Talent Management Technology – Reviews

This week is all about Talent Management Technology. I have a guest Blogger, Kyle Lagunas of Software Advice to thank for the content below. The review on WorkSimple is yours truly.

Talent management technology is evolving. Social features that drive collaboration, enable real-time feedback, and give employees (and their bosses) more visibility into what’s going on in their organization–furthering the trend towards consumerisation of workplace IT. Early adopters of these socialized talent management technologies are seeing some immediate value-adds.

Specifically, here are four ways social technologies are having a positive impact in talent management:


 1. Invigorated Open Door Policies

Marketing services firm Dominion Enterprises has always had an open door policy. But leadership struggled to sift through and act upon all the input they received. They needed a central platform for gathering, sharing and developing ideas.

“While we had channels for feedback and input, it was hard to get traction around ideas,” explains Susan Blake, VP of HR.

After giving UserVoice Feedback software a test run in one department, they rolled it out company-wide in March. Uservoice allows employees to submit ideas, vote on others’ ideas, and discuss them. The software had immediate impact, giving management the tools they need to give their open door policy new life–with employees from every department offering suggestions for improving products, policies and processes.

Furthermore, by showing employees that their feedback results in real changes, they’ve seen a spike in employee engagement. “To say UserVoice was a catalyst is an understatement,” says Blake.



2. Interactive Talent Directories

Gone are the employee directories of old, replaced with a strategic tool for both employees and leadership. You can still find contact info for colleagues in another department, but innovative products like Saba’s People Cloudhave offer something more akin to an interactive talent directory.

Employees can create detailed profiles–listing skills, competencies and interests (relevant to their current roles or their career goals). Colleagues can search for experts in the company, and garner attention from peers and leadership by regularly lending expertise hand or sharing articles of interest. Managers can find viable candidates internally for key hires.


3. Motivating Career Management

One of social talent technology’s greatest value-adds for employees is in career management functionality. Systems like UpMo–the first enterprise talent network–are offering users a unique approach to career pathing by putting employees in the driver’s seat.

With UpMo, employees grow their internal network and their skills profile simultaneously, making them more appealing candidates for opportunities in the organization. Like other social talent technologies, there’s even a bit of gamification built in, which encourages usage and makes the process more engaging. Employees can give each other shout-outs for a killer meeting (a +1 in Presenting), or thanks for explaining Cloud computing (a +1 in Cloud).

This highly social product, which launched a free version last week, brings new energy to career management by keeping employees focused on growing within their organization.


4. Performance, Engagement and Reward Management.

As workplaces shift from the Industrial Age 9-5 hall monitoring to something altogether more dynamic, fluid and lifestyle balanced, so do our systems need to be able to cope with keeping across Performance whilst both Engaging and fairly Recognising/Rewarding people. Social Web based systems are the solution to this and companies like WorkSimple are leading the charge. Rob Fanshawe of 33 Talent has used WorkSimple to manage ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) in his last two companies:

“There were issues of continuous changes as with any early adoption but it is a great system and one of the only truly Social and Results focused systems out there, that consider both the employee and employer in equal measure” – Rob Fanshawe

WorkSimple offers companies flexible Results focussed and Social way to cover everything from Goals and activity through to rewards and appraisals and Rob’s evaluation of the product is as follows:

  • It’s Social– this is key to any true ROWE environment as it creates the “virtual” platform  necessary for people across the organisation to interact without having to physically be with them. I found it to be properly interactive and with high visibility.
  •  Its Results focussed – in other words everything everyone does is always contributing to an end goal, whether it be share or individual, town based or country wide.
  •  Its transparent – everyone knows where everyone stands so there is no miscommunication between management and employees. Mission, Values, Goals and Results are seamlessly linked
  •  Its real time – there’s no waiting around and subjectivity. Everything you do is rolled up into something else so results and reports are instantaneous. Updates and changes are immediate. You know how you’re tracking before the report comes out!

Its involving and supports recognition – “we found it great for making sure everyone is recognised by everyone else. It’s a great system for cross team and cross level sharing and rewarding.” says Rob.


