Lets Constantly Revisit our Business Strategy – but do Talent Strategy once a year

You probably would never say that out loud in a crowded room of executives, right? But its amazing how that is exactly what we do. In September to December we start working on our workforce plans, and how many people we need, and our budgets and so on. We go ahead and make plans for staffing, and poof – we are done.

Meanwhile, we are having monthly business reviews, planning sessions on product development, and looking at acquisitions / divestitures. We are constantly strategizing and making changes to the business plan. But the talent plan stays constant and on the shelf.

When you adjust the business plan, just ask yourself one question..WWHRD…what would HR do? You have to ask that question. You may be planning on hiring, firing, transferring, contracting, growing, making project teams – and so on.



Start communicating and ask yourself that every time you address or even alter the strategy for the business. HR is there to help, and will come up with the compensation, talent acquisition, retention, labor, and other facets that they know needs to be addressed in order to make the change effective.

Funny thing about change – tough to do without people changing, but its sometimes the people we forget about the most 🙂


Unified Software for Talent – well…what’s “Talent”?

Usually talent=employees. But inevitably you know better. There are more than just employees doing the work that your company needs. Contractors, consultants, vendors, temp labor, outsourced partners, and so on.

They are all part of the human capital chain. Simultaneously, lots of companies are unifying their talent / HR systems. You know – using something like SAP or SuccesFactors and using one program for all things “talent”. The recruiting, performance management, payroll, and so on.

That totally works. We have a baby sized business, and even we are unified into one system, so I would imagine at larger companies the benefits are even greater (and I have witnessed that). So lets assume that your company does have a unified or best in breed combination of systems to give you visibility to your talent…

How did you define talent? Can you tell which consultants have done what or have which expertise that you rely on? What about the competencies of your engineering contractors in the plant? How about the successes (or failures) of your outsourced partners that you rely on? Are these things in your unified / best in breed system, and can you produce reports or business knowledge that can be leveraged?

What if 20% of your human capital is outside the system? It could be. Take a look. Here is a clue if you have a gap – if you can’t quickly understand the competencies and experiences of your OWN internal employees, then you probably can’t tell me the competencies of the talent you use that are non-employees…

Something to add to the to-do list. Define what your unified system DOES tell you in regards to talent, and more importantly, what it does NOT tell you.

Proactive, Aware or Reactive Talent Acquisition?

Start using those words to describe your talent acquisition / recruiting organization and its behaviors. Proactive, Aware, and Reactive.

I totally stole this from HCI on a webshare the other day, but it hits a nerve:

Proactive – you start sourcing for a role before its posted or the manager is ready
Aware – you know about it, but don’t start working on it until its posted
Reactive – manager is ready, job posts, and you get moving

In the study HCI did, 25% of organizations said they were proactive, 50+% said aware, and the rest came in at reactive. My challenge to you is to go through your organization functionally, by business, or by level – whatever – and start figuring out what you SHOULD be (utopia), and then do what you COULD be (given realistic re-alignment of resources) and then what you ARE (your resources today).

Now have a discussion with your leaders, especially the business, and tell them the could and should, and have real business reasons for it. You can get more sales, higher retention, better quality, expand growth platforms – and so on.

I think you would find the PROACTIVE, AWARE, and REACTIVE definition combined with the SHOULD, COULD and ARE will get you a nice roadmap for 2012 🙂


Aspen launches ADVOCATE, a series of talent programs, policies and services to enable economic recovery

March 1, 2011

Aspen Advisors, a strategy consultancy based in New York, is pleased to announce its ADVOCATE initiatives, a set of programs and services built to enable economic recovery. ADVOCATE will build on Aspen’s long standing philosophy of offering assistance to companies with globally and/or socially responsible values by adding income and outplacement opportunities for unemployed people, consultation to government agencies assigned to solved the labor issues of our country, special services for corporations looking to build their staffs and executive teams, and a realignment of its charitable raising and donation efforts to assist families that have been hit hard by this economy.

The first asset in the program will offer income opportunities to job seekers, rather than Aspen expanding itself using a traditional sales force. People will be able to identify globally and/or socially responsible companies in their network that need talent assistance and can refer those companies to Aspen. Aspen will compensate against those referrals that are converted to an account to anyone who participates in the program. The program targets those that have been unemployed for a period of six months or more, amongst other qualifications. The program will provide income assistance to help bridge financial needs, while also providing outplacement and career assistance. And most importantly, it will offer greater opportunities for self-improvement, and a chance to gain the educational background necessary for re-employment. Andrew Gadomski, CEO and Founder of Aspen, and long time Adjunct Professor in the Career Development curriculum at New York University, noted, “We could easily hire commissioned sales people, but I am not convinced that is as responsible as we can be. I would rather provide short-term financial compensation to people who need it now, in return for their access and influence. Their influence may not be able to produce a job immediately, but it may be able to produce income. While they work with us, we will do what we can to augment their job placement with a series of coaching and services. Its really a win-win because people can earn a short-term income while continuing their job seeking, which has been a problem for many in this economy.”

