Mobilizing Your Workforce

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1 2015 Talent MobiliTY Research Report Mobilizing Your Workforce Understand, Develop and Deploy Talent for Success 1

2 Table of Contents Executive Summary...3 Introduction...4 About Our Study...4 About Talent Mobility...5 Findings...6 Quantitative Results...7 The Facts about Understanding Talent...10 The Facts about Developing Talent...12 The Facts about Deploying Talent...14 The 2015 Talent Mobility Research Report exposes the barriers to understanding, developing and deploying talent that may be hindering an organization s ability to meet revenue growth objectives. Insights...16 The Future of Talent Mobility: Practical Solutions Conclusion Take the Diagnostic...21 About LHH Talent Mobilty Research Report

3 Executive Summary The 2015 Talent Mobility Research Report presents the findings of Lee Hecht Harrison s ongoing study measuring the specific talent mobility behaviours and gaps demonstrated by representative business organizations. While companies recognize the significance of talent mobility, creating a truly mobile workforce remains elusive for many. This report provides insights into the challenges organizations face in mobilizing their talent and implementing an effective talent management strategy. It then offers some practical solutions for meeting these challenges. Most organizations value assessment and have formal processes in place to review employee performance. Nevertheless, respondents report that many managers and organizations generally have, at best, only a middling understanding of their people, their strengths and their development needs. Organizations are missing key evaluation and coaching opportunities. As a result, performance may suffer and growth may be hindered. Mobilizing a workforce means equipping people to take on new responsibilities or move quickly into new roles as business needs require. Respondents identified a number of ways in which organizations are falling short on this front. Managers are not being coached on when and how to hold effective career conversations nor are they being held accountable for developing their people. Organizations do not always support internal networking, career planning and development, or employee self-empowerment. In general, organizations are strongly committed to hiring internally, and they make formal efforts to inform employees of open positions. However, gaps in deploying talent remain. Respondents report that many managers lack a mobility mindset and many organizations fail to offer job rotation or redeployment opportunities. While organizations face hurdles, there are practical solutions they can implement to address their talent mobility challenges: Assign a senior leader to serve as a champion who can communicate the importance of talent mobility across the organization. Address manager mindsets and career conversation skills through seminars, workshops or one-on-one coaching. Ensure that the lessons learned are sustainable by creating coach-facilitated leader-coaching circles. Make career conversations part of performance reviews. Sponsor employee resource groups and networking groups to promote internal networking. Support employees with skill-building workshops designed to help them take control of their own career development. Provide easily accessible online tools and resources supporting internal movement of talent. Recognize the importance of redeployment and outplacement for preserving workforce morale, engagement and productivity. The 2015 Talent Mobility Research Report exposes the barriers to understanding, developing and deploying talent that may be hindering an organization s ability to meet revenue growth objectives. It identifies the behaviours organizations should be supporting to mobilize their talent. The lines of action required to mobilize workforces are now clear. 3

