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Best HR Ideas in Talent Management

The editors of HRE announce their top picks for ideas launched this past year that helped strengthen productivity, boost morale and engagement, and put a well-deserved spotlight on the creative powers within HR.

These are the best ideas chosen in the talent management area:

Monday, March 2, 2009
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Business Development Manager Talent Lifecycle Value

AlliedBarton Security Services, Conshohocken, Pa.

As the economy started its downward slide in early 2008, AlliedBarton Security Services' human capital department realized it had to adjust its strategies to better align them with the company's business objectives by providing a new level of performance analytics for hiring future business-development managers.

So in April, the department unveiled its Talent Lifecycle Value program, which provides an in-depth examination of the managers' bodies of work at the company in order to see where they could inject talent-management practices to increase performance. Unique performance measures were defined and ultimately illustrated managers' productivity curves, which charted the number of business proposals won for the company by the managers, by tenure group.

This, in turn, showed how long it takes for the managers to become consistently productive. The curve also showed that many of the managers were leaving just as they were beginning to reach their potential, which indicated to the company that changes needed to be made to combat turnover during those critical months. 

These metrics went a long way in getting the company's leaders more interested in, and focused on, improving the recruiting and retention processes for their business-development managers to ensure they were hiring and keeping top performers. The metrics also got company leaders to pay more attention to the HR department, which is always a good idea.

Interviewer Calibration

US Cellular, Chicago

The sixth-largest wireless service provider in the United States, US Cellular -- which employs 8,000 associates in 26 states -- was looking for a way to ensure administrative consistency, and rating reliability and accuracy, when its interviewers conduct final candidate meetings.

With the help of DeGarmo Group, based in Bloomington, Ill., the company launched its Interviewer Calibration program in November 2008 to ensure that proper administration protocol is followed across interviewers and locations, as well as to engage interview coaches in a series of rating-calibration exercises designed to build consensus among the coaches on how they should be scoring applicants.

Coaches are now able to share with each other their reasons for assigning particular ratings and what they see as strengths and weaknesses in applicants' responses. They can also discuss alternative follow-up questions that may be helpful for clarifying information.

What we like best about this idea is that it uses collaborative Web-meeting technology to enable several different interview coaches in multiple locations to think more similarly about the interview process.

One Simple Thing

PepsiCo, Purchase, N.Y.

For employees everywhere, finding the right work/life balance is never a simple task.

But in January 2008, PepsiCo unveiled a new program at its corporate headquarters in Purchase, N.Y., called "One Simple Thing," in which employees identify one "simple" thing they believe would help them each achieve a greater level of work/life balance. Examples include: committing to be home to eat with their children several nights per week, working from home one day a week or blocking out certain times each week to attend an exercise class.

Employees then share their OSTs with their managers, and both must agree that it would not interfere with work performance. Upon agreement, the employee creates an objective in his or her performance plan for the year, and it becomes the responsibility of both the employee and the manager to ensure that the employee achieves that OST over the course of the year.

Corporate-headquarters employees who participated in OST posted a 77 percent favorability rating on the employee survey question: "My company supports my efforts to balance my work and personal life."

We chose this simple yet innovative program because it increases office morale and productivity while making employees more motivated to "work smarter" in order to achieve that elusive balance between work and life.

Search with Confidence

Dun & Bradstreet, Short Hills, N.J.

Having your job eliminated is never an easy experience to go through, but Dun & Bradstreet launched a new program in November called "Search with Confidence" that offers help to 450 former employees who have recently lost their jobs. The purpose of the program is to make them feel supported, cared for and respected as they look for a new position.

Launched in November 2008, the program contains four key components to help these former employees find new jobs. The first uses recruiters from the company's partner, The Empower Network, to offer advice and direct contact with hiring leaders, and to help create individualized marketing strategies.

The company also provides access to tools and information, including business-information site Hoover's, D&B University, a suite of skill-building classes and the program's Web site (which provides articles, tips and links to job sites).

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Outplacement help -- including resume and interview workshops -- is also offered, beginning as soon as an employee is notified of his or her job elimination. Medical coverage was extended for employees up to six months following job elimination.

This program was selected because it shows how leaders facing difficult times can quickly reallocate resources, such as utilizing recruiters to assist former employees in the job-search process, to make the best of a bad situation.

MPG Idol

Intel Corp.'s Mobile Products Group, Santa Clara, Calif.

While Randy, Paula and the rest of the American Idol judges weren't looking, Intel put a new spin on the popular singing competition's format in the company's never-ending quest for the next great technological idea.

Intel's Mobile Platform Group turned the format on its ear by inviting employees to form teams last April, not to sing a song, but rather to come up with a 10-minute, three-slide presentation on a self-generated new idea and its marketability. Two finalist teams were chosen, and they were given six months away from their full-time jobs to take their idea from concept to prototype. In September, the two teams again pitched their ideas to an internal review board and were asked to continue working on their proposals.

While the two teams' ideas remain closely guarded secrets for now, one of the products now stands an 80 percent chance of going into full production, while the other holds a 50 percent chance.

The judges loved the use of a pop-culture phenomenon as a vehicle to drive innovation within the company while also maintaining a level of employee excitement that is necessary when launching any new program.

Read the Best HR Ideas main story and our winners for Benefits, for HR Technology, for Talent Management and for Training & Development.

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