Outlook 2010: Optimizing Today for Continued Success Tomorrow

This is part of a special advertising section on the challenges facing HR executives in the coming year.

Friday, October 2, 2009
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It is important to always look for the positives, even during challenging times. While current economic conditions have introduced a set of challenges that we have not seen for some time, there are certainly a number of important takeaways that will help leaders and organizations be more successful now and into the future. A positive one has been the renewed focus on workforce optimization and the realization that, to be best positioned for future growth, organizations must keenly focus on their greatest asset -- human capital.

Employers are clearly recognizing the impact that developing a strong workforce has on real business results: A talented workforce is crucial to overcoming short-term business challenges and repositioning an organization for long-term success and growth.

This is an approach that we're taking very seriously at ADP, where we continue to emphasize employee training and development as a key to leading a successful Service Profit Chain model. The philosophy behind the Service Profit Chain model is this: Happy, engaged associates provide higher levels of quality and service, which drives clients to stay with an organization longer, buy more services and refer others to use their services.

I see our clients around the world placing greater emphasis on their organizational planning through succession-planning efforts and more stringent performance planning, as well as a focused effort to align management and employee goals with critical corporate objectives.

Today, organizations looking to optimize their approach to talent management can benefit from integrated, fully automated solutions that cover the full range of employee-development needs -- from recruitment to retirement.

Market demand for fully integrated talent-management solutions is on the rise, and this trend is expected to continue into 2010 and beyond. According to Watson Wyatt's 2009 HR Technology Trends Survey, more than half of all U.S. companies (56 percent) are planning to use more talent-management technology over the next 24 months, with an emphasis on integration. The survey also found that 37 percent of companies have made talent management a higher priority as a result of current economic conditions.

By implementing a talent-management solution, organizations can maximize the impact and return from their workforce strategies. A recent study by Bersin & Associates, entitled High Impact Talent Management: Trends, Best Practices and Industry Solutions showed organizations that have implemented fully integrated talent-management suites have achieved a 60 percent higher return when compared to organizations that are utilizing non-integrated solutions.

At a time when all types of organizations are challenged to do more with less, employers should be taking a closer look at integrated solutions that enable high-impact success around employee collaboration, development and performance management.

When evaluating talent-management programs, employers should look for the following components to meet their needs and the needs of their employees:

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* Performance management: Enables employers to align individual goals with departmental objectives and organizational strategy to help ensure that workforce activity is translated into positive business results.

* Succession planning: Handles workforce and employee-succession management through automated career profiling, team building, internal recruiting and comprehensive succession-planning capabilities, and identifies promising talent and critical roles within organizations to place the right people into the right positions.

* Learning management: Allows businesses to strategically and cost-effectively create, manage and deliver personalized training that brings together targeted, fully blended learning programs for all members of the organization.

* Compensation management: Provides the tools to help organizations reward the behaviors and outcomes they desire most.

? Social networking: Enables more effective onboarding and workplace collaboration, improves employee performance, and spurs innovation from client and partner communities by fostering social (informal) learning, organizational memory, professional networking and better communication across the organization's employee base and the extended enterprise.

These are certainly interesting business times. However, the trend toward workforce planning and employee development is a very encouraging one. Employers who invest in their people, and in talent management, will persevere and see the organizational impact and benefit for years to come.

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