Social Technology Has Hurdles to Clear

While the products described above offer significant value, social technologies as applied to talent management still have room to evolve. For example: Seamless integration with other systems (e.g. simply having a single sign-on across systems could greatly boost user adoption).

“It’s a real problem if every product requires another log-in or user profile,” says Joe Fuller, CIO at Dominion. “We want single sign-on–it’s the biggest complaint.”

What do you think are the greatest opportunities for social technology to drive innovation in talent management? What hurdles are there to clear before we see widespread adoption?


About the Author: Kyle Lagunas is the HR Analyst at Software Advice—an online for reviewing and comparing talent management software. On the surface, it’s his job to contribute to the ongoing conversation on all things HR. Beyond that, he makes sure his audience is keeping up with important trends and hot topics in the industry. Focused on offering a fresh take on points of interest in his market, he’s not your typical HR guy.


10 important tricks to employ when starting a new job

10 important tricks to employ when starting a new job

It’s always interesting working with people who’ve just started a new job. Whether they’re my own employees or people that I’ve placed into a new role elsewhere, that first 90 days really does determine whether they’re going to succeed or not. Furthermore, I think it sets an important tone for how they’ll perform in an ongoing basis.

In other words, the first 90 days really counts!

Here are some ideas about how you might be able to make the most of that time.

1.       Have a Plan

This was drilled into me early on in my career and I’m a big believer of it. I think it’s critical for every new employee, from the CEO down, to have a 90 day plan from the day they start. Your plan should be like a brief business plan. What’s the goal, what are the objectives to get there and when do they need to be achieved by? This one simple process will go a long way to keeping you focused when the pressures of learning a new role are doing their best to distract you.

2.       Define success

If you haven’t covered this fully as part of the interview process then you really need to very quickly understand exactly what success looks like! You need to understand the strategy, goals and expectations of the company and your boss. Then you need to make sure that your strategy, goals and expectations support that. In essence this means getting your boss to sign-off on your 90 day plan.

3.       Bring energy!

The energy you bring is very important in getting off to a good start. If you’re very introverted you might have to fake confidence to start with but things like taking the initiative to introduce yourself to your colleagues (rather than waiting to be introduced) can make a huge difference in how quickly you settle in. The simple things like a smile, eye contact, firm handshake and positivity go a long way.

4.       Seek to understand before being understood

One of the best people I’ve worked with was a guy who was brilliant at networking within the organisation. In his first 90 days he met with as many people as he could to understand exactly what worked, what didn’t work and why. He asked what people thought was missing from the role he was hired to do and what they would do differently if they were in his position. He found out about their role and how he could assist them. He built such great relationships based on his understanding of the business in the first 90 days that when it came time to implement changes people listened because he’d built credibility. People felt he understood them.

5.       Be systematic

There’s so much to learn in a new role that it can be quite overwhelming. As my old manager used to say, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time…” The fact is you’re not going to learn it all in your first week so part of your 90 day plan should be systematically ticking off each new aspect of your role you need to learn… in bite size chunks rather than all at once. Step one here might be sitting down with your boss and mapping out everything you’re expected to know… and this should go into your 90 day plan.

6.       Be proactive

The best way to make a good impression in your first 90 days is to be proactive rather than reactive. Don’t sit back and wait for someone to tell you what to do, go in search of what you think you should be doing. Any manager worth their salt would prefer you to create action, even if it’s not really what you’re meant to be doing, than to sit back and wait for them to have time in their busy day to attend to you. It’s also much easier for a manager to correct than to create, so if you’re really not sure what you’re doing put together a plan of attack and ask your manager to review it with you. They’ll love you for it!


Tip: If you’re being micro managed then chances are that’s because you’re not managing up effectively. Instead of waiting for your boss to tell you what to do, get in first and tell them what you’re planning to do! Give them an update at the end of the day. Do this until your boss is comfortable you know what you’re doing.

