Archive for Talent Management

Defining new workplace strategies

For many companies defining the post-COVID-19 period is problematic. Employees and also candidates looking for a new job pose new demands regarding the flexibility to choose their own workplace, sometimes even being in another country from where the permanent office location is.

Replanning office space

I have recently been part of a number of discussions with line managers and HR on this topic. Some companies have already replanned their office space by reducing the number of workplaces, some companies are waiting to see how the pandemic will continue impacting and some companies expect to go back to normal with less changes. In these discussions I see some recurring questions coming up which might be helpful for all companies to reconsider.

Looking at the workplace strategies there has already before COVID-19 been an increasing demand to allow more flexibility when it comes to physical presence at the workplace. There are many ways to describe what alternatives the company can choose from.  From the workplace design perspective, you should need to consider at least the following parameters.

Assess the operational need for the physical presence

First, you need to assess the operational need for the physical presence. For example, for many engineering companies there is still a need to have access to expensive tools and products. Also, some working tools are impossible to send to employee´s home or the cost would be too high.  Home working can also mean that you need an expensive laptop instead of having a cheaper stationary computer at the workplace.

Define collaboration

You need to define your need to collaborate informally and change ideas in a more spontaneous way.  My colleague Börje Hammarling wrote last week on innovation and importance of informal meetings at the workplace. (article in Swedish).

Regard corporate culture as a strategic asset

The most successful businesses and organizations regard their corporate culture as a strategic asset and competitive advantage. This means that you need to assess what kind of workplace is suitable to ensure implementation of company culture, values, and behaviors. This is very important when you employ new employees (or managers) and introduce them to company.

You would need to consider the talent expectations regarding the workplace strategy. There are very individual approaches to this topic, and you need to know your current and future workforce and avoid making strategies choices by intuition. To simplify, many of us are looking forward to coming back to the workplace. Some will expect more flexibility, and some will definitively prefer to work from home full time.

What are the main trends and how companies are preparing themselves? The answer will vary a lot and depends on the actual needs, nature of the business, cultural issues and also workforce demands.  Some trends are however already visible.

Provide more flexibility

The companies will need to provide more flexibility when it comes to presence in the work unless they have good reasons to force strict presence at the office. This will most likely mean a hybrid model which includes flexibility and allowing people to work from anywhere and modifying the office environment to meet the needs of social collaboration, culture building and for having meetings or dedicated workplaces for certain purposes (specific equipment etc). We also believe companies will offer working “hubs” in terms of co-working places to attract remote workers outside of their main locations.  We see also in large cities this option becoming more and more popular, allowing employees to meet close to their homes and still meeting colleagues.

We believe that for the companies wanting to attract the best talents, the office strategies will be based upon the practical needs and guidelines rather than setting strict rules.

We at AIMS International Sweden are specialized to support companies broadly when working with Talent Management issues including building new ways-of-working and providing Coaching, Leadership Assessments and Executive Search. Please contact us in AIMS International Sweden in case you want to hear more from the solutions we can provide.

Mikko Taipale works as Partner & Executive Search and Talent Management Consultant in AIMS International Sweden.  Before starting in AIMS International Sweden he worked close to 20 years in large corporates as a HR leader.

Workplace strategies

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Coaching – development boost for talents

I have written earlier on the importance of Talent Management processes and how to get up to the speed fast: Talent Management not only for large corporates  and Strategic Talent Management – get started and fast.

Increased interest in talent development

At AIMS International Sweden we witness an increasing interest and focus on different talent development initiatives among our clients. The common nominator being more and more often the need for individual to receive support in her or his development. I’m going to describe a typical leadership situation below and illustrate the benefits of coaching.

Team management challenges

Many leaders work in a very demanding VUCA-environment (read more about VUCA). The demands and expectations are set high, and the work is currently mostly performed from home due to Covid-19, making team management a challenge. When entering a new and more demanding leadership role they are often expected to establish a more strategic way-of-working for the new responsibility area, secure the engagement in the team and among stakeholders and ensure an implementation of the transformation agenda.

