Talent By Balancing Supply and Demand
Powell, EVP of HR, Scripps Networks Interactive and Co-chair
of CTHRAs 2011 Think Tank
leaders, innovators and corporate shareholders around the
world face a common challenge: having the right talent to
create, facilitate and deliver value to their customers.
Furthermore, they need to have the right talent on hand
at the right time to meet their needsregardless of
what the organizations value proposition may be. For
that reason, the process of matching talent supply with
talent demand has been and continues to be a critical aspect
of business strategy and management.
Recently, at CTHRAs annual Think
Tank meeting in New York, a group of chief HR officers from
the cable industry explored the concept of talent on demand
with Dr. Peter Cappelli, professor and director, Center
for Human Resources at the Wharton School of Business and
author of Talent on Demand: Managing Talent in an Age
of Uncertainty. Dr. Cappelli discussed the fact that
organizations have applied various practices that met their
needs at different times in history. He noted that with
the rise of the industrial age, labor markets were wide
open, and turnover rates were very high. By the 1950s,
most companies relied on developing employees internally
to meet rapid and yet fairly predictable growth that they
were experiencing. In fact, as Dr. Cappelli wrote in a recent
article for the Harvard Business Review, Internal
development was the norm back in the 1950s, and every management
development practice that seems novel today was commonplace
in those yearsfrom executive coaching to 360-degree
feedback to job rotation to high-potential programs.
Because companies were reasonably accurate
in forecasting their talent needs, these structured training
and development programs by and large met, but did not exceed,
the demand. In the 1970s, though, all that changed. Forecasters
failed to predict the economic uncertainty of that decade,
and except in a few large companies, internal development
fell by the waysidebut not before employers had produced
an over-supply of talent for the contracting economy of
the 1980s. Then came the economic expansion of the 1990s,
which absorbed the excess.
to Dr. Cappelli, the key factor affecting an organizations
ability to manage the supply and demand for talent is uncertainty.
He pointed out that current economies and markets are expanding
and contracting within shorter cycles, thereby creating
a formidable challenge for many organizations to predict
their needs with any degree of certainty. Lisa Chang, SVP
of HR, Technology and Operations and International at Turner
Broadcasting Systems, has had to adjust her companys
talent forecasting approach to align it with Turners
accelerated growth over the last few years. She said, With
rapid expansion in our emerging technology groups and with
booming international growth, we are finding that we have
less time to prepare for the demands of the marketplace.
Product cycle times, as well as the window to capitalize
on market opportunities mean that we must respond quickly
when an opportunity presents itself. This means finding
the right balance between developing internal talent and
bringing in outside new talent. Both are critical
to our ability to succeed in these markets.
Dr. Cappelli espouses a talent development
model that is akin to the highly successful just-in-time
manufacturing process. Its pillars are these four principles
for managing talent:
- Avoid mismatch costs by using a combination
of Make and Buy approaches. Making
talentthat is, developing from withinis the
better and cheaper route only if youre certain youll
need it. Buying talenthiring for specific positions
at the time you need themcosts more but reduces
risk. Dr. Cappellis advice: Underestimate your needs,
and plan to hire from outside to meet any shortfall.
- Accept the uncertainty in talent demand,
and find ways to adapt. One option is to break up development
programs into shorter units. For instance, rather than
a 36-month functional program for all management trainees,
put everyone through an 18-month general management course,
then send them back to individual functions to specialize.
Another approach: create an organization-wide talent pool
that can be assigned to various business units as the
- Improve your return on investment in
employee development. One way to accomplish this mission
is by having employees share the costs, perhaps by asking
them to take on volunteer stretch assignments. Another
approach is simply to avoid burning bridges: Keep in touch
with former employees in the hope that they may return
some day, bringing with them the skills they learned on
- Preserve your investment by balancing
employer interests with employee career goals. Dr. Cappellis
idea here is that by having employees share in advancement
decisions, you will reduce the risk that they will seek
and find a better fit elsewhere.
During the Think Tank, attendees discussed
these four principles and the fact that, as Dr. Cappelli
has pointed out, talent management is an investment and
not an entitlement. Several participants shared their perspectives
on Dr. Cappellis four principles and the ways their
organizations manage the ever-fluctuating demand for talent.
Tom Mathews, EVP of HR for Time Warner Cable, commented
on the value of the companys extensive employee development
efforts, noting that even with all the current social
media and other tools at our disposal, in-person training
still provides considerable value to our businessand
hence to our customers. Beyond the basic benefits of face-to-face
interaction, our programs offer opportunities for idea generation
and brainstorming that dont come up in the course
of our day-to-day work.
Here at Scripps, we are responding to
the dynamic and constantly changing marketplace by designing
development programs that are shorter in duration, thereby
allowing us to meet current and emerging needs. We consistently
strive to keep internal development in pace with company
needs. We and other employers throughout the industry are
also following Dr. Cappellis admonition to constantly
adjust and improve our ability to forecast talent requirements.
Diligence in both these areas helps us create a better return
on investment and maintain market competitiveness and agility.
