September-October 2011 
Managing Talent: Balancing Supply and Demand
A report from CTHRA’s 2011 Think Tank by Christopher Powell, EVP of HR, Scripps Networks Interactive

November 15 Roundtable Covers Two Hot Topics
Please join us in Los Angeles when CTHRA hosts a free roundtable covering the social media in the workplace and recent trends in employment law.


The Business Case for Corporate Culture
Companies who focus on culture and employee motivation reap the rewards. Find out why in this article.

HR Execs Among Cable’s Most Influential Minorities
Check out this year’s honorees named by CableFAX.

Time Warner Cable Named Kaitz Diversity Champion

A Round of Applause
Read all about media coverage and the latest honors in our HR member community.

55 New Members Join CTHRA

Managing Talent By Balancing Supply and Demand

By Christopher Powell, EVP of HR, Scripps Networks Interactive and Co-chair of CTHRA’s 2011 Think Tank

Business 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 needs—regardless of what the organization’s 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 CTHRA’s 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 years—from 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 wayside—but 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.

According to Dr. Cappelli, the key factor affecting an organization’s 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 company’s talent forecasting approach to align it with Turner’s 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:

  1. Avoid mismatch costs by using a combination of “Make” and “Buy” approaches. Making talent—that is, developing from within—is the better and cheaper route only if you’re certain you’ll need it. Buying talent—hiring for specific positions at the time you need them—costs more but reduces risk. Dr. Cappelli’s advice: Underestimate your needs, and plan to hire from outside to meet any shortfall.

  2. 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 need arises.

  3. 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 your nickel.

  4. Preserve your investment by balancing employer interests with employee career goals. Dr. Cappelli’s 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. Cappelli’s 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 company’s 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 business—and hence to our customers. Beyond the basic benefits of face-to-face interaction, our programs offer opportunities for idea generation and brainstorming that don’t 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. Cappelli’s 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 CTHRA’s Think Tank discussion offer a big round of thanks to Oracle and Korn Ferry for sponsoring the event and to our site host, ESPN/ABC.

November 15 Roundtable Covers Two Hot Topics

Please join us as CTHRA hosts a special educational opportunity covering two of the most significant—and most rapidly evolving—issues 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 for employers;
  • 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 employers;
  • propose strategies for using and controlling Web 2.0 in today’s complex and mobile work environment.

Recent Trends in Labor and Employment Law
This presentation will explore topics of importance to every employer, including:

  • new disability regulations,
  • new wage and hour issues,
  • legal developments affecting an increasingly virtual and mobile workforce,
  • new case law regarding arbitration agreements,
  • 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 Section’s Quarterly.

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

The 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 it’s no wonder that this article, penned by CTHRA’s executive director Pamela Williams, CAE, was among the most-read features on CableFAX in September. Read the article.

Several HR Pros Among Most Influential Minorities

CableFAX 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 of CTHRA
  • 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, Showtime Networks
  • 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 Corporation
  • Ron Phillips, SVP of Employee Engagement, Comcast Corporation
  • Loretta Walker, SVP and Chief HR officer, Turner Broadcasting System

CTHRA applauds all of the influential minority leaders highlighted by CableFAX!

Time Warner Cable Named Kaitz Diversity Champion

The annual Walter Kaitz Foundation fundraising dinner on October 5 honored Time Warner Cable (TWC) as this year’s 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, TWC’s EVP of HR, “Being named as this year’s 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. That’s what makes a champion.”

A 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!

CTHRA's LinkedIn
Community is Growing

Get connected to peers across the country to problem solve, share resources and discuss an industry-specific perspective on key HR issues.

CTHRA's Newest Members