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Monday, October 31, 2016

Identifying and Developing High Potential Leaders

by Stephen Hrop, Ph.D., Vice President of Organizational Development Services at Caliper 

In recent years, numerous articles and conferences have addressed the topic of identifying high potential (Hipo) leaders. For example, the “9-Box” model has become a nearly universal standard for identifying Hipos over the past 20 years because of its highly publicized usage at GE under CEO Jack Welch in the 1990s. However, that model provides absolutely no guidance on how to define “high potential". 
In fact, many organizations have great difficulty differentiating genuine Hipos from those who have a track record of strong performance. As noted in a Harvard Business Review article (“How to Keep Your Top Talent”; May 2010), only about 30 percent of high performing leaders have significant advancement potential. Put another way, 70 percent of high performing leaders do not qualify as “high potential”! What this suggests is that a track record of high performance is a necessary, but not sufficient, factor in determining advancement potential. Nor does the 9-Box model shed any light on how to develop Hipos once they’re identified. The rest of this article will focus on these topics.
As a former head of talent management for a major corporation and now an executive coach and succession planning consultant, I’ve observed three factors that consistently differentiate Hipos from others who are strong performers, but not genuine Hipos. The first factor is resourcefulness. This is the ability to quickly overcome non-routine obstacles to the achievement of objectives. Hipos are able to find a way forward in these situations and rarely get “stuck”.
The second factor is what I call “Leader GPS”. Hipos are able to navigate a much larger landscape in their approach to work. They have an intense outside-in perspective (e.g., an awareness of external best practices and major trends in their industry) and think cross-functionally. In contrast, many top performers who are not Hipos are more internally focused and think mostly within their functional silo.
The third factor is being future-focused. Hipos think beyond their immediate circumstances by anticipating potential issues and opportunities much farther into the future than top performers who are not Hipos. To paraphrase the late Stephen Covey, they focus on both the urgent and the important.
While Hipos possess many of the same attributes as top performers who are not Hipos (e.g., communication skills and teamwork), the three factors outlined above can help you differentiate between genuine Hipos and top performers with limited advancement potential.
So once you’ve identified your organization’s Hipos, what’s the best way to develop them? There is substantial evidence that on-the-job (OTJ) experiences that get leaders outside of their comfort zone provide far superior development to other approaches such as workshops, training programs, and executive education programs. However, these OJT experiences need to be planned and the leader needs to internalize “lessons learned” by objectively reflecting on his/her actions and actively seeking feedback during and after these OJT experiences.

Some of the best methods for doing this are keeping a personal journal (ideally the Hipo will discuss key journal entries with an internal mentor or external coach), participating in a 360-degree feedback assessment every 1-2 years and identifying specific OTJ developmental experiences based on that feedback, and working with an executive coach who deeply understands these principles of individual “action learning”. These methods achieve proven results in an accelerated timeframe, so are the ideal vehicle for Hipo development.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Straight Scoop: Why Employee-Authored Content is a Branding Powerhouse

By Phil Strazzulla Pat is looking for a new job. She sees an opening that looks promising and realizes it’s at the company where her friend Terry works.

You might think that the first thing she’ll ask Terry is, “Can you put in a good word for me with the hiring manager?”

But you might be surprised. Because the first thing that Pat would ask—or that when you really think about it, any of us would ask—is, “What’s it like to work there?”

Sure, Pat could read the company description from the ad or online, or look at some of the company’s communications materials, but she doesn’t want the glossy key messages. She wants to hear from someone who’s in the trenches, so to speak. It’s pretty simple. So simple as to be obvious. And yet, it’s a truth that is completely forgotten about by most companies: when it comes to your reputation as a workplace, talent trusts your people more than your PR.

Employer Branding and Your Staff

Your reputation as a workplace is the underlying principle behind employer branding. You can have an amazing brand as a company, and your product can be the hot name on everybody’s lips. But if your reputation as an employer is a giant question mark (or worse, a hazard sign), you won’t be the top choice of the talented and energetic people you want on your team.

“But Phil, we’ve got a great corporate culture!” you say. “Everybody enjoys their work, challenges themselves and their teammates, respects each other, and really believes in why we’re doing what we do!”

That’s great, but nobody’s going to find out about it if you don’t pass the mic to your employees and let them tell the world. But, by curating employee-generated content, you can harness a cost-effective and powerful way to cement your employer branding and improve your transparency.

Your People: A Trusted Resource

Employee-generated content can be as simple as some quick blurbs from staff in different departments that describe their roles and what they enjoy about working for you or regular blog posts from a rotating roster of staff members. When made prominent and easily accessible on your company’s website, this employee-generated content acts as an army of “Terry”s, giving curious talent an authentic sense of your company’s culture.

Making it work will take some effort. You want to make it as painless and quick as possible for your staff members, so that you’re not taking away from their other duties more than necessary. This may require some extra prep work from management to organize and plan this content, configure templates, and devise other ways to make it as rewarding as possible for staff to participate in this. But it’ll all be worth it when the people who would fit best into your company can see that fit from the outside, spurring them to consider you before any other employer.
Nobody knows more on the topic of what talent cares about than the talent that’s already within your doors. So why not encourage your staffers to give an authentic picture of your story at a time?

