The Three Ts of HR: Talent, Technology & Training 

Posted by BusinessForward Team on October 26th, 2016

By Heather Broman, BusinessForward Solutions AnalystHeather Broman

There are many reasons to look forward to the results of the HR Leadership Survey (coming in mid-November) that we conducted this fall with our partners at the Pittsburgh Technology Council. Why? Because aren’t we as professionals always talking about ourselves to them? When was the last time anyone asked them what they were feeling?

HR is central to our professional lives, regardless of our organization. They are among the first people we meet when we join a company and they are the nonpartisan group who provide a range of personal services benefitting us and our team members. As we await the results of the survey, there are three elements of HR we know are on the minds of practitioners because we work so closely with them.

As the HR organization continues to mature into a strategic business player, leaders are faced with complex challenges and exciting opportunities. Chief among them are what I call the “3 T’s”: Talent, Technology and Training.

T for Talent

“It’s not the company-provided lunch that keeps people here. Googlers tell us that there are three reasons they stay: the mission, the quality of the people, and the chance to build the skillset of a better leader or entrepreneur.” – Laszlo Bock, HR, Google

We commonly hear variations of this thought when working with HR organizations. When thinking of talent acquisition there are two critical things that should be considered outside of the compensation package (that being an issue in and of itself): culture fit and job fit.

Culture Fit – Hiring for Passion

A recent survey on Glassdoor, found that 78% of sales professionals would accept less money to work at a company that sells something compelling, and 68% of healthcare professionals are likely to accept less money to work at a company with a great culture.

It’s also important to ask how the candidate relates to the services your company provides and what they value. If you have a culture that encourages volunteering, is the candidate interested in doing volunteer work?  You can always train for skills, but passion and a good attitude is something that can only come from within.

Job Fit – Clarity is Key

Recruiting is competitive. Do you understand the different expectations and work styles of your applicants?

For example, a Database Administrator (DBA) role may require the type of person who can and likes to work alone. While a DBA in another company may need to sit on a board with 15 other people on a weekly basis to figure out your data analytics strategy for the next two years. Same job title, but two different people altogether based on the company’s direction – operational vs strategic. The job description should honestly and accurately reflect this (bonus points if you have a “day in the life” video or description!). It may slim down the candidate pool, but the quality and retention rates will go up in the end, and the brand image should be improved by just being clear from the start.

T for Technology

“Organizations that have used data to gain human capital insights already have a hard-to-replicate competitive advantage” – Thomas Davenport, Co-Found of International Institute for Analytics

Data is king when it comes to supporting innovation. But. How are you managing it and how does it flow through the business? Advances in HR technology are providing leaders with analytics that support innovation, but you have to know what you need to support your initiatives.

The right analytics will allow you to validate and measure against what you THINK you know, and solidify the strategy going forward based on what you ACTUALLY know. Analytics can tell you where to focus your training, the level of employee engagement, and can highlight areas where processes should be improved and better technologies adopted.

When it comes to technology selections, while the business processes are of utmost importance, it’s also important to identify the key metrics you want to be able to measure within your HR Services.  HOW your KPI’s are going to be measured, and how easy those metrics are to comprehend to not only the HR Team, but your organization as a whole. The data will mean nothing if no one can truly understand it and apply it.

The right talent management solution should have these metrics built-in across their different modules or if a best-of-breed approach is taken, an analytics platform should lay on top of these different solutions to give you the key metrics you need to gain insights into the various facets of your business. Otherwise, it will always be a guessing game. Selecting the right technology requires a partner that can support your current business processes and also offer up best practice solutions for where you want to be down the road.

T for Training

“First get the right people on the bus, wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats – and then figure out where to drive it” – Jim Collins, Good to Great

Training is an essential component, not only to employee engagement, but to also provide businesses with a competitive edge.  Training can include supporting appropriate certifications, leadership, mentorship, and a strong manager that will encourage innovation.

A training program should be established based on the role (a Business Analyst should take courses for CBAP Certification), but the training curriculum should also include a tie-in into how the business functions and the role that they play in making the company successful.

Prior to working at BusinessForward, I was fortunate enough to be part of a development program at J.P. Morgan Chase. At Chase, we were able to have rotational job assignments in our core areas of business, engage with our Executive Leaders, given hands-on training pertinent to our job as well as what it takes to be a good leader. We were also encouraged to explore other facets of our business operations through online learning and mentorship programs.

In our training platform, I was able to see how well I stacked up towards completion of job-specific training and my manager could also view the courses I completed. It was a lot of active feedback. I loved all of it and would still recommend them as a company to work for many years after leaving because of it. If you invest in your employees, you benefit directly from enhanced skills and have a brand ambassador for life.

The practice of HR is complex and ever-changing. Talent, technology and training are just three of the areas of focus that can keep leaders ahead of the curve. Today, the HR organization is so much more than transactional. They are integral to successful business.

Want to hear more about HR matters? Join us November 16, 2016 – We will be co-hosting with the Pittsburgh Technology Council, a panel of HR leaders in a discussion about the results of our HR Leadership Survey. We’ll discuss the HR agenda, investment priorities, challenges and opportunities faced by our region.


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BusinessForward Team

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