Porter Novelli is a large marketing communications firm with more than 100 offices around the world. William D. Novelli and Jack Porter, a pair of advertising executives, founded Porter Novelli in 1972. The company was involved in a few successful campaigns including HIV awareness and anti-tobacco campaigns. The mid-2000s became the time of change for Porter Novelli, and new strategies were implemented with mostly positive results.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategic Leaders
In 2004, the firm went through a period of reforms after a thorough visioning process and an assessment of its strategies to create a plan for the next five years. The new vision was centered on clients and work processes that would facilitate a more effective service and account planning. International offices would become more independent in the process. To successfully implement this vision the senior management group decided to create new human resources management processes and hire a chief talent officer. The CTO played a large role in the implementation of the new vision and was very effective in restructuring the performance management strategy. He or she adopted Stephen Drotter’s Leadership Pipeline strategy to prepare the company for the implementation of the new plan of operation. Previous performance management practice suffered from being too complex and focused on processes.
There was no leadership model and because of that HR processes did not work well together. Implementing the pipeline led to a clear definition of leadership structure, revision of the performance management system, creation of a new interview process that was more consistent and structured, as well as better organization of training and career structure. Work results became the focus of performance definition. The Drotter model requires verticality in the distribution of work, as well as explicit definitions of management, financial, customer and leadership results by level to create better measurements that would be understandable to employees (Janson, 2015). Subsequently, the chief talent officer tailored this system for Porter Novelli and implemented it in 2006. This new strategy was met with positive feedback and multiple successful years of operation for the company (Goldsmith & Carter, 2010).
Criteria for Evaluation of the Strategy and Data Collection
To choose five criteria that would help evaluate the effectiveness of the talent management strategy, it would be useful to take the DIME model of talent management success as a base because it includes four of the most distinguishing factors of success for talent management. The first factor measures how much the business strategy drives the talent strategy. Two ideas make up are represented in this criterion. Talent is treated as a strategic resource. Therefore the talent strategy is crucial to the success of the business strategy. And the idea that Human Resources should be treated as a strategic business partner because a successful HR department creates programs that support the business practices of the company. This criterion measures the ability to link the business strategy with the talent strategy (Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
The second factor that is identified by the DIME model is how well does the talent strategy integrate with other processes. The integration of the talent management system can be classified into five stages. The first one is classified as “reactive, ” and it focuses on resolving urgent issues with talent. This stage chooses a popular packaged off-the-shelf program. This kind of program can provide a quick fix using its generic tools. However, this stage does not take into account the company culture and often cannot be used to solve the main problem. Therefore they do not stay in the company for long (Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
Stage two of integration is called “programmatic, ” and it is focused on creating programs that are consistent over time. This stage does not guarantee effective results, but it can be repeated over time which creates an illusion of effectiveness. It can be represented in having the same procedure to hire employees out of the same schools and with the same requirements every time a new employee is needed, without considering previous results of this program (Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
The third stage of integration is called “comprehensive, ” and it is defined by the rigorous development of the programs and processes. The goal of this stage is to create programs that would be considered leaders in their field of work. This strategy can lead to the creation of very efficient talent management programs. Unfortunately, this stage often creates programs that are unconnected to other management efforts (Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
“Aligned” is the name of the fourth stage. The focus of this stage is on the alignment and linking of HR processes and systems between each other. This is done by utilizing similar language and talent models and creating a shared goal between connections. Processes and connections created by this stage are much more likely to streamline the work process, but they are not driven by larger business and talent strategies. Existing programs might already be effective on their own, but the lack of a shared goal could create conflict (Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
The ultimate stage of talent management is called “Strategic.” The fifth stage ensures that the programs created by the talent management programs are not only aligned with the cause but actively work on achieving the goals of the business and talent strategies. To reach this stage the talent management programs and processes need to share strategic goals with recruiting and staffing processes. The effect of the HR programs and processes in this stage is multiplied due to their synergy. There exist other approaches to integration, but for this paper, this approach should prove effective (Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
The third factor of success that should be evaluated is whether the strategy is managed as a core business practice. To succeed in this criterion the company needs to utilize the same kind of effort to planning their talent development programs as they do to the development of their products and services. As mentioned earlier, talent is a valuable strategic resource for the company, and it should be given an appropriate amount of attention (Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
The final factor that the DIME model provides concerns strategies that engrain themselves into the firm as a talent mindset. This factor describes how a talent strategy becomes the responsibility of every person in the company. When this criterion is met, every employee is responsible for attracting, deploying, cultivating, and retaining talent (Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
I believe the final criterion could be measuring how well the talent strategy was received by the employees themselves. Although a strategy can be developed with all the previous criteria in mind, the staff can have their issues with it that can be unique to the company. A successful strategy should consider the unique traits of the company it is being implemented in (Bussin, 2014).
To evaluate the strategy based on these criteria both qualitative and quantitative measures should be employed. To collect quantitative data, the department should use performance records and assessment instruments. Interviews and surveys should be able to determine the human response to the implementation of this strategy and possibly find unique aspects that should be addressed. Data collection should be carefully planned and consider the context in which the data was produced (Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
Critique and Alternatives
The talent strategy that Porter Novelli implemented resulted in a positive outcome for the company. The Drotter model proved to be useful for the company and met all of my criteria besides it being ingrained into the company mindset. The CTO made sure that the strategy is driven by the needs to implement the new business strategy, strategically integrated it into the company, the business structure was reshaped to make talent a priority for the company, and it was welcomed by the employees (Goldsmith & Carter, 2010). But could other strategies be implemented with the same or better results? The main focus of an alternative talent management strategy would be to leverage employee experience. The case study mentions that the previous strategy employed a lot of training but suffered from a lack of strategic implementation. This experience can be harnessed if the strategy is implemented according to the criteria above. The company management would need to undergo a similar clarification of roles so each level of the company would be aware of new responsibilities and business strategies by organizing training sessions and coaching practices (Cappelli & Keller, 2014).
Functional Expertise Component
The CTO in the presented case study created effective functional expertise for the company. They paid attention to the business strategy before deciding on their course of action. They identified focus areas such as the lack of alignment, “source code” and complexity of the performance measuring process. Officer chose to give extra attention to the structure of the company by clarifying the roles of every managing class of workers. Also, they chose to use the Drotter model to define the competencies of the staff. This led to a more clear performance management process, quick implementation of the new business strategy, and the streamlining of the talent management programs.
Bussin, M. (2014). Remuneration and talent management. Randburg, South Africa: Knowres Publishing.
Cappelli, P., & Keller, J. (2014). Talent management: Conceptual approaches and practical challenges. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 1(1), 305-331. Web.
Goldsmith, M., & Carter, L. (2010). Best practices in talent management (8th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
Janson, K. (2015). Demystifying talent management (2nd ed.). Palmyra, VA: Maven House.
Silzer, R., & Dowell, B. (2010). Strategy-driven talent management (6th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.