Talent Management Best Practices

Talent Management Best Practices

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Talent Management Best Practices

Creating People Advantage 2011
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  • In This Article
    • GarantiBank improved talent and leadership development to manage rapid growth.
    • Société Générale increased its talent pools and levels of engagement.
    • In the Gas Natural Fenosa merger, HR helped capture cost synergies without hurting morale.
    • PSA Peugeot Citroën pursued growth in emerging markets by globalizing HR processes.

    The discipline of talent management includes a variety of levers that can be adapted for a particular situation. The short case studies that follow show how four companies have taken talent management to a higher level, whether their challenge is penetrating emerging markets, integrating two cultures after a merger, or deepening the pool of skilled talent.

    Moving from Basics to Best Practice

    September 2011
    Time to Act: HR Certainties in Uncertain Times

    Talent scarcity becomes a more complex issue in a globalizing world. A new survey of European companies shows the strengths and gaps in HR practices today.

    Over the past ten years, GarantiBank of Turkey has experienced sharp growth rates, with the number of branches and employees almost tripling. From 2001 through 2006, the bank’s executives devoted time and resources to building a solid talent-management and leadership-development framework in order to sustain long-term growth.

    With that foundation firmly in place, Garanti is refining its approach to strive for best-practice levels in several areas of talent management:

    • Recruiting. Garanti rose to the top of Turkey’s most-desired-employer list in 2008, in part because of its innovative “talent camp” designed to tighten relationships with key universities. At the camp, potential recruits work on cases that they present to a senior management jury. The camp and its accompanying website and Facebook page have helped to build the employer brand and to expand the recruiting pipeline at leading schools.

    • Planning and Segmentation. “Currently the cohort of high-potential talent covers about 6 percent of the workforce,” explained Osman Tüzün, HR coordinator for Garanti. “Different groups get different support from HR. For instance, one focus for junior talent is career guidance, while management talent gets assignments for various projects that will stretch their skills.” Meanwhile, talent strategy focuses mainly on increasing the spatial and functional mobility of staff, as well as on senior executive succession planning.

    • Developing Talent and Leadership. With 95 percent of Garanti’s management positions filled internally, young, talented employees have excellent opportunities to develop into managers at the bank. Although there are many young employees at the management level, high performance and at least seven years of experience in the banking sector are required for advancing into senior positions. Junior talent-development programs, for both headquarters and the regions, play a big role in preparing these employees to be managers. Using a model dubbed Yıldız (“star”), Garanti senior managers gather once a year to discuss the top talent companywide at all levels—their strengths, skills, and potential for career growth and greater responsibilities.

    Talent challenges never stand still, and Garanti constantly adjusts to new situations. For instance, as its hierarchies became flatter, vertical staff movement diminished. In response, Garanti is working to enrich and expand certain positions, and to promote cross-functional transfers that will yield new career opportunities.

    Société Générale
    Talent Management Overhaul

    Don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good. That concept guided French bank Société Générale in 2009 as it articulated a growth plan that included an overhaul of how it managed talent and leadership. The bank launched its ambitious effort on many fronts simultaneously, over the course of one year.

    Talent targets were derived from the bank’s strategic plan and adopted by the divisions. The talent life-cycle process—performance reviews, succession plans, and mobility management—was revised to get closer to industry best practices, with a much higher level of consistency and adoption. Talent governance, moreover, was standardized internationally to break through divisional silos and encourage international mobility.

    On the leadership front, a group leadership model has been incorporated into most HR processes and systems. Performance evaluations and bonuses now hinge not just on individual results but also on behaviors that contribute to those results, which affect how people collaborate.

    Development programs for executives were augmented and folded into a corporate university. Each group, from emerging talent to potential senior executives, received customized individual and team coaching and modules to expand their ways of thinking about business issues. “Some modules are mandatory, while others are adapted to each executive,” said Veronique Poulard, global head of leadership and talent management.

    Société Générale believed it was necessary to adjust its employer value proposition to meet increasingly demanding expectations from the staff. What the bank settled on was a simple promise, “Career, care, agility”—care for employees, help to boost their careers, and encouragement of agile teamwork at all levels. This was expressed through a series of concrete actions, such as an overhaul of mobility and diversity policies, tailored local actions to improve work-life balance, and tools to measure both employee engagement and the company’s attractiveness to job candidates.