CTHRA and all of us who attended CTHRAs
Think Tank discussion offer a big round of thanks to Oracle
and Korn Ferry for sponsoring the event and to our site
15 Roundtable Covers Two Hot Topics
us as CTHRA hosts a special educational opportunity covering
two of the most significantand most rapidly evolvingissues
affecting HR professionals today: the impact of social media
in the workplace, and trends in labor and employment law.
The event will take place from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the
headquarters of NBCUniversal at 5750 Wilshire Boulevard.
There is no charge to attend, but reservations must be made
by Wednesday, November 9, 2011. Click
here to register.
The Impact of Social Media in the Workplace
As the use of social media by employees and employers continues
to rise, employers are increasingly presented with new and
often puzzling legal issues. This session will:
- explore legal risks social media poses
- analyze the applicability of employment
laws to the challenges presented by social media in hiring,
managing and terminating employees;
- review social media policies of various
- propose strategies for using and controlling
Web 2.0 in todays complex and mobile work environment.
Recent Trends in Labor and Employment
This presentation will explore topics of importance to every
- new disability regulations,
- new wage and hour issues,
- legal developments affecting an increasingly
virtual and mobile workforce,
- new case law regarding arbitration
- new posting requirements issued by
the NLRB, and
- other recent federal and state legislation
that affects how employers manage their employees.
Roundtable speakers will be two nationally
recognized attorneys specializing in labor and employment
law: Anna Segobia Masters, Partner at Winston & Strawn;
and Jennifer Rappoport, Counsel at Winston & Strawn.
Ms. Masters has written and lectured extensively on employment
issues for numerous organizations, including the American
Employment Law Council, National Employment Law Institute
and California Employment Law Council. She previously served
as associate editor and editor-in-chief of the California
State Bar Association Labor and Employment Sections
Ms. Rappoport is a frequent speaker on
a variety of employment-related topics such as unlawful
harassment, including California's mandatory supervisor
harassment avoidance training; blogging and social networking
issues in the employment context and general employment
practices. In July 2008, she was a featured speaker at the
Practicing Law Institute's Setting Employee Blogger
and Social Media Policies seminar.
Special thanks to Starz Entertainment
and NBCUniversal for sponsoring this upcoming Regional Roundtable!
Register now at www.cthra.com/educational_events.php
Business Case for Corporate Culture
Employee engagement is a hot topic in
board rooms and HR circles these days, and for good reason:
key studies have shown that employees with the highest level
of engagement perform 20% better and are 87% less likely
to leave the company than their counterparts with less personal
involvement in their work. In addition, engaged employees
tend to serve as ad hoc spokespersons for their companies,
which helps attract customers and viewers, as well as new
talent. So its no wonder that this article, penned
by CTHRAs executive director Pamela Williams, CAE,
was among the most-read features on CableFAX in September.
HR Pros Among Most Influential Minorities
magazine recently listed the top minorities in cable. We
were thrilled to see so many
of our members among the honorees! CTHRA Members listed
as The Leaders were:
- Lisa Chang,
SVP of HR, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. and President
- Chris Powell, EVP of HR, Scripps Networks
Interactive and CTHRA Board Member
- Paul Richardson, SVP of HR, ESPN and
CTHRA Board Member
- Mae Douglas, EVP of HR, Cox Communications
- Ray Gutierrez, EVP of HR and Administration,
- Jacqueline Welch, SVP of Talent Management
& Global Diversity, Turner Broadcasting System
HR leaders included
among The Influentials were:
- Maria Arias,
Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Comcast
- Ron Phillips, SVP of Employee Engagement,
- Loretta Walker, SVP and Chief HR officer,
Turner Broadcasting System
CTHRA applauds all of the influential
minority leaders highlighted by CableFAX!
Warner Cable Named Kaitz Diversity Champion
annual Walter Kaitz Foundation fundraising dinner on October
5 honored Time Warner Cable (TWC) as this years Diversity
Champion for its commitment to recruitment and retention
of a diverse workforce, implementation of a robust supplier
diversity program, execution of significant philanthropic
endeavors and diversity in programming content. Said Tom
Mathews, TWCs EVP of HR, Being named as
this years Diversity Champion is especially gratifying
because inclusion is starting to come naturally to us. At
Time Warner Cable, we look first at our business goals and
then we ask ourselves, How does that align with inclusion?
To create and sustain an inclusive culture, we strive to
be consistent with our employees and in the marketplace. Thats
what makes a champion.
Round of Applause
- In November, the Mid-Atlantic
Chapter of NAMIC
will present Cox
EVP and Chief People Officer Mae Douglas
with its inaugural "Diversity Champion Award."
- AMC Networks Inc. has tapped
Rob Doodian as EVP of HR. He will report to AMC
Networks President and CEO, Josh Sapan, and will manage
employee relations, staffing, executive recruiting, internal
communications, compensation and benefits for the company
and its various divisions, which include AMC, IFC, Sundance
Channel, WE tv and IFC Films. Previously, Rob served
as SVP, corporate HR for Cablevision.
- Multichannel News has named
Comcast as its 2011 Operator of the Year based
on its stellar performance in a combination of new product
launches, improved customer service and savvy marketing.
We salute Comcast, a long-time member of CTHRA!
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