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Top Five Challenges – and Opportunities – in Driving Extraordinary Workforce Performance

Jim Bowley
on February 17, 2012

Earlier this week, Rania Stewart, senior product manager for performance management and succession planning, delivered a webcast on workforce performance management trends, priorities, challenges and opportunities: “Extraordinary Workforce Performance Meets the New Normal.”

Uniquely suited for her role through her experiences as an HR practitioner and as a long time user of HR technology, Rania leveraged her direct experience with our customers to discuss the top five challenges organizations face as barriers to extraordinary performance.

So what are the top 5 challenges to extraordinary performance?

Challenge 1: Business Leader Accountability for Talent Management

While most business leaders agree that talent management and the identification, hiring, onboarding and retention of employees are critical to business results, some do not take full accountability for driving results. Whether this accountability gap is based on a fear of HR administrative burden, process complexity or other factors, the outcome is the same: lack of full sponsorship by business managers for strategic talent management risks, compromising business results. Business leaders who understand (and take accountability for) talent management have greater control over and visibility into how the individual performance of employee teams correlates to business success. And many can use this performance data to create high performance teams.

Challenge 2: Identification of Critical Organizational Roles

Understanding job descriptions, pay ranges, hiring profiles, competencies and other job profile attributes is important in any role, but particularly in those critical  roles where a talent supply of the right people can help organizations compete and win, and where a gap in the talent supply creates business challenges. The word “identification” is important: Peoplefluent talent management solutions organize content to measure, analyze and understand the business – but definition has to come first. The process of identification – and the thought that goes into it – creates the baseline that organizations need to understand what’s happened historically, understand what’s happening today, and even consider predictors of future bench strength derived from available correlated data.

Challenge 3: Manager Access to Relevant Workforce Data

In its special report on “data deluge,” The Economist predicted a challenge of data abundance and “Big Data,” and this challenge has increased to the point that it is considered one of Gartner’s top technology trends for 2012. If the challenge remains that there is “data, data everywhere,” organizations and talent managers analyzing data must make smart choices to avoid information overload. The word “relevant” is so important in terms of workforce data provided to managers: accurate, meaningful, and timely information they can use in their area of the business is compelling. Managing the tendency to provide all data versus most relevant data means the difference between “deluge” and “desirable” for managers in the business.

Challenge 4: Processes to Deepen the Leadership Pipeline

Instead of focusing solely on the “top 10” or “top 100” personalities within the business, Peoplefluent solutions let organizations establish leadership pipelines deeper within their business. Doing so helps organizations uncover the “latent talents” of professionals who aren’t visible in strategic leadership planning efforts today. This process can also engage self-motivated employees by visualizing defined paths for career development growth (including associated learning actions) while also considering their ambitions and career preferences.

Challenge 5: Commitment by Organizational Leaders to Align Human Capital Management (HCM) Strategy with Business Strategy

During an interview with Peoplefluent Chairman and CEO Charles Jones, Jack Welch (former long-time Chairman and CEO of General Electric and current Distinguished Professor at the Jack Welch Management Institute) commented on the importance of aligning HCM strategy with Business Strategy to create a winning workforce. Making talent management strategy and HR leadership one of the biggest parts of business strategy helps build stronger businesses in an economy that is likely to experience increased demand for talented people with in-demand skills.

The good news? These top five performance management challenges also represent (for those organizations who take the challenge) the top five opportunities to drive extraordinary workforce performance.

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