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Currently viewing the tag: "Talent management"

Lean ManufacturingTop products are the creation of top designers and developers. Lean Product Development helps in developing expert designers and developers, who are excellent problem solvers and are adept at creating innovative solutions.  Developing Key Talent for Product Management accelerates Innovation and time to market while lowering costs.

Managers responsible for developing creative products and solutions need to take 5 key steps, in order to facilitate Learning and Development of Key Talent in the manufacturing sector:

  1. Incorporate Technical Excellence into the Organization DNA
  2. Create and Implement Design Standards
  3. Hold Regular Technical Design Reviews
  4. Evaluate Organization’s Product Development Process
  5. Revisit Organizational Leadership Culture to Focus on Learning

Let’s dive deeper into the steps to effective Talent Management.

STEP-1 Incorporate Technical Excellence into the Organizational DNA

Technical mastery needs to be at the heart of everyday work practices and the guiding principle for manufacturing concerns.  Incentives, recognition, and rewards should be created based on technical competence, and it should be incorporated into routine business practices.  Likewise, training programs need to be geared towards enhancing the engineers’ technical capabilities.

For instance, technical competence is an integral element of training new engineers at Toyota.  One of the main requirements for qualifying for an engineering leadership position at the company is mentoring of young engineers.  Similarly, Ford Motor Co. has a technical maturity model in place for each department in the engineering function.  The giant automaker reinforces this when creating roles and responsibilities, conducting design reviews, and remunerating its engineers.  These measures help curb attrition and motivate people to stay longer.

STEP-2 Create and Implement Design Standards

The next step is to develop design standards and execute them.  Design standards should be set in place and implemented by using the existing organizational knowledge.  Design leaders should hold regular sessions with developers on a smart board and solicit their views on the layout of a certain system and training an apprentice in design principles.  These design guiding principles should be compiled into user-friendly handbooks for future design and development programs.  Lessons learnt from each project should be incorporated into the design standards with regular updates to the handbooks.

Toyota reserves 10-15 days out of the development project time period for the development team to ponder over the lessons learned from an ongoing project.  The development team incorporates these lessons into the design standards and updates the design manuals with these newer experiences.

STEP-3 Hold Regular Technical Design Reviews

The 3rd step involves holding frequent technical design reviews to nurture people via action learning and collaboration. The product design and development units should organize weekly technical design assessments.  The assessments need to be conducted at the design and development facilities—factory premises, test lab, or prototype shop—instead of a conference room.  This helps in gaining practical knowledge and skills.  Regular assessments assist in developing design and engineering teams through on-the-job experiences and cross-unit cooperation.

Interested in learning more about the other steps to facilitate Learning and Development of Key Talent in the manufacturing sector?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Lean Product Development: Talent Development here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Lean1Improving Product Development competencies in designers and developers is a concern for senior leaders in the manufacturing sector.

The approach most organizations take in developing Human Resources does not go beyond staffing the cream of the crop from leading global educational institutes.  Talent Development to them is, typically, sending their people to attend workshops and keeping up with employee annual training hours’ goals, and that’s it.  Companies usually spend more on acquiring latest manufacturing equipment or modern collaboration tools than they do to develop their greatest asset—their people.

Research on manufacturing practices unequivocally suggests that it’s primarily the inspiration to adopt a culture of Continuous Improvement in people that results in operational excellence.  This Continuous Improvement Culture has more significance than implementing Lean practices across all processes.

The “Lean Product Development” concept isn’t a new notion.  The practice has been around since the 1980s.  An MIT study in the 1980s revealed that manufacturing practices in Japanese automakers were totally opposed to those of auto manufacturers in the rest of the world.  These approaches were referred to as “Lean” practices.  Research into manufacturing practices of Toyota has spread the knowledge about Lean Product Development globally.

Lean concept is strikingly opposing to the philosophy that emphasizes on delegating the responsibility of developing the designers’ / developers’ capabilities to the Human Resources Department.  In order to develop and deliver superior products, Lean Product Development focuses on enabling the developers build “personal dexterity” as the key element of success.  The concept necessitates technical training and collaboration between developers.