7.       Think before you ask

We all do it… we’re new, we’re not sure what to do so we don’t try and figure it out we just ask a question without thinking about it. The problem is that the learning process is sometimes about figuring it out! And perhaps more importantly when you’re first starting in a new job it’s not nice for your manager to get hundreds of simple questions all day long that you could have figured out yourself. That’s not to say you should spend a ridiculous amount of time struggling with something just for the sake of the learning experience or just so you don’t interrupt your boss, but you should think before asking the question. What are you options? Which is your best guess about the right option? Now you can ask a question that shows you’ve thought about it first.

8.       Be humble

Don’t assume that what made you successful in your old job will continue to do so. Assume you know absolutely nothing, ask for advice, actively listen.

9.       Get some early wins

How can you create value and improve the business in your first 90 days? These will likely be small wins, rather than revolutionary changes. You really want to seek to understand before being understood so it’s not a good idea to charge in swinging. Instead, look for the little wins that will help you build credibility and momentum.

10.   Mirror the best

Who are the best performers in your role within the company? You need to get to know these people. Ask them for a coffee, pick their brains, figure out how they think, how they approach things. Copy them. If you can’t find these people inside the company, look outside the company.


There are many more things we can do to ensure we are successful in our careers but I hope these were a good starting point.

Good luck!

Talent Strategy – a must for business now and for the future

Talent Strategy – a must for business now and for the future

One of the things that still baffles me in today’s market is the disconnect between CEO’s listing Talent as their number one pain point and priority and the lack of directional strategy advice being fed into them.

Talent is important – fact. Top Talent shortage is an issue and a major commercial inhibitor and yet in the vast majority of businesses it is not incorporated into the business strategy. Marketing, and Finance have strategies intrinsically linked to the business strategy but HR is rarely included and Talent (in its own right) next to never. If you spoke to a business leader and asked them to exclude Marketing and Finance from the business strategy they would tell you it’s impossible. This is where we need to get to if businesses are going to make the right decisions with regards to Talent. Talent leadership needs a seat at the table and I don’t mean HR, I mean Talent.

Any Talent strategy these days needs to consider two things 1) an exceptional acquisition model where the employment brand is strong and central to all other actions and 2) engagement that is fueled by meaningful development. If you don’t up-skill current staff you will need to find more new staff!

The other side to this coin you must consider is what Talent itself thinks. This shouldn’t be too difficult; after all you are not always the client. You yourself are the Talent too! Recessions, layoffs, boom and bust economics are a reality and people are always looking at their opportunities and risks. Things are not long term. Stability is rare. People will therefore always be considering how to get ahead and loyalty can never be one sided. The strategy must be honest about this and implement solutions around this. All ideas must be built around values true to the organisation and can cover initiatives such as flexibility, development, employment brand and engagement.

If attracting and retaining the best Talent is a serious ambition of your company then it must have a serious place in the wider business strategy, the leadership team, and the communications piece. Without these there will be no top talent, and no chance of competing in the business environment of the coming years.

If you wish to discuss your Talent strategy with us, please do not hesitate in contacting us and have a great half year ahead!

How do I advance my Career?

How do I advance my Career?

So you want to advance your career, but where do you start? Following are my top tips to success in advancing your career in a meaningful and sustainable way:

1)    The best place to start is with a career plan. A career plan is a written strategy which helps you realise and define your individual skills and interests and the steps from experience to training required to reach your goals.

There are few things as important as our career but most of us just leave it to chance and whim. Without focus and direction other than those imposed on us, we are leaving it all to the hands of others and are surprised it doesn’t turn out how we once dreamed it would. Take control and measure yourself against your progress. Work out what you are missing as you advance and make sure you get the tools, training and experience to get there. This is not a “written in stone” document but just like you, should be organic and evolving to help you to meet whatever new career aspirations you might have. Without it you will never remember what you wanted, where you’ve truly been and where you want to go. The basics of a plan should list the career goal, the requirements, current skills and interests, and the plan to reach the goal

2)    Self development. I cannot stress this enough. Yes, sure, you can lobby to get relevant corporate training and make sure you get yourself on the right courses paid for by your employer but no-one will take you seriously until you do yourself. This needs to be looked at in short, medium and long-term ways i.e. whilst keeping your chosen path, as well as your steps and goals in mind, you need to read quick articles (blogs, RSS feeds, Twitter, etc are good source for these), more strategic articles (white papers, studies etc) and then of course courses (online, books etc). They say information is power and they are right. You will not believe the confidence and value you will begin to be able to add at work and in your career community.

