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Is Talent Diversity a Business Strategy?

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Expert Perspective from Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

Our editorial board mulled over a February 20, 2012 article written by Gail Johnson (Bombardier: Giving women wings)where she quotes  Elisabeth Bussé, (director of leadership development and talent management at the Dorval, Que.-based organization, a division of Montreal’s Bombardier Inc. BBD.B-T) as saying: “Increasing diversity is a business strategy: We want our employees to be representative of the community in which we do business.”

Johnson adds: “Women have made up two-thirds of the recent growth in the Canadian work force, climbing from 35 per cent in the 1970s to 50 per cent in 2005…”

For most women in the business world, these are facts and sentiments they have heard before, for decades.
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Competency Models Must Support Creatively and Innovation (among other things)

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Expert Perspective from Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

We enjoyed and for the most part agree with the recent blog in Forbes by Chunka Mui “Are the People in Your Organization Too Smart to be Creative?”  It may seem incongruous that scholarly research “in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology by Jennifer Mueller, Jack Goncalo, and Dishan Kamdar found that open expression of creative ideas was negatively correlated with perceptions of leadership potential” while studies of CEO’s by PWC found that “…innovation was a key focal point.”  IBM found that creativity was “…the most important leadership quality”.  

What that shows is that CEO’s either 1) don’t know themselves or their biases very well, or 2) their definitions of creativity and innovation differ for themselves and their possible successors.  CEOs may hold the belief that “my type of creativity and innovation is ‘good’ and yours is ‘bad’”.  Let’s face it, it’s very hard to see oneself objectively, perhaps especially if you are a hard driving, effective CEO. 
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Identifying Candidates Who Fit In With Your Company’s Culture

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Expert Perspective from Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

We enjoyed reading and discussing Adam Bryant’s interview with Michael Lebowitz, founder and C.E.O. of Big Spaceship, (Hey, Rock Stars: Take Your Show Someplace Else  in the January 30, 2011 issue of the New York Times.

Bryant quotes Lebowitz as saying: “Don’t hire jerks, no matter how talented…  The second- or third- or fourth-best candidate who isn’t a jerk is going to ultimately provide way more value.”

We understand what he is saying: someone may be technically very highly qualified but if the individual’s personal or leadership style doesn’t fit with the company culture, then he or she likely will not be the best candidate. 
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The New Year’s Resolutions HR Should Have Made (Note: there is still time!)

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Expert Perspective from Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

Of course, we are technically three weeks into the New Year, but there is still time to take stock of your HR plans and consider what steps you can take to make the most of the opportunities for and dodge the threats to your valuable human resource assets.

We can’t predict the future and many would say there are plenty of unknowns about the employment market for 2011, but one thing is for sure, the US is slowly recovering.  According to a January 14, 2011 article by Economics Writer Jeannine Averaa, published on Yahoo (Industrial production rises by most in 5 months) “Overall industrial activity has risen 11 percent since hitting its recession low in June 2009. But it is still 6 percent below its peak reached in September 2007.”   The article continues, quoting Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, saying: “recent economic activity suggests the economic recovery is through its soft patch… [with] stronger growth this year, between 3.5 percent and 4 percent.”

Ron Scherer, staff writer for the CS Monitor writes in his January 7, 2011 article (Unemployment rate drops to 9.4 percent, but little cheer in jobless report) “The US economy finished 2010 with only lukewarm job gains [and]…  the unemployment rate fell from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent – its lowest level since May 2009, which partially reflects fewer people actively looking for work.”

Discouragement on the part of job seekers isn’t surprising since, according to the article: “From the start of the recession in December 2007 to its end in June 2009, the US economy lost between 6 million and 8 million jobs. In 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy gained only 700,000 jobs back after not adding any jobs in 2009.”

So what does economic recovery with stubborn unemployment mean for HR? Simply that your BEST employees remain key targets for recruiters.   If you haven’t taken the necessary step yet to retain these individuals, you must get started, NOW.  They first fundamental step in the process, which is often overlooked, is to determine which positions and which people are key to your company’s success.  As we said on our blog When the Going Gets Tough Keep the Best From Going , first identify the key roles and those people who contribute most to the bottom line, then create the infrastructure that supports, develops, nurtures and appropriately compensates these individuals.