Quite often leaders struggle with the described leadership transition. Based on my experience I see a number of reasons why transitioning to more strategic roles is challenging and why coaching is an excellent tool to boost the individual development.

  1. Many leaders repeat the previous leadership style and ways-of-working to ensure their success also in the future. Even if it certainly helps if they have faced similar situations before they will face a high risk of failure if they are not willing to challenge their thinking, reflect on the current situation and seek for support. Coaching will help leaders to think in new ways, challenging the old leadership behaviors and analyzing needed decisions. The coach will not alone solve your challenges but she or he can boost your creativity and openness to find new perspectives.
  2. Leaders´ work pace is extremely high, full of stress, and difficult tasks to manage. The problem is that working strategically takes time and effort and will not work unless the leaders prioritize their daily routines and work with their personal goals. Coaching has a great benefit of focusing on actions which needs to be executed. A coach can help the leader to prioritize and ensure things get done in optimal order. The essential part of each coaching sessions is the focus on action.
  3. Developing as a leader requires that a leader receives feedback, reflects constructively around it, defines how to shape his or her leadership and takes actions to close any potential leadership gaps. The issue is that many organizations are ineffective in managing individual feedback, support, and creating an environment for permanent change. Coaching provides a neutral, forward looking, and positive environment to foster new leadership behaviors which are based on self-reflection, innovation and concrete daily situations.

How to meet the unexpected

The benefits of coaching for the employees are obvious. It also helps companies to develop their talents, increase employee engagement and strengthens talent retention. During times of uncertainty, as in current situation with Covid-19, it also increases company´s proactiveness and readiness to meet the unexpected.

We at AIMS International Sweden are specialized in supporting companies broadly when working with Talent Management issues including building new way-of-working and providing Coaching, Leadership Assessments and Executive Search. Please contact us in AIMS International Sweden in case you want to hear more about the solutions we can provide.

Mikko Taipale

Mikko works as Executive Search and Talent Management Consultant in AIMS International Sweden. He is also a Certified Coach by International Coaching Federation (ACC).  Before starting in AIMS International Sweden he worked close to 20 years in large corporates as a HR leader with a focus on Talent Management practices.

Coaching - development boost for talents

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Strategic talent management – Get started and fast (part 2)

I have previously written on why also smaller companies would benefit for implementing an agenda for strategic talent management. In this article I look further at the quick and easy-to-implement solutions to get up to speed with Talent Management.

Strategic talent management

Strategic talent management is all about the implementation of business strategy and business plan. It includes assessing current competences, both leadership and functional, and defining the future needs. The business value is generated through increased transparency, people related risk mitigation and executing agreed development actions.

The impact of the pandemic

Today we witness an increasing interest to build up a coherent strategic agenda for people related issues. The ongoing pandemic has made it concrete for many of business leaders that succession and risk mitigation plans must be in place. At the same time, we see that employment market for the top talents in number of areas is still booming.

Our 5 step process

When working with our clients who lack previous experience in building talent management agenda, we put lots of focus on setting up a process and delivery which creates short benefits and a good basis for the future development. The clients want the process to be easy to implement, easy to understand and quickly in place. So how to make this happen:

The typical process could look like the following:

  1. Understanding the company specific expectations and requirements (CEO, HR and/or Management Team discussion). Usually, the clients want to assess the most critical competences, both leadership and functional, and defining the future needs and at the same time mitigate and evaluate the risks the Client might face if losing the critical people.
  2. We evaluate our AIMS International standard process and decide on the scope and necessary adjustments. Our Talent Management approach includes templates, processes, instructions, analytics, follow-up/actions plans and summary presentations which can be modified to meet the specific needs of the client.
  3. We Support in implementation of TM process – we agree in each case on what kind of support the client needs. We can train and coach managers (sometimes also HR) to run the process smoothly. Usually, we facilitate critical management team discussions to keep the discussion focused and relevant.
  4. We help the client to prepare an action plan and, sometimes, we participate the follow-up actions such as identifying a mentor or coach, building up a talent pool or supporting managers in development actions.
  5. We prepare a report to BoD/CEO/Management team and, if needed, can support in presenting the outcome of TM process.