4 Introduction Findings from Lee Hecht Harrison s 2015 Talent Mobility Research Report reveal that most organizations 75 percent recognize that talent mobility is at least moderately important to an effective talent management strategy. In fact, well over 40 percent recognize it as extremely or very important. Nevertheless, a majority of organizations 85 percent also identify themselves as failing to demonstrate key behaviours linked to effective talent mobility and report that their talent management strategy is, at best, only moderately effective (46 percent say moderately; 27 percent say slightly; 13 percent say not at all). These are among the noteworthy findings of a recent study conducted by Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH). The 2015 Talent Mobility Research Report suggests that companies know they should be mobilizing talent but are failing to do so and are struggling, as a result, to implement effective talent management strategies. Two questions naturally present themselves: What are the barriers preventing companies from mobilizing talent and realizing a fully successful talent management strategy? And what can companies do about them? The LHH study yields several key findings and insights. About Our Study Lee Hecht Harrison developed a diagnostic tool that allows organizations to measure their performance in relation to the three essential behavioural components of Talent Mobility as defined by LHH Understand, Develop and Deploy. Respondents were asked to assess how consistently organizations, managers and employees implement these behaviours, which are known to mobilize talent effectively when practiced at least 50 percent of the time. Their responses enabled us to determine where their organizations stand on the Talent Mobility continuum and how effectively they understand, develop and deploy their talent. This report is based on a diagnostic survey of 257 organizations from more than 20 industries conducted from October 2013 through December Eighty percent of respondents occupied managerial or higher positions, and 55 percent occupied VP or higher positions. Fifty-one percent of respondents were drawn from human resources, 16 percent from organizational development and training, and a further 16 percent from executive leadership. Thirty-six percent of responding companies generated revenues of more than $1 billion annually, and 45 percent employed more than 3,000 people. About Talent Mobility The Definition Talent mobility can be defined as an integrated talent management process supporting talent movement that hinges on an organization s ability to effectively understand, develop and deploy talent in response to business needs. Organizations that effectively understand their workforce equip managers to assess employees accurately and actively communicate career plans and opportunities. Those that effectively develop their workforce provide employees with opportunities for increasing skills and experience, while holding managers accountable for building the competencies of immediate reports. And those that effectively deploy their workforce fill gaps through internal recruitment, provide employees with the tools to assume new roles, and recognize redeployment and outplacement as critical components of the talent mobility lifecycle. When an organization employs a talent strategy that succeeds on all three fronts, it can be described as a committed talent mobilizer Talent Mobilty Research Report

5 The Business Context The emergence of talent mobility as a key business concern can be tied to today s increasingly fluid and challenging competitive landscape. In the face of relentless change, organizations are under mounting pressure to develop highly adaptable employees able to embrace evolving business conditions, new business opportunities and shifting strategies. With a mobile workforce always learning and always prepared for what s next, the organization is better equipped to absorb churn and attrition and change course quickly. In addition, the emphasis on self-directed career development that figures centrally in any wellconceived talent mobility strategy has been shown to drive engagement and mitigate retention risk. The organization benefits from a deep pool of talented employees who are more productive, engaged and capable of taking on new challenges, assuming higher levels of responsibility and meeting increased demands to drive business growth. The Challenge What, then, accounts for the difficulty organizations have in building a more mobile workforce and realizing its benefits? When asked directly, over half of respondents identify their organization s key challenge as a lack of understanding of what talent mobility is and how it can be leveraged. While talent mobility has multiple components, most organizations are fully capable of navigating complexity, especially when the stakes are high. The LHH study reveals a more nuanced picture of the obstacles when it probes organizations on their record of understanding, developing and deploying talent the essential components of a talent mobility strategy. Key Challenges Keeping Talent Mobility from Being Effective Top challenge Second challenge Third challenge Lack of organizational understanding of what Talent Mobility is and how it can be leveraged 24% 15% 53% There is no strategic approach in place to identify future talent needs 21% 16% 50% Lack of prioritization of Talent Mobility by organizations 11% 18% 42% Lack of clearly defined roles and responsibilities among key stakeholders for the development and inclusion of Talent Mobility 9% 15% 37% Talent territorialism among key stakeholders 14% 11% 10% 35% Little or no focus on developing talent to meet future needs of the organization 6% 12% 14% 32% Lack of infrastructure to help connect employees with potential opportunities outside of their immediate role 8% 7% 28% Organizations do not provide key stakeholders with the tools necessary to practice effective Talent Mobility 6% 9% 9% 34% 5

6 Findings Quantitative results Organizations that are committed Talent Mobilizers consistently (at least 50 percent of the time) exhibit all of the behaviours associated with Understand, Develop and Deploy the three essential indices of Talent Mobility. They also espouse a more proactive approach to Talent Mobility than other organizations do. We asked respondents to rate how consistently the following behaviours were being employed at their organizations. Base: All respondents. Understand Develop Deploy R b j Talent Mobilty Research Report

7 Understand R We asked respondents to rate how consistently the following behaviours associated with understanding were being employed at their organizations. The manager holds regularly scheduled performance reviews 44% 25% 18% 9% 4% Our organization conducts periodic employee surveys to measure engagement 41% 14% 16% 15% Our organization uses talent management software 22% 14% 11% 9% 40% 5% The organization measures and tracks internal talent moves 21% 18% 27% 20% 12% 3% Successors to key positions are identified ahead of need 24% 36% 12% 5% Managers know their people, their strengths and their development needs 14% 32% 44% The organization understands their employees unique skills and experience 12% 31% 42% Nearly Always/ Always Frequently Sometimes Rarely Never Not Sure 7

