Today’s guest blog post is courtesy of our board member, David Creelman.
It’s been more than a decade since the ‘war for talent’ brought talent management to the attention of CEOs. There is now widespread buy-in that talent matters and HR has made great progress in introducing talent management systems and processes. So what’s next? Maybe we need to stop acting as though talent only matters for salaried work. Maybe talent management for hourly workers is the next frontier.
Talent management for hourly workers is an area that tingles with excitement. We are now looking at a very large population of workers that has not received much attention. I remember an Australian business prof telling me that her decision to study the work of truckers had met with disdain from her colleagues. If thoughtful management professors in egalitarian Australia think hourly workers are not worthy of attention then no doubt that blind spot extends to many organizations around the world. Whenever you have an unexamined area of business there is the potential for substantial improvement; talent management for hourly workers is one such area.
It’s not just the magnitude of the opportunity that makes talent management for hourly workers exciting, it is the intellectual challenge. Talent management for hourly workers won’t be just a simple extension of what was done for salaried employees. Take for example performance management. In many hourly jobs turnover is so high that an annual performance review will never happen for the bulk of employees. Performance management becomes more a matter of finding a profile (or profiles) of successful employees and feeding that back to the talent acquisition system….and that talent acquisition system, depending on the type of hourly work, may have little to do with sorting resumes.
With hourly workers we have the numbers to get really good metrics and so analytics will play a greater role here than in the salaried workforce. Furthermore you may not find expertise in the usual places. We saw many talent management vendors spring from roots in recruitment software but with the hourly workers it will be the workforce management software vendors who have depth of experience. Look for some interesting offerings as the big players in the traditional talent management space aim to move into hourly talent management and come up against workforce management solutions which have gone beyond managing transactions to providing true talent management.
What should you do? Talk to the heads of business units with the biggest hourly workforces. Test their interest in the idea of bringing talent management to their workers. I bet you’ll find an untapped thirst for applying the talent mindset to this critical group of employees.