We believe, by applying our methods we can reach a high-quality result within a short timeframe. Also, most of the Clients can apply the way-of-working in coming years and run the process in the future by themselves.

We at AIMS International Sweden are specialized in supporting companies broadly when working with talent management issues including building new way-of-working and providing coaching, leadership assessments and executive search. Please contact us in AIMS International Sweden in case you want to hear more from the solutions we can provide.

Mikko Taipale works as Executive Search and Talent Management Consultant in AIMS International Sweden. He is a member of Talent Management and Automotive & Mobility Global Practice Teams. Mikko works and is a certified leadership coach (ACC). Before starting in AIMS International Sweden he worked close to 20 years in large corporates as a HR leader with a focus on talent management practices.

Strategic talent management

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Strategic talent management – not only for large corporates

I have sometimes faced the question if Talent Management processes are only for large corporates or could all companies benefit from Talent Management processes. I believe the question is highly relevant and needs to be put into the context of your business needs and how Talent Management can add value for your company.

Implemention of business strategy and business plan

In short, the purpose of Strategic Talent Management is to secure the implementation of business strategy and business plan.  Strategic Talent Management is about assessing current competences, both leadership – and functional wise, and defining the future needs.  The business value is generated through agreeing on actions to secure that the competency gaps will be closed.

Large corporates have established routines and are often used to work with Strategic Talent Management to identify leadership related risks, creating plans for key executive succession. They have also established work routines on how to follow up performance and future talent development in the company. It is a common practice within large and usually publicly listed companies to have annual strategic discussions at the Board level where talent strategy becomes a part of the business strategy.

However, I believe that all companies can benefit from having a more structured approach on how to manage and develop their critical talents. For the company, the established Talent Management process gives the framework and future roadmap how to develop its workforce and ensure the execution and performance. Successful Strategic Talent Management helps companies to outperform their competitors and, therefore, creates shareholder value by delivering higher Total Return to Shareholders (TRS) than the competitors.

The benefits of Strategic Talent Management for the employees are obvious. It helps companies to attract the best talents, increases employee engagement and strengthens talent retention. During times of uncertainty, as in current situation with Covid-19, it also increases company´s proactiveness and readiness to meet the unexpected.

Strategic Talent Management is usually driven by CEO and the Board and supported by Human Resources function. We have seen that these solutions vary a lot between the companies and successful outcome can be reached in different ways depending on the company size, ownership, IT environment, management readiness and HR function capabilities. For example, in a start-up company where the CEO is a major owner together with some other key people the process can be designed to meet their specific challenges.Today many of these companies struggle because talent related issues are handled as short-term challenges and leading to reactive firefighting and finally risking the execution of company targets.

I have been working many years both strategically and operationally within Talent Management and have implemented different solutions to develop talent and to increase the performance. The feedback I have received during the years relate to complexity, process orientation and lack of execution and follow-up. My experience is that the requested improvements can usually be implemented without losing the quality of Talent Management solution.

We at AIMS International Sweden are specialized to support companies broadly when working with Talent Management issues including building new way-of-working and providing Coaching, Leadership Assessments and Executive Search. Please contact us in AIMS International Sweden in case you want to hear more from the solutions we can provide.

MikkoMikko Taipale works as Executive Search and Talent Management Consultant in AIMS International Sweden. Before starting in AIMS International Sweden he worked close to 20 years in large corporates as a HR leader with a focus on Talent Management practices.

Talent Management

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