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The CEOworks Team February 27 2020 8 min read

The New Work of HR - Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of our New Work of HR series.

In the last installment of the series, we discussed the concept of democratizing Talent Management – taking the energy that goes into placing and grooming “Top of House” talent and applying it deeper into an organization. Part 3 discusses the challenges of "democratizing" the talent management process in large organizations.

Talent to Value is a tool which is focused on assembling enough talent at a point of leverage to create value. This is a new capability we are bringing to the world of Human Capital. While Talent to Value is very important because it will drive value creation, it is not the single makeover that talent management needs. The second makeover is to bring the discipline of talent management across the length and breadth of the organization. Our challenge lies in solving these two separate problems, both of which are about breaking from hierarchy.

In this conversation, our founders delve deeper into these ideas and how Talent to Value fits into the greater talent management puzzle. You can watch the video or read the transcript below:

Shefali Salwan:

If you connect talent to value and you know where those positions are -where the roles are- you're pushing it down the organizational pyramid. The whole talent to value concept in itself is a way to push it down to say “the value is not all at the top.”

Sumeet Salwan:

Talent to Value is a tool which is focused on assembling enough talent at a point of leverage to create value. I believe it's a different Job To Be Done*. But, I also wonder what else could be done in Talent Managemgent I don't think Talent to Value is the single makeover that talent management needs. It is a very important one, because it will drive value creation.

The second challenge is, "How do you bring the discipline of talent management across the length and breadth of the organization?" I don't think that exists today. I think it's very variable in organizations, and it gets more variable as you go deeper down.

I think that I'm solving two separate problems.

The first one is about breaking it from hierarchy. Actually, the second one is also about breaking it from hierarchy.

Sandy Ogg:

If we look at the points of leverage, in the first instance, we're looking at the value agenda and at the roles. There is a finite number of roles, and actually, a small number of roles that have disproportionate impact on what we're trying to do.

I think the next piece is the job families. What business are we in, and where is the value? It's not just that single leadership role. It's like the UPS case:

At UPS there are the truck drivers and the algorithm writers. Attrition amongst the truck drivers is near zero. Attrition amongst the algorithm writers is ~25%. Which attrition is more concerning?

People at the top may say: "We don't have a problem with attrition," but in the case of the algorithm writers –which one might argue is where all the value is—the attrition is considerable. That's a problem. If we were going to create a disproportionate impact, we would go for the algorithm writers, and see if we could bend the curve upward.

But, to your point [Sumeet], if we can raise the performance of the truck drivers, that large group, a small percentage, it could potentially have a large impact-


If there was a certain exclusivity in talent management when it was linked to hierarchy, I'm wondering: are we building a new bourgeois class, which is around value center?

It's a yin and a yang story, for me, saying, "I got to get the value piece perfect." The jobs, the job families, that's the yin. The yang is, "Hey, but, there are 10,000 people in the organization." What's the lift that you're doing on talent management there?

That's what I'm calling democratization. It doesn't mean I have to put that disproportionate effort at the point of leverage now across. Basically, we both know the answer to that will be, "We'll dilute everything, and it'll become like an average story."

That's not what I'm going for.

I don't want a new exclusive club. It used to be hierarchy, and now it's value. Something like, “I got to get the value piece right.” Then, "how do you lift standards?"

I think getting Talent to Value right is like a season one mobilization thought in a transformation (early stage of transformation). The capability and culture thought, I'm saying, is you got to lift standards across as well. But, maybe that's an 18 months thought (mid-stage, building capability and changing culture take time).


There are hotspots in the momentum case (value today), too. Talent to value for me is bend the curve case (value tomorrow). But, you can't leave the momentum case, because that's going to start bleeding. For me you'd need both the momentum case and the bend the curve case.


If we put both on the agenda, you could fall into that second set of CEOs who do too much: think big, act big, move slow, get fired.




The CEOworks Team

Articles created by the CEOworks Communications Team are based on content from Sandy Ogg, Sumeet Salwan, Shefali Salwan, and other team members.

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