Tuesday, February 27, 2007

WEDDLEs Research Factoid

Most of the staffing world would instantly recognize Pete Weddle's picture from his most recent appearence on America's Most Wanted. (Just kidding Pete, but the part about recognition I think would be true.) Pete has been operating in the staffing space since before it bacame a "space" which also might say something about where his hair went.

Okay seriously, his newsletter (which is not just interesting but is also free) is something I look forward to and actually read. The "factoid" piece in a recent isssue, the opening portion of which I have pasted below, immediately caught both my eye and attention I guess because it touched one of my biggest "worry nerves" in terms of not just the future of business in a global economy, but the future of our country in general. Here's part of what Pete said:

WEDDLE’s continuously conducts both primary and secondary research on Best Practices in employment excellence and HR leadership. Among the documents we recently reviewed was a 2006 Towers Perrin survey conducted among HR executives at 250 large and midsized North American organizations. Towers Perrin asked the executives a very simple question: What is talent?.

The data below indicate the percentage of respondents that selected a specific workforce group as talent.

86% identified senior leaders

82% identified employees with leadership potential

76% identified key contributors/technical experts

48% identified entry level employees with leadership potential.
The groups are, by no means, exhaustive or even meaningfully structured, but they do provide an interesting perspective on our work as recruiters.

The article goes on to discuss and more importantly define what Pete feels employers really mean when they use the word "talent" and/or "leadership."
I have no idea if how these terms are described will finally put an end to the eternal debate over these most sought after attributes that continues to support the multi billion dollar industries that produce and sell all sorts of products and services that promise they can help us identify the DNA that produces the talented leaders every business so desparately needss and craves, but they are a good as any I've seen in a while.

We are currently putting the finishing touches on our annual Executive Job Market Intelligence Report, a survey now in its 15th year. While it has changed and expanded over the years as most surveys do, one question that has been there since day 1 has been to ask the recruiters who participate what are the top characteristics or attributes they are asked to find. The top three, by far and away have always been leadership, industry specific experience, and functional expertise.

It is always an area that causes a fair amount of discussion whenever I have presented the survey results to varioius groups over the years. Actually, in that presentation, there is a slide we use to try and drive home the point that while we all keep trying, for sure we have along way to go:

1 comment:

reinkefj said...

When I read this, "talent" made me think of the movie Groundhog, where "talent" referred to the on-air personality. In such a paradigm, "Leaders" set the directions and "workers" try to follow that direction. Right off the cliff. Where the "leaders" deploy their parachutes. And the workers get an "interesting experience". Ask an autoworker, or a IT worker. Unfortunately, I think such thinking gives us a disaffected ready-to-unionize workforce. Any one, "talent" or "leader" or "worker", with any kind of marketable skill in the internet age (easy to form a business, easy to test an idea, and easy to execute globally) will quickly spin out into their own business leaving the large organizations in the lurch. My generation of wage slaves, (talent and workers who can be fooled by "leaders" into thinking that it is good to be an "employee" with a "pension"), is dying out. It'll be interesting when these corporate "leaders" find themselves at the head of parade with no one following except the yes-men, toadies, bean counters, and "human resource" people. Very provocative, maybe, but eventually every slave will revolt.