A recent McKinsey survey on how companies make good decisions suggests several actions that are strongly associated with good financial and operational outcomes. In their survey, they asked executives on a global basis about a capital or human-resources decision their companies made. The results highlight the real business benefits such as increased profits and rapid implementation of several decision-making disciplines. It seems to me that in three of the four social media can play a useful role. Although in the end it is the people and what they might do with the technology, not the technology, that matter.
Even these questions indicate a dated view of where talent is and how to get the most out of it. Sure, no one disputes the importance of talent, even in a recession. But, as a Deloitte report contends (.pdf link), companies spend entirely too much time focused on attracting and retaining talent. Moreover, as they do, they often lose sight of what appeals to and keeps hold of talent in the first place. (See John’s perspectives on the report and on the mindsets that limit firms.)
Talented workers join companies and stay there because they believe they’ll learn faster and better than they would at other employers.
Talented workers develop instead by:
- Trying new things.
- Experimenting with what they do in their jobs and how they do it.
- Tackling real problems with talented people who have different backgrounds and skills.
- Participating in talent networks, the largely invisible matrix structures that run within firms and, with increasing frequency, between and across them.
Pull platforms are essential to fostering learning on the job since they can make it easier to access unexpected resources in unexpected ways and thereby encourage participants to try new approaches that simply would not be feasible in more rigid push programs.