8 Develop b We asked respondents to rate how consistently the following behaviours associated with development were being employed at their organizations. Job search/skill development is offered if/ when downsizing occurs 25% 18% 21% 16% 10% 10% Coaching is key component of leader and manager development 15% 23% 34% 21% 7% Internal networking is promoted to help individuals increase visibility and build relationships 11% 20% 39% 22% 7% Our employees take responsibility for actively managing their careers 10% 18% 49% 20% 2% Our organization invests in and prepares managers to have effective developmental career conversations 10% 21% 31% 28% 10% Our organization uses career planning and development to prepare employees for roles 8% 18% 32% 30% 11% Managers are responsible and held accountable for building and developing talent 6% 18% 37% 30% 8% Nearly Always/ Always Frequently Sometimes Rarely Never Not Sure Talent Mobilty Research Report

9 Deploy j We asked respondents to rate how consistently the following behaviours associated with deployment were being employed at their organizations. The organization makes a commitment to look internally to fill roles 30% 29% 29% 8% Sustained high performance is a key criteria for being rewarded with opportunities for internal career growth 24% 38% 23% 9% 4% Employees are well informed about open positions 22% 30% 31% 3% Outplacement is a key component of talent mobility 9% 17% 30% 18% Redeployment is considered a key component of talent mobility 7% 16% 29% 26% 11% 12% Managers have a mobility mindset that supports the internal movement of talent 7% 18% 36% 30% 6% 3% The organization offers job rotation assignments 5% 10% 30% 35% 21% Nearly Always/ Always Frequently Sometimes Rarely Never Not Sure 9

10 The Facts About Understanding Talent 1 2 say that they rarely have a full understanding of the skills and experience of their workforce. 42% percent of respondents report that organizations only sometimes understand their employees unique skills and experience. Organizations value assessment Any strategic approach to managing talent begins with understanding. Assessing the skills, engagement and performance of employees is essential for improving productivity, supporting career development that aligns with organizational needs and building an effective talent pipeline. Performance reviews, for example, play at least some role in talent management at almost all organizations. Assessment of employee engagement, which offers key insights into workforce productivity and retention, also plays a role in talent management at many organizations. Nearly 70 percent of respondents report that managers review performance always, nearly always or frequently. Fifty-five percent of respondents report that their organizations survey engagement frequently, nearly always or always. Managers inadequately understand their people More than half of all respondents say that managers have, at best, only a middling understanding of their people, despite working with them every day and despite conducting formal performance reviews with at least some regularity. Managers are evaluating and talking to their people but not, evidently, in ways that yield a complete picture of their talents. When asked whether managers know their people, their strengths and their development needs, 44 percent of respondents answered sometimes, with another seven percent answering rarely Talent Mobilty Research Report

11 3 4 5 Organizations have a middling understanding of their people The difficulties managers have in understanding their people are repeated in the larger organization. With managers often struggling to understand team members, it should come as little surprise that the talents of employees in general are not completely understood at higher levels of the organization. Forty-two percent of respondents report that organizations understand their employees unique skills and experience only sometimes. Thirteen percent say that they rarely have a full understanding of the skills and experience of their workforce. Organizations aren t consistently tracking and measuring performance Organizations aren t always using available technology, systems and processes to acquire, track and measure information about their workforce. Software applications are now allowing organizations to run their businesses more efficiently by providing key data and insights to help them effectively assess, manage and develop the skills and experience of employees. Nearly 50 percent of all respondents indicate that their organization rarely or never uses talent management software. A third of respondents say that their organization rarely or never tracks internal talent moves, with another quarter saying that it does so only sometimes. Succession planning is suffering A picture emerges, then, of organizations having some understanding of their talent but often not a complete or even in some cases adequate understanding. This lack of understanding can lead to a leadership deficit and put the business at risk. Twenty-six percent of respondents report that successors to key positions are rarely or never identified ahead of need. Only 36 percent report that successors are sometimes identified ahead of need. 11

