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Essentials of Human Resource Training and Development

Posted By Russel Stuart, Friday, March 01, 2013
In a nutshell, Human Resource training and development should be of such nature that it should oil the human resources machinery making it something that takes the organization forward. If Human Resource training and development is not professional or appropriate; the result is a bureaucratic setup that is a hindrance to everyone in the organization. Rather than get mired in mindless formalities; HR should facilitate the growth of the organization, for all of which Human Resource training and development is the foundation.

Human Resource training and development is the imparting of necessary knowledge and skills to a human resource professional in the organization. This is necessary for a number of reasons. HR professionals are very important for the organization. They need continuous upgrade of their skills and attitudes. Training them to bring them on par with the organization's goals and in tune with the industry trends is necessary, since well-equipped HR professionals are the means to ensuring optimal performance from the organization's employees.

Recruitment techniques

Since HR is engaged in what is perhaps the most important task for the organization –that of selecting employees who will become valuable resources –Human Resource training and development has to be focused on the right techniques for recruitment. Human Resource training and development should include ways by which the HR professional goes about finding the right candidate for every position in the organization.

This technique is not about just posting requirements on jobsites and bringing the candidate to the interview panel. Each interview has to be meaningful and effective. It is a session in which the employees who are going to become part of the organization are selected. For this to be meaningful, Human Resource training and development should be such that even a junior HR professional in the organization is able to make the right choice. Human Resource training and development should be focused on training the HR professional to understand requirements threadbare from the organizational perspective.

Send the right candidate for next round

The HR professional who is in charge of recruitment should be able to gather requirements from respective managers. When the candidate is finally passed on to the manager for a further round; there should be very less wastage of time. For this to happen, the HR professional should be in complete sync with the requirements. Technical or non-technical, the requirement should be thoroughly understood. When HR interviews a candidate, it should be a formality for the higher up manager to whom the candidate will eventually report. This is a technique that Human Resource training and development within the organization has to hone in the HR professional.

Policies and regulations

Another important work of HR's is to enforce policies and regulations. For this too, the HR of the organization has to be thoroughly trained. Human Resource training and development should be of such quality and relevance that no regulation should be out of place with the employees or out of alignment with company vision. In the first place, HR formulates rules for the organization. Although it makes rules and regulations in consultation with management; it should ensure that these reflect the organization's culture and are employee-friendly.

Staying tuned to organization is important

When a policy is unpopular, it is HR which gets rapped. Human Resource training and development should be such that these rules are not only in line with the organization's ethics and image; they should be popular with employees, as well. In fact, Human Resource training and development should be of such standard that it should be able to identify any discrepancy and be able to come up with suggestions to managements at the time of formulation itself. All this would become possible only with sound Human Resource training and development.

Tags:  HRPS  human resources management 

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Ideas & Conversations: From P&S Journal to the Global Conference

Posted By Jane E. Brenneman SPHR, Friday, February 22, 2013

What a great special edition of the People and Strategy journal - focused on Sustaining Purpose for Impact. It's definitely worth taking time to read it. What do you think?

Both the content and the new digital format are fantastic. As someone who appreciates maximizing time, effort and outcomes, it was great to read articles that are thought provoking, accessible and, oh so timely. And, if it couldn't get any better, there is a strong alignment of this special edition with the upcoming 2013 Global Conference focused on Renewing Organizational Vitality, April 14th – 17th in Denver.

It's great to post one's reactions to journal articles (as I've done below) and engage in virtual dialogue (which I'm hoping will happen). Yet, given the connection of these articles to Global Conference topics, I'm definitely looking forward to further "live and in person” discussions during the conference. In particular sessions such as Monday morning's Bridging the Gap: Eliminating Impediments to Business Performance by Building Talent Flexibility and Capacity or Monday afternoon's 3 Provocative Ideas: "Inspiring Creativity, Energy and Innovation", or Tuesday morning's Organizational Approaches to Unleashing Energy, Vitality and Innovation

All the articles in this issue of the journal are thought provoking. There are a number of topics from this journal that really resonated with what I've been observing and experiencing recently in my work.

Simon L. Dolan's and Yochanan Altman's Managing by Values: The Leadership Spirituality Connection made the connection between the "…instrumental values of the real business world and the spiritual needs for experiencing life that sustain it.” And yet, they also observed in their conclusions that, "The ‘experiencing of life,' as an existential agenda is often missing from the pages of management journals.” I couldn't agree more and would add: it should be incorporated into our B-school and higher education management curriculum.