3)    Network. This is a do what it says on the tin kind of topic. Just network. Where? Wherever people in your chosen profession hang out i.e. your work, conferences, trade shows, chambers, online groups (Twitter / LinkedIn). You will get some many more opportunities and learnings from meeting and holding meaningful relationships with experts in your field, both in and out of work time.

4)    Personal brand development. A lot of this will come from the activity in 3) but it is important to first know what it is you want your brand to be i.e. what skills and attributes you want to be recognized for (this will tie into you planning and development) and then the marketing or ‘influence’ of those abilities so that even when you’re not physically there you are able to impact managers and colleagues.

5)    Don’t be an Island. The above point does not mean be a one man/woman glory show. In fact quite the opposite as it refers to being a meaningful brand for other people to relate to / respect. Providing support, help, ideas, successes and generally contributing to the team and company is the best way for you to shine.

6)    Support. This needs to be considered in a truly 360 degree way. Make sure that you regularly interact with your management about your aspirations and plans and get their buy-in and help in getting there. If it is realistic and planned they will believe in it and help. Also, find a mentor in the company if you can. If you need help, speak to HR or the MD about creating such a system. Life is about giving to receive. Support those around you and they will support you. If there is someone better than you in a certain area work out what you have to give them. Be a good team player – remember birthdays and special dates. Be reliable and care. Finally, support those below you. You can rarely go up unless there are people closely following behind. You can help people grow with you and as well as benefitting from watching them develop you will realise the benefits of it being tied in with yours.

This might seem like a lot but like all things in life, those things in life worth achieving take effort. Also, again like most things, with a lot of the effort front loaded in planning and strategy, the execution should be more painless and enjoyable. After all, this is your chosen career path so it should be something you like? You will be doing the job day in day out for most of your life so you might as well make the extra effort to make it a rewarding and fulfilling time!

Social Media vs. Time – is Social Media a horrible distraction?

Is it just me or is Social Media like TV used to be when I was in my teens (I don’t really watch it these days!) – A black hole for time?!

This is rhetorical because I will tell you, it isn’t just me. I have asked around countless friends and colleagues and everyone seems to know it, but not have the realisation until it’s vocalised and even then want to ignore it, like saying something against Social Media is a sin…

Now, before I do get lynched for the title by all the digital / mobile / social media purists out there I would like to point out I specialise in Talent in this space, I LURRVE technology and all the new platforms we get to interact on / with and I am so far from a “not in my life ANTI digitalist” it’s not funny….however, what concerns me is simply that is it too addictive for people to trust themselves around it…just like TV used to be.

I have spent 5 hours so far today locked away at home (Go #ROWE!) building an RFP for a major banking tender we are through to the 2nd round of. However, a lot of that time has been flitting between this and Tweets, comments on blogs, articles, arguments and generally being social (in my line of work I would like to add). It’s not that I spent any particularly long sustained period of time on any one Tweet or comment. Rather it took me away from what I was doing (a complex and thought proving RFP tender response) long enough for me to lose my thread and therefore oodles of time ramping up and down….the answer – I shut them all down. This might fill some people with horror (it really is ok you know – I haven’t passed into obscurity or anything) and to others it might seen obvious. On the latter I would like to say two things though. It often isn’t obvious until it comes to you like a light bulb moment or if someone suggests it. As it goes I am actually quite good at chunking time – I just never thought to close down my social accounts when working. It’s all too new and shiny and exciting (and work related!) – a dangerous combination.

So, yes Social Media is a horrible distraction when you are trying to work on something else, and so like all things that are distractions from your end goals, don’t have it on in the background. Devote time to it when you need to and make sure it’s all off when you really have to concentrate on specific tasks that have nothing to do with social platforms. You will feel liberated!

Finally some useful tips on doing one thing at a time form OrganizeIT for those that are thinking, ‘well this sounds like a plan, but what now? I’m rubbish at time management anyway…’:  http://tinyurl.com/4nv2cc