Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Going Foursquare! Gamification of talent management

This is a post I first intended as a Hack for the Management Innovation eXchange

Origins of Talent Management ... stil valid ?

Talent Management Systems have been developed in classic, hierarchical organizations. They are most often based on heavy frameworks (competency framework, performance framework, key positions framework, ...) that have proved their value in slow-changing organizations (themselves buried in slow-changing environments).
These systems are great options to develop leaders and managers supposed to fill the shoes of their elders, and continue with the same type of leadership and management models. Such systems have been extremely efficient in industrial-age corporations such as General Electric, Danaher, Valeo, ...
These systems have two important shortcomings : they are selective and static. Simply put, they lead to choose between two leaders or managers and they certainly do not foster innovation (innovative skills, behaviours, gems - see this hack).
In an ever accelerating organizational evolution and a deeply socialized world (through social technologies), these systems represent a major hindrance for organization evolution. They often result in HR teams having to work "around the system". They also result in dissenters and alternative talents leaving the organization.
From practices to a "Talent Locator & Accelerator"

The talent locator and accelerator is built following three phases : analysis of existing social networks that have a proximity with the corporation; defintion of a dynamic system (the talent locator and accelerator); new system adoption driving 
HR teams should analyze the recognition & engagement systems in social networks, that are specific to each social network focus (professional, conversational, friending, ...). Such systems have been able, at the same time, to engage an ever increasing number of members while being able to make each individual stand out in regard of her/his particular abilities, friends, opinions, postings, ...
This analysis will help HR teams define new recognition systems in terms of :
  • What needs to be recognized (basis for engagement) : is it participation, contribution, belonging, raw talent, innovative talent, particular abilities, exceptional performance, ... ?
  • How to identify / measure the items that need to be recognized ? If, say, participation or contribution can be measured in terms of quantity and quality, measuring an innovative skill is almost impossible. In this particular case (and similar ones), HR teams will need to innovate themselves and devise new means for identifying particular abilities or innovative talent. For instance, a marketing expert that gets an unusual high number of "likes" (or its corporate equivalent) has probably a new idea or a particular ability. HR teams should be able to poll the "fans or followers" (or their corporate equivalent) of the marketing expert and identify the new talent or ability;
  • Who will be responsible for recognition : leaders & managers ? peers ? the whole organization through a specific social intellegence tool ? a given community members ? Working on measurement and responsibility for recognition is probably a huge opportunity for impact of HR on strategy development
  • When (if ever) is formal evaluation needed ?
  • What type of reward will be tied to a particular type of recognition : financial ? reputation ? influence ? professional development ? social engagement ?
  • How will recognition translate into the existing corporate social network ? Badges, recomendations, other symbols ?
Adoption of such a system should start where new social technologies and usage is high, but also in parts of the organization that are in dire need of innovation. Adoption of such a system is not a simple, unidirectional project. It is a continuous feed-back loop, in which new dimensions are added to the recognition system as new business, functions, geographies adopt the system.
In the end, recognition of talent, abilities, performance, participation, must become a solid part of the corporate culture and of individual activity