were-only-human-logoIn the latest episode of We’re Only Human, I explore talent mobility and its applications in the workplace. Talent mobility is the practice of using internal talent to fill temporary or permanent roles.

Unlike succession, which is typically a top-down approach, talent mobility takes into account the interests and aspirations of employees.  As a talent practice, the idea of talent mobility isn’t necessarily new. However, there is renewed interest in the topic due to some interesting trends covered in the podcast, including changes in career longevity, employee ownership over career paths and work tasks, the gig economy, and challenges with sourcing high performers.

In addition, I examine some case studies and examples of companies that are doing interesting work with talent mobility, including World Bank Group, Chipotle, and Hootsuite.

Listen to the show on the show page HERE or using the widget player below, (Email and RSS subscribers click through)

For more information about Talent Mobility you can check out my presentation on Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/beneubanks/talent-mobility-the-key-to-engagement-retention-and-performance

As a reminder, you can subscribe to We’re Only Human and all the HR Happy Hour Podcast shows on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and all the major podcast player apps – just search for ‘HR Happy Hour’ to subscribe and never miss a show!

Talent Leadership book by John Mattone

“Talent leadership” seems like the most broad category you can possibly imagine. I couldn’t stop the thought from entering my mind; however, less than ten pages into this book I realized that it was not going to be what I expected. This thing is full of highly detailed, hands-on activities that you can use to identify and develop your high potential employees. This is even a succession planning handbook, among other things. The diverse topics under one “umbrella” make “talent leadership” a great title for this book.

talent leadership bookWhat I liked

  • The talent leadership book kicks off early with a great quote: accurate information drives effective strategies. Want to make the right choices in terms of overall direction/strategy? Make sure you have accurate information (not only with lagging indicators, but with leading indicators).
  • A survey by SHRM-the Society for Human Resource Management-points out the #1 problem for organizations today: building a strong pool of successors for each position/level. If you haven’t had a conversation on succession planning within your organization, you’re behind the curve. To be honest I have brought it up a few times, but without a plan for identifying and preparing those candidates, the conversation always moves to the back burner.
  • A, B, C players–if you don’t know which one someone is, how do you know if you should invest in them or pass them over for development opportunities? It’s a core talent leadership question that you need to be able to answer. For more on the A/B/C discussion, see my series on the topic (part 1 and part 2).
  • The 10 key elements of a strong performance management system: employee involvement, valid performance criteria, year-round process, proper preparation, avoiding stereotypical thinking, input from others, consistency, rating integrity, dialogue, and employee ownership. In my organization I’d say we are doing at least six of those really well. How about you? 
  • In the appendix (page 249 for those following along) there is a phenomenal diagnostic tool for evaluating the health of your succession management program. I’d say step one is to get one in place if you don’t already have one,  but step two is to continuously evaluate it to make sure it’s producing results. This tool will help you manage that part of the talent leadership puzzle well.

Wrap up

And there you have it. If you’re looking at how you can identify and develop your own high potential employees and set up a strong succession planning system based on facts instead of “Bob looks like he might be a high potential, so let’s pay him more to make him stay with us.” Click here to get your copy.

Click here for other book reviews or to learn about why you need a reading list for leadership.

hit by a bus-succession planning at its finestLast week I attended a NASHRM luncheon called Growing and Buying Talent for Tomorrow, and it focused mainly on succession planning. I thought it sounded interesting, so I went to the lunch meeting. Little did I know that it would raise some interesting questions that I hadn’t considered before. Sure, you think about the usual reasons to plan for succession:

  • what if person x leaves suddenly?
  • what if person y retires?
  • what if person z needs a defined career track to stay engaged?

But the thing that I stopped to seriously consider was the proverbial “getting hit by a bus” scenario.

I kid about it often at work as a way to emphasize the importance of documenting processes and the arcane knowledge tidbits that are floating around the brains of our engineers. “We need to write this down in case Bob gets hit by a bus” might sound silly, but it gives you a chilling visualization about how true it really is.

Maybe it’s a stress-related illness that puts the person out of work for a while. Maybe it’s a family illness and the employee needs to become the primary caregiver. Whatever the case, it needs to be something you consider. If you want to share the phrase to get a laugh, feel free, but understand the underlying implications and plan accordingly.

What would you do if one of your key people was “hit by a bus” and couldn’t work for you ever again? Would you survive? What would the cost impact be?