The Consulting Process

The Need

PeopleLENS Global Associates helps companies and leaders across the world build new age Talent Strategy. We believe shifting global economic and demographic patterns by 2020 will make redundant many talent anchors currently in use . Increasingly, we see symptoms of this shift in practice - be it the "War for Talent" or changing employee loyalty or the current concerns with incentive based motivators.

Organizations that wish to succeed in 2020 and beyond, must achieve a finely calibrated balance between decentralized (country based) talent strategy which can be highly responsive and corporate investment in the long term talent pipeline.

Our Process

Our approach, based on the unique PeopleLENS© philosophy and strategy framework helps organizations:

  • Identify the talent plays most likely to translate into business success.
  • Review market forces and internal data before making investment decisions.
  • Prioritize people investments, reduce wastage and redeploy wasted development dollars.
  • Map similar and different needs by region, country or business unit.
  • Publish a rolling 3 year People Plan, and roadmap for execution.

The Outcome

We partner with a wide spectrum of companies who seek more than just world class HR programs. Our specific goal is to help them create a highly commercial talent strategy, which is anchored in market realities and owned by business leaders.

OUR PRINCIPLES

Deep diagnosis provides some of the best & clearest starting points for talent strategy.

Talent Economists always start with diagnosis from the outside-in. This is because talent dynamics vary. They differ by country, by industry and sometimes even by business lines within a company. It is for exactly this reason that we often see one-sized solutions miss their mark.

Talent strategy conversations must be simple, commercial and in the language of the business.

They must also bring forth a clear investment hypothesis for the short and long terms. This is because in a global and open talent economy, every organization has a unique talent context and as a direct consequence, every organization must discover their own recipe of talent investments.

Talent strategy must be owned and executed within the business as opposed to HR.

While HR is a key partner in execution, it is important that the strategy itself isn’t anchored in the margins. Successful talent strategy must be built, regularly reviewed and championed within executive teams.

Talent Economics as an operating construct, provides both the tools and process to guide executive team through strategy formulation and execution. Let’s look at two examples of Talent Economics at work:

Case Study 1

A diversified global company headquartered in Asia was struggling to get its operations in other emerging markets to the next level. In spite of offering top wages and rapid growth opportunities, it had to rely on expensive expatriation to plug many long term talent gaps. Several global leadership programs, strategic hiring initiatives and long term assignments later, leaders at headquarters were annoyed with the lack of traction on the ground.

The Talent Economics approach was used to build a group of internal experts who were able to discover and fix several major talent strategy gaps in the company, including:

  • Low local leader engagement - Almost all talent initiatives came from HQ and as a result had bred low ownership among local leaders on the ground. One of the first steps taken, involved getting country teams involved in crafting unique talent solutions which were owned and executed by the local leadership team.
  • Mismatch between talent investment and business maturity- The current approach put a premium on consistency of solutions. On the ground, however, the talent needs of mature versus new business locations differed greatly. For example, some locations were best suited for graduate hires, others did not need them at all: needing an infusion of middle management talent instead. Likewise, some locations needed to invest in onboarding support to underwrite new-hire success, while others urgently needed intercultural skills at senior levels.
  • Mismatch between talent investments and growth - The executive team realised that a reliance on universal talent solutions had resulted in chronic under-investment in high-growth locations. It was soon clear they needed an entirely different approach to a business growing at an explosive 33% a year versus one which grew at a more stable 5%. In this case, the former needed significant sales bench strength expansion and a tripling of investment in middle management development.
  • Other areas which formed a part of their new strategy included programs for leader (current skills) development, succession plans for high-risk roles and a differentiated EVP across a region.
In the two quarterly talent strategy reviews which followed, it was abundantly clear that the conversation had shifted from issues and constraints to growth possibilities driven by strategic talent initiatives.
The CEO, who chairs these reviews, personally noted greater engagement levels from his regional teams, a distinct investment orientation in talent conversations and several new initiatives being piloted on the ground across both regions.

Case Study 2

An international private bank, investing heavily in growing its wealth management unit at its Asian headquarters, found that well-heeled and mature wealth managers were in very short supply. The situation, in itself both unique and unprecedented, was playing out across the entire industry. An acute explosion in customer demand (the industry as a whole had reported an 112% increase in assets under management over 5 years) on one hand, was at risk due to a relatively inelastic supply of senior relationship managers across the industry, on the other. The current strategy of hiring overseas talent was failing due to cost and cultural differences. Simultaneously, an ugly bidding war had begun on the ground which was driving salary demands to unsustainable levels.

The leadership team unanimously agreed that their customers were suffering and new ideas were needed. Using the Talent Economics approach, the team which worked on the company's overall talent strategy found several opportunity-areas. During the diagnosis phase, it was quite clear that this firm was addressing long-term issues using short-term solutions. This kept the wheels in motion, but did not address the core issues of poor talent supply and cost escalation.

Using the PITA investment framework from the Talent Economics toolkit, an internal team of Talent Economists helped build a short and long term battle plan which included:

  • Hiring non-traditional talent (doctors, lawyers, management consultants) and investing in their financial skills development. With strong mentoring support, many went on to become top revenue producers within 18 months.
  • Designing a customised financial diploma with a local university. This diploma was offered exclusively to mid and back office employees who wanted to switch to front office roles.
  • Investing in technology adoption and training, which made several routine data input and reporting tasks easier, thereby raising average productivity within the current team.
  • Investing in employer brand schemes - a critical but often overlooked imperative in hot job markets. This included among other things, hosting an annual summit for women in finance, which was attended by hundreds of women bankers- including many wealth managers - from across the industry.

The results were very positive and evidenced at the end of 18 months through: lower turnover, higher customer satisfaction and greater internal mobility of talent into revenue producing roles.