Okay, so this blog thing actually requires real work I've decided. I’m getting hazed by Canadian Headhunter for launching the blog, and then failing to post anything on a regular basis. My theory is that in his Northern Latitude he has more daylight, and therefore more time to commit to this pastime of pontification on the web. If someone can explain this in more detail, that would be great.
Leah commented that, "You need to make people more motivated. The only way to do so is with money." and I wanted to respond.
When one considers a more meritocratic 'work system' consisting of employees, employers, and other arrangements, some of my primary points are actually much more deeply rooted than that. If you consider a corporate organizational system, most are not that efficient when it comes to managing talent, and tying work efforts and value creation of employees back to the bottom line. I believe this will change. An interesting article related to this topic was in a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review on "A Players or A Positions", which suggested (and I agree with) that more efficient organizations will more effectively invest in creating hiearchies and work effort focus based on a position's value to the organization, and the player filling the role, and subsequently focus their recruiting and development efforts even more narrowly than just on acquiring 'A' players. Today, the 'A' players get the attention and focus in terms of recruiting and development, but there's a bigger question, particularly in light of several issues:
- more knowledge in the hands of all workers (God Bless the Internet),
- a growing transparency between companies, their employees, and customers (indeed, in some cases it's more than transparency, the actual lines don't exist – this is an interesting article from Wired magazine which illustrates what I’m talking about). Also see Officeballot. Where is all this going? Clearly…
- The scarcity issues related to talent now and in the coming years (Yikes! can I please run faster…)
- Globalization and 'Flatism' (you should have read the Friedman book by now - if you haven't already – see link at right) and the global trend towards efficient distribution and engagement of human capital.
The question is probably this: "How do organizations optimize their spend on human capital and augment the ROI on this spend?" One way is through building more meritocratic systems of measurements and rewards, which is going to become more and more important as the global talent system becomes more efficient.
So, going back to Leah's comment, I would assert that it's actually not about money, it's about matching rewards to the personalized algorithm we all have which gives us job satisfaction and engagement, but also, folding that on top of the proper value hierarchy that we need to build regarding positions in the organization.
So, for example, let's take a corporate recruiting department as an example, and two different recruiters, Sam the Man, and Jug the Slug. In one scenario, both Sam and Jug hire the same number of people over the course of the year, into identical positions, and therefore all of their recruiting stats such as cost per hire and time to fill and even their "staffing efficiency ratios" are the same (See staffing.org which I think introduced this metric). But Sam the Man's results go well beyond the net number of hires... the hires he made had other implications that aren't readily measured or captured:
- 25% of his hires actually get promoted a twice the rate of the company average, because he was able to hire more for talent and competency (and sourced better pools of candidates) through consultation with the line hiring managers.
- Along the way in making these hires, Sam built a network and impressed the surrounding talent pool with his salesmanship, professionalism, and ambassadorship of his company which had a positive effect on the company brand, and their ability to recruit future talent.
- Sam also had a synergistic effect on the line management team with regards to talent acquisition. They referred more people, improved their assessment skills and raised their bar, treated candidates better through the process and partnered with Sam on demand planning and business acumen, which further drove down costs and effectiveness.
- And importantly, the people that Sam hired actually contributed more to the bottom line. In fact, in the P&L positions that Sam hired for, his recruits on average drove 11% more revenue, and had more than 50% profit flow through on the marginal revenue in terms of profit than the average hires made by his counterparts.
Now consider Jug the Slug, who achieved the same number of hires, and based on the stats and the recruiting manager’s observations, feedback from the hiring managers, and others, contributed the same value to the organization as Sam the Man.
So my (perhaps convoluted) point (one is really on the hook for making a clear case here in the blogosphere isn’t one?) is that with technology providing better and better data, increased competition for scarce talent, the continuing push for efficiency and quality throughput though an organization, and market factors, the ability of an organization to efficiently capture the true contributions of its human capital will become much more paramount. Hence, the need for true meritocratic principles, processes, and rewards, and truly becoming efficient at value creation through people.
In my next post (give me a day or two, CH - sheesh), I’d like to talk about data, and the need for us as HR professionals to start getting real about the value we create (or don’t create) at our companies, and how we measure it.
BTW, and you Canadians might like this, I recently had a birthday (3/25) and one of the gifts I received was Yer Favorites by The Tragically Hip, one of my favorite bands. Does that grant me immunity for my laboriously slow posting contributions?
(is this really going to stick as my nickname? – I’d welcome suggestions – no offense to my newfound Canadian friends).