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Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business Hardcover – January 23, 2006
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Who's up for crashing retirement parties? With so many baby boomers bidding adieu, there's no shortage of workplace send-offs.
And it doesn't matter who's saying goodbye. So what if we've never worked with, talked to, or heard of Larry from accounting or Betty from payroll.
It's not like we're pulling a Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson and crashing weddings as supposed friends of the bride or groom.
Everyone's family here at work.
Showing up for a stranger's party is proof positive that we're team players who care. And that, my friend, is the kind of reputation that gets you hand-picked for high-profile special projects where the fun never ends and the pay, perks and expense accounts have no limits.
Not all send-offs are created equal, so let's pick our spots. For something more than a Costco slab cake and lukewarm Pepsi served in an otherwise empty room, watch for retiring management types.
Expect a spread that rivals what the executives grazed on during a career of endless meetings.
Equally excellent are standing-room-only retirement parties for the happy, hard-working little people who are known by all and loved by many.
Of course, we're crashing parties to do more than scarf back snacks and escape our desks for a half hour of sanctioned social time.
Our mission? Hobnob with senior execs who've cleared 20 minutes on their calendars, wandered out of their inner sanctums and cut the tether to their Crackberries.
If we don't get face time with those who have the power to promote us, let's hijack them later in hallways and rave about their witty and heartfelt speeches, the ones that were written in mere minutes by their frantic personal assistants who flew into HR and yanked the personnel files of the dearly departing.
Yes, retirement parties can be a wonderful networking opportunity if you're an ambitious Gen Xer or Nexter looking to move up in the world.
It's less than wonderful if you're running the show. Not only is so much experience and expertise walking out the door -- other employers are aggressively courting and poaching whoever's left standing and your best and brightest have long since lost any sense of loyalty.
Smart organizations are going on the offensive and fundamentally rethinking the way talent is evaluated, recruited, trained, retained and promoted, claim authors Hank Stringer and Rusty Rueff.
"The more you can put the right person with the right attitude, experience and skills in the right place at the right time, the better off your business will be," say the authors.
"Every organization that wants to remain competitive must create a plan to acquire the right talent and ensure that talent is available for the work that needs to be done today and in the future."
Stringer and Rueff recommend investing heavily in websites, podcasts, VCasts and blogs to promote your talent brand and build your talent pool
Complementing your high-tech investments is old-fashioned, high-touch relationship recruiting. Hiring a Chief Talent Officer and a small army of recruiters will prove to be a very wise investment.
And thanks to the wonders of technology, your recruiters should be pushing less paper and talking with more people.
"Only a person, a skilled relationship recruiter, can look into people's eyes, shake their hands, ask them questions and formulate a rich, nuanced, social understanding of each unique answer."
Talent Force will be a wake-up call to any employer who's taking the human side of business for granted and neglecting the one and only true competitive advantage -- the talent force.
If you don't get your act together, you may soon find yourself planning both retirement parties and a going-out-of-business wake.
--Jay Robb, The Hamilton Spectator, 6/30/06
From the Back Cover
Only one thing really differentiates your business from your competitor: your people. Do you have the right talent in the right place at the right time? It's no longer enough to have a 'workforce': you need a high-impact Talent Force. The authors first identify the massive social, cultural, and economic shifts that are transforming hiring as we know it. We are a smaller, closer, and more competitive world, as Baby Boomers are retiring in the US, India is flourishing due to outsourcing and educational development, and China is a strong new economic force. Add to that the fact that today's best people have radically new expectations and approaches to work; this book reveals what they want and how to meet those needs while building your business. Learn how to develop and implement a worldclass talent plan that aligns with business objectives, and define metrics to track and optimize success. Discover how candidates are using technology to evaluate new opportunities, benchmark compensation, and create new back-channels of communication about worklife. Maximize these new technologies to grow Talent Force, tap into new sources of competitive intelligence and stay ahead of the pack. Foreword xi Acknowledgments xiii About the Authors xv Preface xvii Introduction xix Chapter 1: The Quality Talent Imperative 1 Chapter 2: Talent Market Demands 11 Chapter 3: Building a Competitive Talent Organization 35 Chapter 4: The Cultural Obsession of Work 59 Chapter 5: Building a Talent Community 77 Chapter 6: Tangible Talent Measurement 93 Chapter 7: Talent Goes on Offense 115 Chapter 8: Relationship Recruiting (Still) Rules 133 Chapter 9: Talent Forces of Tomorrow 151 Index 163
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Having read the book, I recommend it somewhat different reasons. Yes it helps you understand this trend, and yes Rusty is a great guy. But you need to read this book because it helps you put your talent in a strategic frame of reference. The skills of the people in your organization are paramount to your success, and this book describes that and reinforces that point in fresh and salient ways.
