Archive for April 2012

Talent Management Today – Why Settle for Good When You Can be Great?

April 26, 2012

Guest Post by Aoife Gorey on Thursday, Apr 26, 2012

Talent Management is a key part of a business.  Every now and then it is important for a company to review their employees, considering their levels of effectiveness and efficiency.  Sure, there are plenty of employees who are GOOD at what they do, but wouldn’t it be better for the company to hire someone who is TERRIFIC at their job?

The concept of “playing ball” is similar to the mentality managers have in the workforce.  When playing for a sports team, if an athlete consistently underperforms, the coach will remove him or her from the game.  When an employee underperforms in the workforce, he or she may be removed in order to make room for fresh talent.  In order for the company to maintain good standing in the public eye and remain successful, it is important that its employees are working their best for the welfare of the company and its customers.  Average performers would not cut it on the playing field, so why should they in the workforce?

Employees ultimately should strive to create value for the companies they work for, and they should also drive themselves to continuously work and improve themselves rather than settle for the status quo.

Ideally a company’s goal should be to have an employee base of team players.  Unfortunately, the ideal seldom equals reality.  All too often when a company goes to audit its employees, it will find that although there may be individuals who are talented, there may also be a few whose negative characteristics outweigh their positives.  Eliminating the so-called “bad apples” may allow the company to increase productivity, boost morale, and save money.  In so doing, the company will move toward reaching its maximum potential.

In today’s world, the talent pool is overflowing with valuable, all-star caliber employee prospects.  When it comes time to reorganize your talent, it is important to consider replacing lower-ranking employees with top-talent candidates who can be found both internally and externally.  If possible, it is usually best to internally promote eligible individuals; however, sometimes a company needs fresh insight and new perspectives from new, external hires.  The company should take its time in interviewing, assessing, and considering candidates in order to choose the most viable option.

Recent research from Aberdeen’s Human Capital Management (HCM) shows that businesses must hire, retain and deploy the right talent to meet business challenges, grow the organization and keep customers happy.  The research outlines how the Best-in-Class organizations shared several common characteristics relative to effective talent management strategies

To achieve this Best-in-Class performance, companies must:

  • Know how talent impacts the business by understanding which roles are critical to business growth and performance
  • Hold the business accountable for talent management activities as part of everyday business
  • Provide the right data to all stakeholders to understand measure and monitor the effect of talent      decisions on the business.

Democratic Decision-Making with the Birds and Bees

April 16, 2012

A recent article in Smithsonian magazine1 explores the decision-making process of bees looking for a new home.  The process builds upon a phenomenon called swarm intelligence.  The article draws parallels between the decision-making in bees, in our own brains and in groups.  The common elements in all three reflect some good advice for groups seeking optimal decisions.  Thomas Seeley draws the conclusion that “Living in groups, there’s a wisdom to finding a way for members to make better decisions collectively than as individuals.”

It struck me that there are some lessons that we could learn from this simple creature.  Effective decision-making in human groups, much like in bees could benefit from:

  1. A clear goal;
  2. All members agreeing  to abide by the decision of the group;
  3. Opportunity for all members to share ideas and judge for themselves;
  4. Decisions made by quorum;
  5. A leader willing to accept the decision – even if different from his/her own;

How do the groups that you are in measure up?

The original article man be found at

1 Hive Mind by Carl Zimmer, Smithsonian; March, 2012