12 The Facts about Developing Talent 1 2 Managers are not supported or held accountable to develop talent 30% Internal networking receives inconsistent support Developing talent is the second essential plank of an effective talent mobility strategy. Mobilizing a workforce means equipping people to take on new responsibilities or move quickly into new roles as business needs require. Organizational performance on this front is again mixed. Shedding significant light on the difficulties some managers face in understanding their people, the LHH study finds that managers are often neither trained to conduct effective career discussions nor even held accountable for developing talent. Nearly 40 percent of respondents report that organizations rarely or never invest in and prepare managers to have effective developmental career conversations, with an additional 31 percent reporting that organizations do so only sometimes. Nearly 40 percent of respondents report that organizations rarely or never hold managers accountable for building or developing talent, with an additional 37 percent reporting that they do so only sometimes. say organizations rarely or never promote internal networking. 40% say organizations rarely or never provide career planning and development. A talent mobility strategy is unrealistic if the organization doesn t remove the barriers to optimizing workforce deployment. One well-known impediment is talent hoarding. Reluctant to lose talent from their team, managers may limit a capable employee s exposure to other parts of the organization, thereby narrowing his or her career development opportunities and potentially harming the organization s overall performance. An obvious antidote for such behaviour is for the organization to reward managers who promote internal movement of talent and promote internal networking to help individuals increase visibility and build relationships. Yet performance in this regard is not entirely encouraging. Nearly 30 percent say organizations promote internal networking rarely or never. Another 39 percent say organizations do so only sometimes. A mere 11 percent say organizations do so always or nearly always Talent Mobilty Research Report

13 3 4 5 Career planning and development fall short Talent mobility is similarly ineffective if organizations fail to prepare employees for new roles in the first place. Here again, the LHH study shows that many companies are not being as proactive as they could be. Only eight percent of respondents say organizations always or nearly always provide employees with career planning and development to prepare them for new roles. Over 40 percent say that organizations provide career planning and development rarely or never. The provision of coaching is mixed Organizations fare better at providing leaders and managers with essential developmental coaching but here too their performance is mixed. As respondents indicate, a substantial number of organizations provide coaching only sometimes or rarely not at all. Nearly forty percent of respondents indicate that organizations provide developmental coaching frequently, nearly always or always. Thirty-four percent say organizations provide developmental coaching only sometimes. Nearly 30 percent say organizations provide developmental coaching rarely or never. Employees struggle to assume responsibility for their careers Without developmental support, the benefits of effective career conversations and opportunities to network internally, employees are struggling to take responsibility for actively managing their careers. Employees perform best when their development aligns not only with the needs of the organization but with their own interests and aspirations. Helping employees own their careers and be proactive in developing abilities and pursuing directions most suitable for them is essential to engaging, retaining and, above all, mobilizing a workforce. Nearly 50 percent of respondents report that employees are only sometimes assuming responsibility for managing their careers. Over 20 percent say that employees rarely or never assume responsibility for managing their careers. 13

14 The Facts about Deploying Talent 1 2 Organizations are committed to filling roles internally Organizations are not offering job rotation or redeployment 31% Talent mobility becomes a reality when you have the right people with the right skills effectively deployed within the organization. Organizations seem to favour recruiting from within to fill open positions. Nearly 60 percent of respondents say organizations are always, nearly always or frequently committed to looking internally to fill roles. Over 50 percent report that employees are always, nearly always or frequently well informed about open positions. An additional 31 percent report that employees are at least sometimes well informed about open positions. On the other hand, many organizations continue to exhibit behaviours or cling to attitudes that inhibit the rational movement of talent. While only five percent of respondents say organizations offer employees job rotation assignments always or nearly always, a substantial 35 percent say they do so rarely, and 21 percent never do so. Fewer than 25 percent say organizations always, nearly always or frequently consider redeployment a key component of talent mobility in the event of downsizing. report that employees are at least sometimes well informed about open positions. 39% Thirty-nine percent report that managers display a mobility mindset rarely or never Talent Mobilty Research Report