Before embarking on the Lean Product Development and Innovation journey, organizational leadership should work on finding answers to these 3 fundamental questions:

  1. In order to design better products, which critical insights do we need to develop regarding customers, products, and processes?
  2. Which mediums, organizational knowledge, and tools are required to develop these insights?
  3. Which organizational structures and ways of doing businesses are ideally suited to develop these valuable insights and improving the expertise of developers?

Pondering over these critical questions and answering them facilitates in creating a pool of skilled Product Designers and developers.

Let’s dive deeper into these questions.

Question 1

Lean Product Development emphasizes on developing a steady stream of products at an even pace—referred to as “Takt.”   iPhone 1 and iPhone 2 are examples of a steady stream of products released at regular intervals in Apple’s iPhone value stream.

Takt has evolved the way products are designed.  An initial product is developed as a means to validate an idea.  Products are progressed from the initial product based on stakeholders’ feedback.  The purpose of a value stream of products is to improve the current product offerings, inspire the existing customers to upgrade, and tempt potential customers to try the product.  In these evolving value streams, every product release serves as an opportunity to gain insights into the market.

The value enhancement through Takt has 2 broad objectives:

  • Fixing problems in existing products and creating offerings meeting the customer needs.
  • Lowering manufacturing costs and improving quality.

Question 2 

Lean Product Development underscores the significance of the medium through which developers should learn in order to create superior products.  Developers’ capabilities in technical Problem Solving and learning what the others are doing helps enhance the quality of each new release.  Development teams should have quick access to accumulating a thorough knowledge of the entire supply chain and the effect of their decisions on manufacturing.  This assists in improving the efficiency of the developers.

Instead of learning and gaining knowledge through traditional ways, Lean Product Development encourages the developers to learn through Action Learning—the process where teams are continuously mentored and encouraged to learn collectively on the job, solve problems creatively, and test models to cope with real-life issues.

Interested in learning more about the key elements to consider before enabling Lean Product Development & Innovation, and the phases of the Lean process?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Lean Product Development & Innovation here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Recruitment 2Mediocre people occupying senior leadership positions is one of the chief reasons for the fiasco and humiliation that organizations like Enron and WorldCom faced.  The practice of recruiting average people at the top is omnipresent and often goes unnoticed until the results begin to surface, which is typically too late for any intervention.

Smart people decisions matter a lot in achieving profitability.  Research indicates that a return on average human asset of 5% is typical in many industries.  However, a senior executive selection of 2 standard deviations below the average yields -15% return on asset.  An executive selection with 2 standard deviations above average causes +25% return, which is 5 times the average.  Increased investment in finding and hiring the best senior executives fetches returns to the magnitude of 1000%.

Attracting and selecting the best people for senior leadership positions isn’t a small feat.  The future of organizations depend on it.  However, the Human Resource Management function at most organizations fail in getting the right people at the top.  The decision to hire at the senior positions necessitates deliberate effort and commitment.  Identification and onboarding of right people at these levels can create a substantial competitive advantage and profitability for the organizations.  Leading companies invest a lot of time in these decisions and conduct careful assessment of a pool of candidates.  They evaluate the opportunity costs associated with onboarding wrong people at critical senior positions and those associated with performance that could not get delivered due to selection of incompetent individual(s).

To prevent the disasters caused by psychological barriers and biases and to onboard competent executives, organizations need to religiously follow these 8 guiding principles:

  1. Outline requirements
  2. Prepare a large candidate pool
  3. Benchmark rationally
  4. Appraise systematically
  5. Overcome resistance in decision making
  6. Keep the evaluation team small
  7. Finalize the deal in time
  8. Support assimilation of new hires

Let’s discuss the 4 guiding principles in detail, for now.

Outline requirements

Defining the job requirements clearly before initiating the executive search process is an imperative for finding and appointing the right persons at senior positions.  The board should take out time to hold meetings to sift through the organizational strategic objectives and prioritized initiatives.  The outcome of these sessions help the recruiters develop a list of critical skills and behavioral competencies.

Prepare a large candidate pool

Restricting executive search to specific geographies or industries limits the chances of finding the most suitable candidate(s).  For instance, to hire the country head for a computer hardware firm in Asia, a company may identify all C-level executives at specific large hardware and software providers in the region; target former top executives of all relevant companies; consider senior executives outside the hardware sector; and shortlist about 10-12 top candidates to be interviewed.

