In today’s economic climate of cutbacks and hiring freezes, employees feel underemployed and overextended. With individual employees picking up more of the load, organizations need to recruit, develop and retain talented workers. What follows are five examples of leading organizations.
1. Social networking: Talent management begins with communication, and communication extends online. According to Human Resources IQ, global lighting company Osram Sylvania uses networking sites to recruit potential employees, and according to Bersin & Associates, Hyatt Hotels Corp. has recently decided to use social networking sites in its talent acquisition process. Organizations are using social networking to find, train, develop and retain employees. For example, Taleo Corp., which provides talent intelligence solutions, claims that social networking tools enable employees to create, share and rank development activities that unlock the hidden knowledge.
2. Simulation: Many organizations use simulation to provide real-world experience when managing and developing talent. Unisys and The Performance Development Group created an immersive, video-driven simulation where managers could practice behaviors by working through a typical 15-month performance cycle while managing two different, well-defined faux employees. Similarly, simulation also worked for Wyeth, a large pharmaceutical company that needed to train its sales force to directly affect real-life performance. Wyeth worked with PDG to create an immersive, video-driven simulation that allowed sales representatives to experience complicated compliance scenarios on physician calls in a low-risk environment. This video simulation provided a chance to practice on living, breathing, dynamic characters.
3. Hands-on experience: To train and develop talent, Genpact, a global service provider in the business intelligence and performance management field, uses job rotation and hands-on experience in its Global Operations Leadership Development Program. In this program, managers rotate through three different jobs — crossing businesses, functions and regions — to obtain direct hands-on experience.
4. Blended learning: To manage talent and prepare managers for the annual review process, International Finance Corp. followed a blended learning approach. Online training tools, targeted at both managers and staff members, included asynchronous, self-paced e-learning; mobile learning; synchronous Web conferences; and assessment tools. These multiple access points and learning styles reached more employees and helped managers better coach workers to develop their careers. According to IFC, “The multifaceted integration of learning and talent management helped IFC achieve its objectives of connecting talent champions by building global talent.”
5. Synchronous online learning: Because Kerry Ingredients & Flavours makes ingredients for the global food and beverage industry, its sales force needs to understand various ingredient technologies and customer needs. In particular, salespeople need to sell more than single-ingredient solutions; they need to provide integrated ingredient solutions. The training developed by Kerry and TorranceLearning involved many parts, one being a Coaching for Sales Effectiveness course to help sales managers coach team members, one on one and in groups. This course was started using online synchronous learning, via an interactive webcast, before being built into Kerry’s LMS. Beginning this way enabled managers to use it immediately, without waiting to integrate it into the LMS, which provided earlier feedback to further hone the course. “Understanding the skills needed by the sales team and evaluating each person against those skills to determine what program was needed was definitely helpful,” said Susan Shin, a member of the Kerry HR development team. “Focusing the content to the needs of the learner creates more relevancy.” Coaching activities were tied back to real customer situations, and Kerry made top sales directors available as subject-matter experts.
These examples show that, especially when combined with traditional methods, social networking and other online training methods can enhance an organization’s talent management strategies.
Brandon Hall is CEO of Brandon Hall Research, publisher of the study “Emerging e-Learning: New Approaches to Delivering Engaging Online Learning Content.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.