High unemployment coupled with the fact that many companies have had to rein in incentive program, raises, and bonuses in order to survive give recovering and growing companies the opportunity to upgrade talent without over spending. At the same time a company identifies its key positions, it must determine if the individuals holding those positions are top talent.  If not, this jobs market can offer the chance to improve key talent in critical positions while controlling compensation and recruitment costs.
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In His Own Image: How Competency Models Compel Uniformity

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

Creating, promoting and nurturing diversity in the workplace has long been a focus of human resources efforts.  Whether its religion, race, gender, cultural or lifestyle differences, we agree that all enhance the work environment.   Why then do performance review, talent management review and leadership competency models inevitably reflect only the qualities, traits and characteristic of the current leaders? 
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Don’t Get In a Twist About Human Capital Turnover

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Expert Perspective Form Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

Jon Picoult made some sensible points in his recent article published in the New York Times (Here Comes a Turnover Storm) but in a few important ways he missed the boat.  No doubt there will be turnover when the job market picks up and perhaps most of that is due to employee discontent. But more importantly, before people  begin leaving (because they always do), a company should design its reward and retention programs to hold onto those, frankly, very few, who are the most important to the company. These few, in most cases not more than 15% of the workforce, are those individuals who contribute to the competitive advantage the company offers. 
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Filed under: Expert Perspective - Rewards



Redefining Jobs Helps Companies Survive a Recession and Prosper Afterwards

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Expert Perspective from Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

There can be advantages to a recession, though not for the laid off worker, of course, or for the manager delegated the difficult task of making those layoffs, or even for the retained workers needing to do more work in the same workday.  But the company as a whole can benefit from tough economic times. 
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The Power Play: Employee Engagement May Not Be Relevant at All Levels

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

We think that Katherine Ratkiewicz missed the mark in her article Replacing Rahm.  Ok maybe  Ratkiewicz is just trying to “engage” some HR folks into attending the Engagement & Retention Conference.  But to suggest that Rahm Emanuel is leaving the Obama administration because he is “…feeling disengaged” is just silly.   As Obama’s Chief of Staff, Mr. Emanuel is one of the most important figures in the Obama administration.  He holds significant power: granting or withholding access, helping Obama determine priorities, etc.   To draw a parallel to the business word, Emanuel is an amalgam of C-Suite Administration and Operations executives with a healthy dollop of a “gate keeping” Lead Administrative Assistant.  
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Well you think you’ll be just fine… without me (Legend of the Rent)

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Expert Perspective from Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

In his August 21, 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal (The End of Management  adapted from The Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management by Alan Murray. Copyright 2010 by Dow Jones & Co. Published by Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), Alan Murray writes: “‘Modern’ management is nearing its existential moment… the trends here are big and undeniable. Change is rapidly accelerating. Transaction costs are rapidly diminishing. And as a result, everything we learned in the last century about managing large corporations is in need of a serious rethink… The new model will have to be more like the marketplace… flexible, agile, able to quickly adjust to market developments, and ruthless in reallocating resources to new opportunities.”

Our Grahall Editorial Board read this article with great interest and unanimously concluded that Murray’s description of what the future will bring to companies is happening somewhere, in fact it is happening at Grahall!  
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“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Steven Jobs

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Expert Perspective by Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board

Just like the recession of the early 1990’s (think back to the battle between “41” and Bill Clinton for the White House), it became clear when the economy, “stupid”, did turn around that many of the jobs lost in that recession were simply not coming back.  Instead they were obsolete, outsourced, off-shored or automated to save businesses money and improve their bottom line.  When it is a fight for survival, even the stodgiest of companies will innovate to save money and their futures.  In part the problem then, as it is now, is that there is a serious lag between business innovation (for example outsourcing, off-shoring and automation) and educational innovation to put today’s graduates in a position to handle today’s jobs. 


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