Benchmark rationally

Having a fair comparison of shortlisted candidates is possible by creating consistent benchmarks.  This helps all the appraisers to follow a defined approach and rating criteria.  External and internal candidates should be assessed without any biasness.  Likewise, comparison of soft skills—which are obvious to internal candidates but unknown to outsiders—should be done on equal footing.

Appraise systematically

After shortlisting potential candidates, it’s time to evaluate their suitability on the required competencies through rigorous interviews using behavioral-based questions.  The evaluation should constitute in-depth reference checking—through the nominees as well as those who have worked with the candidates in the past—internally or through executive search firms.

For more information on selection and hiring “the best of the best,” take a look at the Fiaccabrino Selection Process (FSP)Download a free primer on FSP here.

Interested in learning more about the other guiding principles critical for selection of competent senior executives?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Executive Selection here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Job Design2Inadequately structured jobs create disputes, negative perceptions, inequality, and frustration among employees.  On the other hand, well-articulated jobs, appropriate distribution of work, justified authority levels, and correct estimation of value of individual jobs elevate employee engagement levels, productivity, and job satisfaction.  Organized job levels are a sign of effective Human Resources Management function.

The lack of a structured job design—and ill-defined jobs—renders the organizations ineffective and burdened with excessive staffing and payroll costs.  This warrants from the leadership to plan and undertake a Job Leveling initiative.  Job Leveling is a disciplined approach to gauge the value of work for individual positions across the organization.  It entails ascertaining the nature of work done by each position, authority levels, and the effect of each job on business results.  The initiative is critical in administering rewards structures.

However, Job Leveling is a concern at most organizations—not many people are satisfied with the value assigned to their roles.  The absence of proper—or inadequate—job levels yields grave consequences for the entire organization.  Jobs valued higher than their actual value lead to wastage of resources, whereas low valued jobs are perceived as offensive and inculcate demotivation.

Job Design and Job Leveling is essential when organizations consistently encounter issues, such as:

  • Constant employees complaints and demands to reclassify jobs
  • Excessive job titles
  • Widespread dissatisfaction with remuneration
  • Task / processes redundancy
  • Financial outflow
  • Staffing imbalances and top heavy structure

Workforce planners should lay out a clearly-defined Job Leveling Framework to tackle these issues and methodically benchmark the value of jobs at their organizations.  To accomplish this, they need to first analyze all the activities required under each position, the professional competences and demeanor essential to perform those activities, and gauging the effect each position has on business results.

The 4 core benefits to developing and executing an efficient Job Leveling Framework include:

  1. Establish Consistency across the Human Resource Initiatives
  2. Develop Clear Paths for Career Growth
  3. Improve Ease of Administration
  4. Increase Flexibility for M&A

Let’s delve deeper into 3 of these benefits, for now.

Establish Consistency Across the HR Initiatives

A standardized job evaluation approach enables a consistent job structure terminology.  It makes communication and Job Leveling related decisions easier.  A Job Leveling Framework aids in defining relative placement of various jobs, using elements, such as, knowledge, problem solving, interaction, impact, and accountabilities.  Alignment of jobs through a Job Leveling Framework helps in developing consistency across other HR initiatives and make better talent related decisions.

Develop Clear Paths for Career Growth

Organizations use clear career pathways to enhance employee engagement, meet employee expectations, and provide opportunities for their development.  A Job Leveling Framework provide clear-cut job structure to inspire the employees.  Career pathways developed through Job Leveling Framework helps the leaders as they strive to improve the amount of mobility across teams, units, and divisions.

Improve Ease of Administration

A Job Leveling Framework assists in developing efficient methods to administer HR initiatives.  A Job Leveling Framework enables improved efficiencies and decisions related to key talent and their work.  For instance, it streamlines pay grades and salary structures; standardizes job titles; simplifies short-term incentive criteria and objectives definition; and structures long-term reward eligibility criteria and nominations.