    Because the HR staff was being stretched by its more demanding roles, the bank also began to upgrade skills among HR business partners and to improve delivery through HR systems and shared-service centers.

    Although this effort is not complete, the bank has already seen remarkable improvements. Talent pools have increased sharply, and engagement levels have risen as well, especially for the employee groups that received the greatest investments. As Anne Marion-Bouchacourt, head of group human resources, said, “You shouldn’t wait to have it all perfect before implementing. If anything, I would go even further and faster.”

    Gas Natural Fenosa
    HR’s Role in Making Mergers Work

    Even the best-laid merger plan can be derailed if the people and cultures don’t mesh. HR can improve the odds of success by stepping up to be a true transformation partner with the two businesses.

    Case in point: the 2009 merger of Gas Natural and Unión Fenosa, two Spain-based utilities with more than 16,000 employees in 20 countries. HR was given the difficult assignment of capturing cost synergies in the merged workforce while retaining key talent and keeping morale and engagement high. “Our task was to capture as much savings as possible, minimizing the potential negative impact on morale and keeping a reasonable budget for employee exits,” explained Miguel Angel Aller, HR director for Gas Natural Fenosa.

    To augment HR’s interactions at the business unit level during and after the merger, the company created the role of HR business partner with a vertical reporting line to corporate HR. The company also set up a shared-service center for transactional activities such as payroll and benefits, as well as HR IT-systems subsidiaries in Europe and Latin America.

    HR took the lead in managing the integration. Besides offering early-retirement incentives, HR designed an aggressive three-part mobility program to balance jobs with available personnel:

    • Reallocation of staff into existing vacancies, according to skills and geographical fit

    • Strategic insourcing of previously outsourced work for high-value-added activities, such as a director overseeing network construction and expansion

    • Tactical insourcing of external jobs, such as administrative services, on a temporary basis

    Two dedicated units in the shared-service center oversaw the mobility program, tracking progress in workforce size and structure, updating forecasts of personnel costs, and managing the insourcing initiatives. Governance of the mobility program fell to a committee that met regularly.

    In two years, HR has generated substantial success with the mobility program, covering 1,000 positions in Spain.

    PSA Peugeot Citroën
    HR Transformation for a Global World

    Like many automakers, PSA Peugeot Citroën faces the substantial challenge of gaining market share in rapidly developing economies. This challenge, the HR unit decided, should translate into three specific objectives: making HR processes and structures far more international; becoming leaner and more efficient; and developing capabilities (in talent planning, sourcing, and development) to help the businesses prepare for imminent technological skill shifts and changes in location.

    Based in France, the company employs roughly half its workforce of 198,000 people outside its home market, including 64,000 throughout Europe and 34,000 in other regions. But HR was starting with a strongly France-centric focus and little central steering of international activities, as most HR transactions occurred at the local level, leaving little room for HR to act as a consultant to the business heads. “We will have to recruit and on-board thousands of talented individuals every year,” said Rémi Boyer, the company’s head of HR development. “While this is only starting to be a challenge in France, it already is one in Russia, China, and Latin America.”

    HR's subsequent transformation involved three main initiatives.

    First, HR established centers of excellence with a clear international mandate in eight expert-based activities, ranging from strategic workforce planning to career management. To underscore the global mandate, all HR responsibilities for the French operations were carved out from the corporate level and moved to subsidiary levels. The centers of excellence define guidelines and tools in their respective areas for international use but explicitly do not execute activities locally.

    Second, the company bundled transactional activities into regional shared services, like payroll and labor relations, in order to reap efficiencies. Where possible, the activities are harmonized and offered internationally. The design of training programs is also bundled at a regional level, ensuring a high standard consistent with globally defined job and skill requirements.

    Third, HR aimed to become a true partner with the business units. To do so, it reduced the amount of local transactional activities, especially staffing and career management, by adjusting the missions and tasks of HR business partners. At the same time, HR strengthened certain skills, such as HR strategy formulation.

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