Joseph McCann's and John Selsky's article Being Purposeful in Turbulent Environments, spoke to a critical topic for all organizations – how to sustain high performance in the face of unending, disruptive change. They identified the need for highly developed adaptive capacity, consisting of agility and resiliency. Citing five essential capabilities needed for adaptive capacity, the first, "purposeful” caught my attention. We often think of individual's seeking their life purpose and organizations having a purpose for existing, but they offer an intriguing way to look at the "purposeful” capability across the full spectrum of a whole system: individual, team, organization and the meta level (ecosystem).

Then reading The Changing Tides of Careers, by Edie Goldberg, the connection with a "purposeful” capability and the concepts presenting in Dolan's and Altman's article is further strengthened as her research bears out an emerging new employee perspective on "career success”. In contrast to a more traditional "career success” definition involving "…tangible items such as title, money and power” her research identified a new, emerging definition. Coined as the "Contemporary” perspective, career success is defined as involving "…a more intrinsic means of satisfaction such as being challenged, being able to fully utilize one's skills, having impact and the ability to achieve work-life balance.”

So, all in all, I give a big thumbs up for the People and Strategy journal, Volume 35, Issue 4.

What is your take on this journal? It would be great to start a ‘virtual' conversation prior to the conference followed by more robust ‘live' conversation in Denver at the conference!

Tags:  HRPS  HRPS Global Conference  People & Strategy 

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Treat Your Employees as Consumers

Posted By Thomas O. Davenport, Senior Consultant, Towers Watson, Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The economic roller coaster we’ve ridden over the past 20 years has brought many challenges to Human Resources. Not the least of these has been the struggle to define - and redefine - the relationship between employers and employees. Organizations have tried a collection of analogs, metaphors and sound bites to reflect a complex and shifting connection. Since the early 90s, employees have evolved from personnel to resources, from costs to assets, from hired hands to associates, from workers to thinkers, from cogs in the industrial machine to cogs in the customer service machine. For employees, it’s felt like a good old fashioned 1969-style identity crisis.

I propose another, more constructive way for organizations to think about their employees: as consumers of the company’s mission, culture and rewards programs. External customers trade with companies based on their perceptions of the value proposition represented by the organizations’ products and services. Similarly, internal consumers (employees) select organizations for the value proposition they offer. People come to work with a mental briefcase full of something employers want: the human capital (skills, talent, knowledge and behaviors) employees own. This intangible asset, combined with other organizational resources, creates value for the enterprise.  In return for this currency, employers provide a bundle of enticements to get people in the door, to encourage them to be productive and to discourage them from taking a job across the street.

However the deal between individual and organization may be constructed, the most effective companies borrow a page from the procedure manual of the strategic marketing function. They apply the marketing concept to employee-employer exchange. The marketing concept relies on two fundamental philosophies: that firms design their value propositions by first analyzing and understanding the needs of customers; and that they should then find financially prudent ways to meet those needs better than the competition. Contrast this idea with the production concept ("if we make it, they will come”) and the sales concept ("if we sell it hard enough, they will buy it”). The production concept can work when competitors offer a limited array of features in their offerings. The sales concept may succeed when consumers lack information about what else is available in the market. In the 21st century world of work, however, competition for talent is intense. Employees, moreover, have extensive knowledge of the employment deals offered by rival companies. In this environment, the production and sales concepts are largely out-dated, bell bottoms and go-go boots in a world of skinny jeans and Manolo Blahniks. An organization’s goal, of course, should be to start with the marketing concept but also take selected elements from the other two philosophies to build a coherent value proposition strategy. It flows like this: understand your employees needs and values, define reward offerings that address these, be economically prudent in delivering rewards and communicate to the employee population in a clear and compelling way.

Thomas O. Davenport
, Senior Consultant, Towers Watson
Co-author, with Stephen D. Harding, of Manager Redefined: The Competitive Advantage in the Middle of Your Organization

The views and content expressed in this blog post constitute the opinion of the blog author and the author alone; they do not represent the views and opinions of the author’s employers, supervisors, nor do they represent the view of organizations, businesses or institutions the author is a part of.

Tags:  HR planning  HRM  HRPS  human capital management  human resources management  human resources planning  talent management 

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Build Over Buy: Accelerating Internal Readiness to Close Succession Gaps

Posted By Jeremy Braidish, Vice President, Organizational Development & Learning, Honeywell, Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Like many companies, particularly large ones, Honeywell faces the issue of not having enough "Ready Now” successors for key leadership positions. In some cases, we may have one potential successor at "Ready Now” and no one else. In others, the closest successor is likely not ready for another for 2-3 years and therefore we have succession gaps.