15 3 Managers are not showing a mobility mindset At the managerial level, results are even less encouraging as managers demonstrate behaviours that may block internal mobility and result in viable candidates being overlooked for opportunities. Thirty-nine percent of survey respondents report that managers rarely or never display a mobility mindset that supports the internal movement of talent. Thirty-six percent report that managers display such a mindset only sometimes. 15

16 Insights The Future of Talent Mobility: Practical Solutions When examined in detail, the challenges organizations face mobilizing their talent amount to much more than a simple struggle to understand a concept. At many organizations, actual measures taken to understand, develop and deploy talent are, at best, incomplete and, at worst, contradictory and self-defeating. Managers hold regular performance reviews but are not prepared to have effective career conversations. They are often provided with leadership coaching but not held accountable for building and developing talent. Employees are often well informed about open positions, but their managers frequently lack a mobility mindset. Organizations are committed to filling roles internally but do not promote internal networking or consider redeployment as a key component of talent mobility. These and other such contradictions are the true barriers organizations face in mobilizing their talent and realizing an effective talent management strategy. What, then, can be done? Talent Mobilty Research Report

17 1 Identify a Champion for Talent Mobility. Senior leadership needs to embrace talent mobility as an organizational priority. Assign someone in an executive position to serve as a talent mobility champion who can communicate its importance to all levels of the organization and address any confusion about what talent mobility is and how to leverage it. Communication then needs to be reinforced by involving managers and employees in activities that promote mobilityenabling behaviours. 2 Address Manager Mindsets and Career Conversation Skills. Help leaders and managers understand the business case for talent mobility and develop their own coaching skills by offering seminars, workshops or one-onone coaching. Show them the business impact and how it will help them achieve their individual, team and organizational goals. Then provide them with a framework for approaching career discussions in a structured and organized way. Include opportunities to engage in mock career discussions in which they put their learning into practice and receive expert feedback. 3 Ensure Sustainability. Initial efforts in building mobility mindsets and coaching skills need to be reinforced. Foster sustainability by creating coach-facilitated leader-coaching circles offering further opportunities for practicing career conversations and addressing mobility issues. Interactive group learning and role play can make important contributions to establishing a coaching culture in which leaders help other leaders develop skills and best practices for placing mobility at the centre of talent management. Beyond career conversations, issues addressed could include how to set goals for talented team members, create stretch assignments for them, increase their visibility within the organization and provide cross-training opportunities that ensure roles can be quickly filled when someone moves to another team. When warranted, additional one-on-one coaching could be provided to help managers set clear targets for mobilizing talent and avoid talent hoarding. 17

18 Insights 4 Leverage Performance Reviews. As our study shows, most organizations already conduct formal performance reviews. This often-annual event can be leveraged to gain a clearer understanding of employee aspirations in the near and long terms. The performance review process should be structured so that discussions begin by focusing on performance and end by focusing on career development; such conversations can hold significant benefits for talent mobility and employee retention. Managers who best know their people not only their capabilities but their goals and ambitions will be best positioned to guide their employees careers, meeting both their interests and the organization s. Make the performance review do double duty and fill a key gap many managers and organizations have in understanding their employees. 5 Encourage Internal Networking and Job Rotation. Organizations can help create internal networking opportunities by sponsoring employee resource groups and networking groups. Managers should also play a role by creating opportunities that promote the visibility and reputation of their people across the organization. They need to be talking about their employees to senior leaders, suggesting them for cross-functional appointments and providing opportunities for meeting more people and working more broadly. Job rotation assignments represent one such opportunity. They can sometimes be created in simple ways. For example, periodically requiring account managers to exchange accounts with other managers encourages them to bring fresh eyes to accounts, contribute in new ways and work more closely with their colleagues. Each incoming manager will need at least some support and guidance from each outgoing manager. 6 Empower Employees to Own Their Careers. Removing the barriers to talent mobility cannot be the responsibility of leaders and managers alone. Employees must also assume some of the burden, particularly by being proactive and taking control of their own career development. To get people started, offer seminar workshops involving career discussion and group activities with peers. Employees should address fundamental questions focusing on aspirations, skills and organizational needs; acquire guidance on assessing options, developing capabilities and staying ahead of the curve; and develop a detailed roadmap outlining goals and a path toward attaining them. As we have seen, most employees are failing to manage their careers actively with any consistency, and organizations are similarly inconsistent in using career planning and development to prepare employees for roles. A formal program offers a practical first step to rectifying these lacks Talent Mobilty Research Report