The second asset in ADVOCATE is that Aspen will augment its efforts in assisting local, state, and federal agencies and associations in trying to get people back to work. Aspen will offer its intellectual property system, PANDO, as an included service to these organizations once they agree to work with Aspen in a coordinated and public fashion. Agencies who are trying to get hundreds or thousands of people back to work will be granted access to best practices, tools, and methodologies usually reserved for corporations and staffing organizations. “Our Pando system provides a significant competitive advantage to companies that are battling for market-share, but in a recovery, our agencies and government needs help to get companies to hire people effectively and easily. We are looking forward to working with the associations and agencies in our states, and to assist them in getting people back to work. We should take the best practices we design for Wall Street and get them onto Main Street.”

Aspen will also add a set of services for its corporate clients that make it easier to find key executives and quickly build their staff. The first two services take a series of best practices and services that are rarely combined, and will be targeted to small and medium sized organizations that are trying to make smart expansion investments.

Finally, Aspen has slightly changed its charitable giving program. In the past, Aspen takes referral fees that vendors provide to them and donates it to certain charities of its choosing. It also has raised money and offered matching for those raised funds through 5k, 10k, and other long distance races. Aspen will continue that charge, but has selected the Make-a-Wish Foundation® to be the primary recipient of those funds. Make a Wish® has coordinated with Aspen to have funds targeted at children who are not only battling disease or illness, but also whose families have been hit hard by unemployment. Advisors will then also help those parents in their job search with career counseling. “We have a long standing relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. To focus on helping children whose families have also been hit hard by unemployment is a special thing. We understand how our youth needs hope, but its even more difficult when parents also think there is no hope. We will not only attempt to designate Wishes to such families, but also provide as much career assistance and guidance as we can.”

Aspen Advisors is an efficiency consulting company that uses continuous improvement projects, training, and tools to transform the effectiveness and productivity of small, mid-sized, and large businesses. We design the plans and processes that build and manage workforces, utilize facilities and resources efficiently, and serve customers consistently. We help companies that do great things build and develop great people. Our method, which includes no waste processes and sustainable partners, serves as the platform for clients to access our knowledgebase of programs and change management tools.

For more information about ADVOCATE or Aspen Advisors, please contact Allyson Greenman, our Marketing and Communications Manager. She can be reached by phone at (609) 432-0981, or by email at Allyson@MyAspenAdvisor.com

Hey Twitter – you find me a job yet?

Social networking is here to stay – that’s not news. But its funny how I am not hearing how it is finding people jobs. I have not heard that much about it, and I am in the industry.

Stop. I know there are people finding jobs via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Recruiters – I know what you do for a living 🙂 Your job is to find people using all means necessary, whether you call someone on the phone or tweet them or FB them or whatever. You guys are doing an awesome job leveraging these tools.

I am referring to how people TALK about finding a job. When someone I know gets a job, I ask how did they find out, and they usually say “I found it on the web” or “my friend got me in” or something. But not as much “I found it on Facebook” or “I found it on Twitter”. Which I find interesting…

MEANWHILE…I keep hearing how friends and family are find dates on Match.com, eHarmony, J-Date or whatever.  What is wild is how people brag about finding their mate online. Their parents brag. Their siblings brag.

But why aren’t we bragging about our jobs the same way? Are we embarrassed? Is it considered weird to find your job that way? Many of the social aspects are the same.

I have a theory…people think and communicate differently professionally than they do personally. There is something about telling people about your professional experiences versus your personal experiences. Think about it – how often do you tell your parents about some meeting that you had at the office, conversely you tell everyone about how a meal you had at some restaurant was awesome. We post on FB our friends dancing, laughing, smiling and so on – but when was the last time you posted a pic from the office of a colleague…hmmm.

I don’t know if social media between professional and personal will converge completely for gen Y / gen X / baby boomers. I think the millenials will get it more. But we may need one more generation before work and play via technology completely merge and can’t be distinguished.

The trend may be  similar to how smartphones are perceived by teenagers. Every phone they have ever owned has texting, a camera, and the ability to facebook. I remember using a a car phone in the Cutlass Ciera wagon back in 93 and people rocking the Gordon Gecco phone in airports.

As you use these social networking tools to communicate – either as a recruiter or a candidate finding a job – realize that there is a difference between personal and professional communication strategies. If you find poeple on Twitter that does not mean their better, and finding a job on Twitter does not mean its weird. Assess people and jobs as you have in the past – we are still learning to communicate using these tools.