Initially I thought this book would mostly be for leaders in large organizations with lots of ongoing hiring. I was wrong. As a small business owner, I have many ideas and processes in mind to help me as I move forward. I believe a line manger or leader in an organization of any size will gain value from this book.
If you care about keeping the talent you have and expanding or replacing it rapidly and effectively, you must read this book.
Predictably, we emerged from school with monetarist attitudes about the power of capital, the amazing quality of market information, and a resulting suspicion of "marketing types," flashy people with pinky rings who advocated controlling our firm's public perception. We were never troubled by the nagging doubts that should have made us wonder, "so how's come none of my models ever determines, with any accuracy, the value of a stock, or the selling price of a company?" We were sure that these discrepancies happen because the market, with its perfect knowledge, knew something about the industry that we didn't know. And too often, we would later learn that we had overlooked an important personnel issue; a looming retirement, a shortage of specialists, an obsolete benefits package, a drinking problem. We should have known. But comforting ourselves with a truism about the focal acuity of "hindsight," we would "get back out there and step back up to the plate."
So it is no wonder that most of my generation still hires, retains, and plans for its workforce in some rough imitation of the way our boss' generation hired. When we have a need for a new person, we concoct a job description, get our bosses approvals, and post the "vacancy" on line. When the hundred thousand resumes arrive, we form a team to winnow the pile down to a manageable fifty. Then we spend the evening with those fifty resumes and in the morning we have ten candidates. After some uncomfortable phone calls, we schedule two or three interviews. Unhappy with the selection, we send the job description out to a small group of "contingency" head hunters. And the same hundred resumes begin filling our inboxes and tying up the fax machine again. But this time, each resume comes with a head hunter advocate, pushing us to meet with this one candidate. By now, everyone in the industry knows that you are hiring, including your own employees, many of whom feel this job would be the next logical stepping stone in their own career track.
If you recognize yourself at all in this short description, you would certainly benefit from a close reading of Rueff and Stringer's Talent Force: a New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business. In the time it will take to meet with a heartbroken and valuable employee who feels "passed over" in your staffing program, you can be reintroduced to the latest tools for maintaining and building the people force that IS your company. More than a motivating "locker room talk," you will learn how to find resources and strategies that you may have overlooked. The most helpful insights may be in the sections on "Emerging Recruitment Practices" and "Strategic Integration Point Person," in which the processes of recruiting, outsourcing, and retaining talent are integrated into a marketing approach prioritized at the top of your organization. Specific advice is offered on how to find qualified talent consultants and specialists. And this is all packaged in an easy to read book that steers clear of theoretical approaches and industry-specific solutions. A copy of this book should be placed in the reading bin of every first class seat on commercial airlines.
This book is not a management tome about motivating one's work force. It's a fast read that is a combination wake-up call (or reminder) that the global labor situation is changing and a compliation of current practices to deal with the new change factors.
Who should read this book? I would imagine the ideal reader to be:
- CXOs who want to understand what's happening to their workforce today
- HR professionals who want to get ahead of the change curve
- Execs in growth oriented firms as they will face workforce issues (e.g., skills shortages, changing demand for workers by country, etc.) more acutely than any other