Executives Rank Talent Management Among Top Priorities

Managing employees is vital to success, but less than 60 percent of executives believe their companies are doing a good job of attracting and keeping talent. Keeping workers engaged requires commitment, and attention. Let’s take a closer look.

November 9, 2017 – To stay competitive in today’s ever-changing business environment, C-level executives agree that finding and retaining the right talent is essential. But how to do that effectively remains a challenge, according to “The Change Agents,” a joint custom research study by Dow Jones Customer Intelligence and the HR Certification Institute, an organization that certifies HR professionals worldwide.

Of the 300 C-suite executives who participated in the study, 95 percent said that hiring and retention directly affect the bottom line. And eight out of 10 consider HR to be a strategic partner that helps drive talent strategies across their organizations.

“HR is critical to our success,” said Kay Kutt, managing director of Asian Tigers Mobility, which specializes in international relocation services. “I need extraordinary people, otherwise our earnings will suffer. HR is a part of every strategic discussion I have with the company’s chairman.”


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As an executive search firm, said Jim McGuffin, senior principal at 20/20 Foresight, a recruitment firm that specializes in the real estate, financial services and service industries, “one of our most important steps is to evaluate the culture of the organization and to seek out the candidate who not only has the required professional skill sets, but who will fit in and thrive.” Finding that match, he added, “is crucial to improving the stick rate of the placement.” His firm, he said, works with the human resources and finance teams of clients to craft sustainable and compelling compensation plans to set the table for long-term retention.

Talent strategy and engagement is indeed a top concern, as survey respondents ranked it among the top five items on the corporate agenda. Those five areas, in order of priority, were financial growth, customer experience, new technology adoption, talent strategy and engagement, and cybersecurity.

Still, among those surveyed who identified their companies as industry leaders, only 59 percent consider their companies to be effective at attracting and retaining talent. These high performers said they feel more confident in the areas of customer satisfaction, profitability, revenue growth and innovation.


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Retaining Talent

“When you hire someone, you plant a seed,” Ms. Kutt said. “You need to continue giving the plant food and water—training and knowledge—in order for it to bloom. And then you have to keep watering it to keep it thriving. Too frequently, we let the flower wilt.”

Maintaining a healthy work environment is key to attracting and retaining the right people, and 85 percent of executives surveyed said they believe they have a strong company culture. Yet only six out of 10 have a formal process for measuring culture.

Companies commonly rely on employee surveys as well as engagement and churn metrics. HR leadership plays an important role in interpreting the findings.

Engaging Employees

Perhaps the best way to get the most out of one’s employees is to make sure they are engaged in their respective jobs. Employee engagement forms the foundation of many talent acquisition leaders’ approach to human capital. Engagement binds employees to an organization’s core values and its purpose. And it is engagement that puts people first, front and center, as an integral part of corporate business strategy ….. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.


Influencing Workplace Culture through Employee Recognition
As employers look for ways to deal with the challenges of low employee retention and high turnover, a new survey by the Society for Human Resource Management and social recognition solutions provider Globoforce shows more orgs. are tying employee recognition efforts to core values.


“After a survey, HR’s job is to unpack the feedback and investigate where in the company the issues are really occurring, because each department is different,” said Gail Rogers, senior HR business partner at Enterprise Legal Management Solutions, a business of Wolters Kluwer. “Then, HR can, together with the business leaders, build an action plan to move the needle in a positive direction.”

HR at Wolters Kluwer did just that, said The Change Agents report when the information services and solutions company conducted an employee survey recently.

“At one point, we found out we had some work to do in establishing a culture of learning and development,” said Richard Flynn, CEO of the governance, risk and compliance division of Wolters Kluwer. “So, on our VP of HR’s recommendation, we made investments to make sure our employees had more convenient access to learning and training.”

Ms. Kutt suggests measuring culture may be as simple as having candid conversations. “Our HR managers make sure to have engaging conversations, one-on-one, not sugar-coating, not ignoring the awkward or the uncomfortable,” she said.

HR Certifications

Ms. Kutt earned a fully accredited global professional in human resources credential from the HR Certification Institute, which has served more than half a million HR practitioners worldwide for over 40 years. The reports said HR certification is one way to help HR professionals build the skills and knowledge they need to drive business results, and the majority of executives surveyed (71 percent) felt their organizations could benefit from HR certification.


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Certifications from the HR Certification Institute cover seven key knowledge areas, including business management and strategy, said The Change Agents report. Ms. Rogers, who holds a senior professional in human resources credential, said the breadth of what certified professionals learn enables them to make more informed decisions “with an understanding of the interrelatedness of processes, and how any given change is going to have implications company-wide.”

Mr. Flynn is a firm believer in providing HR professionals with certification opportunities and other resources as a way to help them move above and beyond their traditional roles.

“It’s essential that my VP of HR has a seat at my table and, in fact, it’s a right-hand seat,” he said. “My VP of HR is always an awesome sounding board for me—someone who can challenge my thinking.”

Mr. Flynn adds that companies today must include their HR teams when developing strategy with top leadership, especially when they are certified.

“When you’re going through any sort of change or reinvention, as companies today so often are, HR is an inseparable partner,” Mr. Flynn said. “You never want to lose momentum and have to start out with a blank sheet of paper. Our HR team has been critical in leveraging the resources we have.”

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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