Among many business questions that People Analytics leaders face today, the issue of career growth stands out. While organizations struggle with the instability of the workforce, research already points to the fact that internal mobility may be the cure to raising rates of employee attrition. But how exactly can a Human Resources practitioner address such a huge challenge? What would be their first steps?
I was privileged to talk recently with a prominent professional, both in the field of People Analytics and Learning and Organization Development, Orit Cohen (Schwarz), who is leading the People Analytics function at HP, and learned from her perspective and experience, how organizations could move forward with this important topic.
LSH: Do you think that all bosses are created equal, regarding career opportunities for employees?
OC: Well, as there are many leadership styles, it’s also clear that with regards to talent management and development, managers also vary in their ability to motivate, coach, and advocate for their employees. Those who excel, usually take an active part in the recruitment process, conduct unusual interviews, and look for the smartest, most creative, and flexible people who can grow with us, even when they don’t have a requisition open. They also grow and develop their talent by offering them lots of responsibilities, along with guidance and regular feedback, and empower them to do their best.
LSH: This surely contributes to talents’ success. But what happens when those talents become successful?
OC: Eventually, these talents become successful in their own right, and at some point, they would be ready to move on. As a large, global company, we aspire to retain these talents by offering them meaningful career opportunities before they would decide to leave. We understand the global trends and the fight for talent, therefore, it is important for us to focus on this topic and enable managers to support talent growth and internal mobility through talent sharing, so ideally managers would import and export talents internally and allow for career growth, without losing our best talent.
LSH: From the management perspective, it’s not so easy to let go your best talent.
OC: That’s true. As published by CEB, 60% of HR leaders say managers are unwilling to share talent. This means that even the best managers may find it difficult to resist the urge to hoard their best people. After they have invested their energy in bringing the best talent into their teams and helping them to grow, they find it hard to send them off to the next opportunity, even if it’s just another team in the organization. It appears that managers hoard their talent because they have other performance priorities which may conflict with sharing talent, because they lack visibility to other talents in the organization, and because they focus on the person and not on their capabilities.
LSH: But hoarding your people means your team gets a bad reputation as a career dead end, right?
OC: Though I understand it’s hard to let your talent move on to their next opportunity, it is the manager’s obligation, as a leader, to support their talents towards career growth. It is interesting that, by helping their talent to reach great opportunities out of their team, managers can create a positive reputation as talent catalysts, which makes more people want to join them. So, eventually exporting talent actually helps to import talent.
LSH: So how can this be done? Clearly, employee mobility is important to everybody – the employees, the teams, the managers and the organization as a whole.
OC: Organizations should facilitate employee mobility through a system that provides stakeholders with information, access, and governance for effective talent sharing across the organization. Such a system can help managers not only to export talent to other teams but also import the talent they need in their team. I believe such a system will also increase employee satisfaction. CEB researchers found that such system increased managers’ willingness to share talent by 50%, and consequently improved career satisfaction by up to 13%. This means that to increase employee mobility and career growth, the organization should offer managers more information about talents in other parts of the organization, thus help them to identify skills they need in their teams and understand the skills available elsewhere.
LSH: How do you leverage those insights into the People Analytics activities in your organization?
OC: From people analytics point of view, we provide leaders with proactive insight regarding the talent who may be ready for their next career move. Also, to foster talent sharing, we want to support leaders by informing them where they do well and where they still have opportunities to improve in the cycle of importing-developing-exporting their talent. Shortly we will also provide managers with more visibility to project-based opportunities for employees, encourage leaders and hold them accountable for importing and exporting talent, and train managers to become mentors and support career growth. From the employee standpoint, we’ll provide more visibility to the capabilities needed in other parts of the organization so employees can develop and advance their careers.
LSH: Thank you Orit!
I look forward to hearing more about your journey in HP, and about the contribution of People Analytics to employee growth in HP, next week in the people Analytics forum in Tel Aviv!