Building a well-networked organization
By understanding the structure of talent networks within companies, managers can foster more effective collaboration.
Leaders and human resources professionals are searching for ways to generate more value from their employees. Finding new approaches for optimizing talent is a critical aspect of organizational performance. The Hackett Group, an operations improvement consulting firm, recently found that organizations that excel at talent management increased earnings by nearly 18% and improved operational and process performance.1 Similarly, Towers Watson, a leader in human resources consulting, reported that companies with integrated talent management programs that were aligned with business strategy and operations were significantly more likely to be high-performing organizations.2
Organizations could get even more from their investments in talent management if they focused on collaboration — a critical component of employees’ effectiveness. An IBM survey recently found that high-performing organizations (as measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) are 57% more likely than other companies to provide their global teams with collaborative and social networking tools.3 McKinsey & Company, too, found that well-networked organizations delivered higher market share and profits than less-networked companies.4
Senior executives would do well to give as much thought to the design, development and facilitation of networks as they historically have given to organizational structure and reporting relationships. But this is not easy to do. Job design and performance management; for example, are often based on individual accountability despite the fact that most work today is collaborative. By the same token, work flows and decision processes are not typically designed to reflect the collaborative nature of work and innovation. And talent management practices usually focus on individual competencies and experiences, while overlooking the critical importance of an employee’s netwoks.
We set out to examine how talent practices can improve collaboration in organizations by examining what companies were already doing to enhance collaboration and informal networks through talent management processes such as recruiting, on-boarding, engagement, staffing, succession planning, knowledge management and training. Using a multi-pronged approach, we conducted an online survey of talent practices, interviewed talent experts and used publicly available material to identify specific network centric practices make an article review. 10-15 paragraphs.