I wouldn’t say that it’s widespread, but there are (and have been) enough examples indicating the need to do something more thoughtfully and intentionally to close the gaps. Plus, like many, the current economic environment, and subsequent cost constraints, has limited how often we can turn to the external market for talent. We had and still have to find a ways to accelerate internal readiness and back in 2008 we changed things up a bit in terms of our approach.

Honeywell went back to some basic talent management principles. We challenged leaders to succession plan to the role, not the person (i.e. the incumbent), by first identifying the critical success factors for key roles in terms of skills, experience and behaviors. These success factors generated an exemplar profile, the "Michael Jordan” (in honor of Chicago) of whatever role we were focusing on. Honeywell used this profile as the basis for an assessment and then took a group of potential successors and assessed them against the profile. From the assessment, we got a baseline of how well the potential successors stacked up against what right looks like. We obviously want everyone to "be like Mike,” but how far away are they and how much development effort is required to get them ready? This data then served as a great platform for targeted, individual development for those identified as potential successors.

This overall approach and framework has been used over and over again for a variety of key positions and I look forward to sharing the process and tools with you in October during my session, "Build Over Buy: Accelerating Internal Readiness to Close Succession Gaps” at the 2012 HRPS Strategic Talent Management Forum.  

Jeremy Bradish leads all organizational development, design, talent management, performance management and talent development activities within Corporate, as well as across EMEA, APAC, and Latin America. In his strategy & functional transformation role, Jeremy is responsible for development of the overall HR strategy and annual operating plan. Jeremy works with the businesses and HR centers of excellence to set standards for quality and performance while ensuring that the HR function meets its financial commitments to the Company. Jeremy joined Honeywell in 2008 having previously served as Vice President, Learning & Development at Equifax. He previously held a number of notable human resource leadership positions at companies such as Dell and Accenture (fka Andersen Consulting). 

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Sustaining Employee Engagement

Posted By Thomas O. Davenport, Senior Consultant, Towers Watson, Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2012

For years, it seems to me, the world of organizational development has focused its attention on the strategic importance of effective executive leadership. If you have a great leader at the helm, the conventional wisdom says, your corporate ship can weather any storm and find its way through the roughest seas to a prosperous destination. By extension, you’ll have a happy and engaged crew that eagerly trims the sails, pulls the oars and mans the cannon to fight off competitors. Nautical metaphors aside, it’s appealingly simple notion: great captains make for successful voyages. Certainly, the captains of industry have bought this concept. In a study done by The Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, 63% of C-suite respondents said that they and their top teams have the chief organizational responsibility for employee engagement.

Top leadership matters, of course, but it’s not all that matters. In the same Economist Intelligence Unit report, managers further down in the organization said they believe that the motivational ability of an employee’s immediate line manager is the main driver of engagement. They put senior executive values and vision farther down the list of engagement factors. It strikes me that many chief executives need to realize that operational managers, through their efforts to guide, motivate and develop employees, have a more direct influence on production, customer service and strategy execution than…well, than executives. Great C-suite leaders may keep the boat sailing toward the New World, but without great managers, it will sink before it gets there.

Recent research by Towers Watson confirms that the effectiveness of the immediate line manager is a critical factor in employees’ ability to sustain high levels of engagement during challenging times. We define engagement as the rational, emotional and motivational connections between employees and the companies they work for. Employees can sustain high levels of engagement when their work environments support productivity (that is, employees are enabled) and promote personal well-being (they feel energized). When engagement, enablement and energy come together, the result is sustainable engagement. In our 2012 analysis of the global workforce, quality of supervision emerged as the #4 sustainable engagement driver.

It falls to human resources management to lead the way in improving employee engagement and the factors that sustain it through difficult periods. HR certainly faces some challenges in achieving this goal. Our data indicate, for example, that 65 percent of the global workforce is either disengaged or unable to consistently sustain high levels of engagement (see the graphic below). Their organizations may suffer as a result – they may fall short in innovation, customer service or operational efficiency. I believe that there is no more important element of HR strategy than to improve the processes – recruitment, promotion, training, measurement and rewarding – required to build a population of supervisors and managers who can increase and sustain employee engagement.

Sustainable Engagement = Engagement + Enablement + Energy



Thomas O. Davenport
, Senior Consultant, Towers Watson
Co-author, with Stephen D. Harding, of
Manager Redefined: The Competitive Advantage in the Middle of Your Organization 

The views and content expressed in this blog post constitute the opinion of the blog author and the author alone; they do not represent the views and opinions of the author’s employers, supervisors, nor do they represent the view of organizations, businesses or institutions the author is a part of.

Tags:  employee engagement  HR planning  HRM  HRPS  human resources management  human resources planning 

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