19 7 Create Transparency and a Single Point of Access. An organization that makes talent mobility a priority has a clear responsibility to demonstrate its commitment by actively supporting manager and employee efforts. One option is to provide effective tools and resources designed to facillitate the sharing of information. In many organizations, these tools and resources already exist but in forms and places not entirely visible or easily accessible. Consider creating an online portal providing a single point of access for the organization s entire talent mobility infrastructure. Key components could include internal job boards, e-learning modules for employees and managers, career assessment and planning tools and tools promoting internal networking. 8 Make Redeployment Part of Your Strategy. Another option for demonstrating support is to make redeployment a key component of the organization s talent mobility strategy. Organizations already prefer hiring internally. Why wouldn t they make a visible commitment to, and create mechanisms for, redeploying existing talent to unfilled roles when business conditions necessitate a restructuring? Redeployment is the organization s best means of retaining valuable talent, preserving institutional knowledge and demonstrating the value it places on employees. 9 Build Your Brand With Strong Advocates. A closely related initiative is to provide employees who cannot be redeployed with outplacement support. Outplacement is a natural phase of the talent mobility lifecycle, yet almost 50 percent of organizations rarely or never include it as part of their talent mobility strategy. Organizations should be preparing employees for what s next even if their next role takes them elsewhere. In the context of a holistic talent mobility strategy, it s the organization s opportunity to show the depth of its commitment to the strategy and to the wellbeing of employees. It can make a crucial contribution to preserving workforce morale, engagement and productivity. 19

20 Conclusion Most organizations understand the importance of talent mobility to a successful talent management strategy. Most are aware not only of their struggles to implement such a strategy but also of the high-stakes consequences of those struggles. A weak leadership pipeline, missed business opportunities and low employee engagement are, respectively, the items that appeared most frequently when respondents were asked to list and rank the top three challenges a lack of talent mobility presents. The 2015 Talent Mobility Research Report exposes the barriers to understanding, developing and deploying talent that are holding organizations back. It identifies the behaviours organizations should be supporting to mobilize their talent. The lines of action required to mobilize workforces are now clear. Greatest Impact Challenges Have on Organization Top challenge Second challenge Third challenge Weak leadership pipeline 42% 16% 15% 73% Low employee engagement 12% 21% 19% 51% Missed business opportunities 15% 23% 16% 54% Unwanted attrition 16% 17% 37% Loss of productivity 7% 23% 43% Inability to meet financial targets 10% 12% 11% 32% Talent Mobilty Research Report

21 Take the Diagnostic Is your organization a Talent Mobilizer? To provide insight into your own talent mobility strategy, take our free diagnostic tool so you can see how you score against the three indices of Understand, Develop and Deploy. You ll learn whether you are consistently and proactively implementing each of the seven key behaviours that fall within the indices that characterize Talent Mobilizers. Whether you re growing talent from within or bringing in new talent, whether you are adding roles or eliminating them, talent mobility is an enabler of your talent strategy as you prepare your employees for whatever happens next. Begin the diagnostic now at 21

22 About Lee Hecht Harrison (lhh) Lee Hecht Harrison (www.lhh.com) is the global talent mobility leader. We connect people to jobs through innovative career transition services, and help individuals improve performance through career and leadership development. LHH assists organizations in supporting restructuring efforts, developing leaders at all levels, engaging and retaining critical talent, and maintaining productivity through change helping organizations increase profitability by maximizing their return on investment in developing people, while assisting individuals to achieve their full potential. Connect With Us LinkedIn Google+ Facebook Blog Twitter https://twitter.com/lhh YouTube lhh.com 2015 Lee Hecht Harrison. All rights reserved. LHHMK

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