 4 pm PT (7 pm ET). More announcements soon!

Internal Mobility Inside Look At Talent: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charney on MonsterThinking Blog

Perhaps nowhere is the divide between HR theory and people practice more evident than when it comes to the issues surrounding internal mobility.  In theory, employers and talent organizations almost always have a “promote from within” philosophy that formally or informally favors internal candidates.

In practice, however, internal mobility is frequently hindered by cumbersome processes, company politics and issues like salary compression which unilaterally matter more to HR than the business for which they’re recruiting.

Too often, recruiting is on a just-in-time basis, measured against the ticking clock of days-to-fill (or some similarly nebulous metric).  This ‘need it now’ mentality places a premium, particularly in middle management and leadership roles, on highly specialized skills and experience that are easier to acquire on the open market rather than plan, and promote, from within.

The byproduct of this, of course, is that top talent’s professional growth, and viability, often stagnates as soon as the job does – because just-in-time is not a long term career strategy, and if the next step for top talent can’t be within, it’s your organization that’s going to be without.

Tonight’s #TChat will examine internal mobility and its impact on talent organizations, business leaders and employees.  We hope you can join the conversation at 8 PM ET and let us know whether you think internal mobility is worth promoting or if it’s an issue that’s worth passing up.

#TChat Preview & Recommended Reading: 08.02.11

To help prepare, and inform, your participation in tonight’s conversation, here are some articles we recommend checking out for this week’s #TChat: “Internal Mobility: An Inside Look at Talent.”

Q1: What are some of the benefits to promoting/filling jobs with internal candidates?

Read: Knowledge Transfer: Whose Knowledge Matters Most by William J. Rothwell

Q2: What can business leaders do better to encourage internal mobility?

Read: Focus On Your Employees: The Key to Workplace Culture Success by William Powell

Q3: What can employees do to improve their chances at internal promotions or transfers?

Read: Getting Noticed At Promotion Time by Therese Droste

Q4: How does social media fit into the internal talent planning picture, if at all?

Read: Company Branding and Employee Social Networks: A Social Media Win-Win by Emily Bennington

Q5: Is internal mobility the responsibility of the employer or the employee?  Or both?

The 4 Ws of Internal Mobility by Rosario Longo
Q6: Can internal mobility hurt a company or career?  How?

Read: Ten Questions to Ask Before Making An Internal Move by Nancy Mercurio

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat, as well as other great resources on careers and hiring.

Monster’s social media team supports #TChat’s mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate — the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation this Tuesday night as co-hosts with Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman from 8-9 p.m. (Eastern) via @MonsterCareers and @Monster_Works.