Phil Strazzulla is the CEO of NextWave Hire, an employer branding software company that allows companies to collect hundreds of authentic employee stories, and then distribute them through career pages, social media, and various other channels.  NextWave works with companies like Dropbox,, CEB and more to help them build their brands and attract the best talent.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Embracing Internal Mobility: How to Successfully Manage the Re-Hiring Process

By Lisa Sterling, Chief People Officer, Ceridian

Changing roles at work, or “transboarding,” is not a new trend. It is, in fact, a reality of today’s world of work. Several trends play a part, namely retiring baby boomers, the need to fill their positions, and a new workplace dynamic and work/life mindset at play. Organizations are staffing for project-based teams rather than lifelong employment, and employees are placing more value on the ability to move in and out of the workforce depending on their life situation.

When we talk about transboarding—or internal mobility, as I prefer to think of it—we’re not just talking about moving up the career ladder within the confines of one’s current workplace function. Apart from this natural trajectory, internal mobility also includes navigating teams, departments, projects. and/or geographical locations culminating in a new set of responsibilities, colleagues, managers, direct reports, partners, and expectations. 

A successful transboarding experience is just as important as a successful onboarding experience when it comes to sustaining employee engagement and retention. Transboarding is a leadership opportunity that requires a commitment to employees and an understanding of the importance of workplace culture, subcultures by function, fit, and the significance of personal touchpoints, to ensure a smooth transition and continued career success.

Here are some ways employers can prepare for transboarding and successfully transboard existing staff into new roles within the company:

  •        Understand the vision and values of their new workplace function, which may be different from their previous function within the organization.
  •        Offer technology and people resources to help them succeed.
  •        Provide the educational opportunities necessary to manage and lead a diverse workforce while taking into account differences in geographical location, tenure, and personality.
  •        Give clear expectations about what success looks like, from the beginning.

The above points are fundamental to a successful transboarding experience, but  HCM (human capital management) technology can also play an important role in enabling a seamless transition. Such a transition means cultural assimilation and engagement of an employee who is transferring roles and joining a new team—with connectivity, communication and collaboration. 

Here’s how:
  •  Using single cloud-based HCM technology, create awareness of how the employee’s new job activities impact the overall company.
  •    Leverage personal and team relatability surveys to understand how transboarded employees can work best with others and drive higher level of interactions between managers and employees and teams.
  •  Automate the transfer of information into all HCM processes for accuracy, efficiency, productivity, and a seamless employee experience when transboarding from role to role.

By engaging transboarded employees as well as new hires faster, organizations can effectively build internal mobility into their culture, see a decrease in potential first-year attrition, and better enable employees to do their jobs. Through connectivity, communication, collaboration with HCM technology, and above all, a commitment by leaders to create a personalized and delightful employee experience, transboarded individuals have a high potential of remaining engaged, happy, and productive.

Lisa Sterling is the Chief People Officer for Ceridian, focused on executing the organization’s global people strategy combined with leading the vision of Dayforce Talent Management. Lisa originally joined Ceridian in June 2015 as Vice President of Dayforce Talent Management, responsible for global product strategy for Talent technologies. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How HR Managers Can Ease Open Enrollment Stress

By Randy Stram, Senior Vice President, Group, Voluntary and Worksite Benefits at MetLife

Open enrollment season is coming up, and employees across the nation will face benefits enrollment decisions that will impact their families, finances, and themselves.

Choosing the right benefits is arguably one of the most important decisions employees will make for the coming year. However, many employees are confused by the process. According to MetLife’s 14th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, nearly half (44 percent) of all employees report feeling stressed by the enrollment process, and 42 percent say they are confused about some or all of the information they receive regarding their benefits.

As benefits enrollment coordinators for their organizations, HR managers are well-positioned to add value to the process and, as a result, improve outcomes for both their employees and employers. Here are a few simple ways they can do so:

·       Offer a wide variety of benefits. Employees want choice in their benefits to meet their specific needs. In fact, more than half (55 percent) of employees say they are interested in having their employer provide a wider array of non-medical benefits that they can choose to pay for on their own, and over two-thirds (70 percent) strongly agree that having benefits customized to meet their needs would increase their loyalty to their employer, according to the study. To drive loyalty among employees, especially during enrollment season, HR managers should keep this top-of-mind.

·       Clearly communicate the practical and financial value of benefits. According to the study, only one-third (37 percent) of employees find that their company’s benefits communications are easy to understand, which underscores the confusion and stress that employees feel during open enrollment season. Additionally, just 47 percent understand that non-medical benefits can help them limit their out-of-pocket medical expenses. To address this, HR managers must clearly articulate the practical and financial value of their benefits offerings, helping employees understand how they can reduce financial concerns and have a tangible impact on their lives.

·       Explain how less traditional benefits work. According to the study, the majority of employees understand how traditional benefits such as medical insurance and 401(k)s work, but fewer report understanding how less traditional benefits work. For example, one in four employees say they do not understand critical illness protection and nearly one-third (30 percent) do not understand hospital indemnity insurance. To diminish confusion and encourage increased enrollment in these benefits, HR managers should provide employees with materials that explain how less traditional benefits work and how they can positively affect their employees’ personal financial situations.

By implementing these initiatives this enrollment season, HR managers have an opportunity to drive engagement and loyalty by helping their employees make benefits decisions that will positively impact their lives.