Interested in learning more about the Job Leveling Framework and benefits associated with its implementation? You can download an editable PowerPoint on HR Strategy: Job Leveling Framework here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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TM1Enterprises worldwide face problems selecting, staffing, developing, compensating, motivating, and sustaining their key talent.  Building a sustainable Talent pipeline is quite strenuous even for large multinationals.

Replicating best practices from somewhere and applying them alone isn’t sufficient for organizations to build a Talent pipeline and achieve Competitive Advantage.  This warrants overcoming arduous challenges associated with this digital age, including:

  • Adjusting to varying dynamics in global markets
  • Handling the expectations of varied customer segments in different geographies
  • Managing the preferences of key Talent
  • Acquiring new technologies
  • Building novel capabilities
  • Achieving Operational Excellence by streamlining operations and improving processes
  • Exploring new markets
  • Devising strategies to attract, select, develop, assess, and reward top Talent.

Developing Talent Management practices helps the organizations build and retain talented people available in the job market.  The term was first used by McKinsey & Company in 1997, and it pertains to planning and managing strategic Human Capital through activities, i.e. attracting, selecting, developing, evaluating, rewarding, and retaining key people.

Executives use diverse Talent Management strategies and career pathways based on various departments, levels, and roles in their Talent pool.  Multi-year research on Talent Management practices conducted by an international team of researchers from INSEAD, Cornell, Cambridge, and Tillburg universities studied 33 multi-national corporations, headquartered in 11 countries.  The study revealed that successful Human Capital practitioners and workforce planners adopted 6 core principles.  These principles act as the 6 pillars to effective Talent Management implementation:

  1. Alignment with Corporate Strategy
  2. Consistency of Talent Management Practices
  3. Integration with Corporate Culture
  4. Involvement of Leadership
  5. Global Strategy with Localization
  6. Branding and Differentiation

Let’s discuss the first 3 pillars in detail, for now.

Alignment with Corporate Strategy

Integrating Talent Management with Corporate Strategy is imperative as the need for future Talent depends on the company’s long-term strategy.  Corporate Strategy should guide the identification of Talent required to accomplish organizational goals, since it’s the right Talent that drives the key strategic initiatives rather than strategic planning.

For example, GE’s Talent Management practices have been a great assistance in implementing their strategic initiatives.  The organization regards its Talent Management system as their most potent execution tool and has integrated TM processes into their strategic planning process.  To sustain its image as an innovation leader, GE targets technical skills as a priority in its annual Strategic Planning sessions.  Individual business units lay out their business as well as the Human Capital objectives in GE’s annual strategic planning sessions.  Significant time is spent on reviewing its Innovation pipeline, its engineering function’s structure, and Talent requirements.  To achieve its vision, GE promotes more engineers in its senior management than its rivals.

Consistency of Talent Management Practices

Talent Management practices must be consistent and synchronous with each other.  It is critical not only to invest in advancing the careers of key Talent but also to invest in processes to empower, compensate, and retain them.  Human Capital practitioners utilize various tools to ensure consistency of Talent Management practices, including Human Resources satisfaction surveys and qualitative and quantitative data on TM practices implementation.

For example, the success of Siemens is based on consistent monitoring of its systems, processes, and key performance metrics across its subsidiaries.  Every element of Human Capital Management is connected, continuously assessed, and linked to rewards.  This goes from recruitment of graduates each year, to their orientation, to mentoring and development, to performance evaluation and management, and compensation and benefits.

Integration with Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is regarded as important as vision and mission by renowned global organizations. These companies hold their core values and behavioral standards very high and promote them among their employees through coaching and mentoring.  They strive to embed this into their hiring, leadership development, performance management, remuneration, and reward processes / programs.  So much so that they consider cultural adaptability a crucial element of their recruitment process—as personality traits and mindsets are hard to develop than technical skills—and evaluate applicants’ behaviors and values rigorously.

For example, among other leading companies, IBM has a special emphasis on values while selecting and promoting people.  To ensure consistent values across the board, it organizes regular values jam sessions and employee health index surveys.  These sessions encourage open communication and debate on values and organizational culture and their importance among employees.

Interested in learning more about the other pillars of Talent Management, the various approaches to TM? You can download an editable PowerPoint on 6 Pillars of Talent Management here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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