The Wikipedia defines design thinking as a style of thinking which combines empathy for thecontext of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions, and the rationalityto analyze and fit solutions to the context.While design thinking has become part of popular lexicon in contemporary design andengineering practice, as well as business and management, its principles can be seamlesslyapplied across multiple disciplines and industries. The premise is that by knowing about theprocess and the methods that designers use to ideate, and by understanding how designersapproach problem solving, individuals and businesses will be better able to connect with andinvigorate their ideation processes in order to take innovation to a higher level. The hope is tocreate sustainable competitive advantage in today’s volatile global economy which hasincreasingly become knowledge -based.Principles of Service Design ThinkingMarc Stickdorn in his seminal work This is service design thinking talks about ‘How todesign and market services to create outstanding customer experiences’. He lays down 5 basicprinciples.Let us examine here these principles each in turn. User Centered means services should beexperienced through the eyes of the customer. It is not enough to just look at statistical dataabout the customers. This pre-supposes a service-oriented mindset. It means listening ‘well’ toclients, rethinking every communication and interaction no matter how mundane and anattention to detail, an attitude, that is essential if one has to find the self-discipline to handleclient servicing with empathy. A professional services provider is as much in the business ofmanaging client’s experience with respect to professional services as in the business ofUser-centeredCo-Creative Sequencing Evidencing Holisticdesign thinking
executing technical tasks. I would draw upon here from the “First Law of Service”1: Satisfactionequals Perception minus Expectation. If a client perceives service delivery at a certain levelbut expected something more or different, then he or she will be dissatisfied. The centralchallenge in a services setting is in managing not only the substance of what we do for clientsbut also the clients’ expectations and perceptions. Co-Creative means working with allstakeholders to explore new needs and processes. And the most important stakeholder is theend-user or the customer. Sequencing is how the rhythm of the service impacts the mood of thecustomer. It is important that the service offering has a consistent flavour to nurture andcultivate a long term relationship capital. Evidencing is making the customer or the clientaware of the intangibles, the ‘behind the scenes’ services. This is about the customer‘experience’ evidenced in the quality of the service offering and a greater likelihood of customersatisfaction and repeat business if applicable. It is imperative that all services provide someform of artefact to remind the customer a service took place. Lastly Holistic. It means keepingthe mood and feelings of the customer in mind at all the ‘touch-points’ in the relationshipjourney. No detail is small too ignore in the final customer experience.Changing Talent Acquisition LandscapeGiven the global recession and the talent imbalances in the world, organizations today aregetting innovative in the way they are engaging with talent. There is increasing realization thatbeing more innovative in sourcing and recruiting can give them a sustainable competitiveadvantage by enabling one to find and hire more of the right people who can drive innovationthroughout the entire organization. And therein lies the challenge.....1 ‘Managing the Professional Services Firm’, David MaisterLimited Internal HR & TalentResources?BuildRelationshipswith PeopleDefine thetalent needsIdentify rightpeople tomeet theseneeds
Making a strategic impact in the face of pressures to reduce recruitment costs and operatingwith limited resources is an ongoing challenge. As companies seek talent and talent seeks globalcompany’s dramatic changes fuelled by technology, globalization, demographics & workforcebehavioural dynamics are forcing businesses to strategically adapt to new ways to fill talentscarcity gaps.The real importance of talent acquisition, and the door-opener for talent management at theproverbial seat at the boardroom table, is the recognition that a business cannot grow withoutthe right talent. Just as importantly, businesses cannot reach the right talent withoutmaking a conscious strategic effort to do so. As the global economy expanded dramaticallybetween 2002 through 2007, business leaders and human resource managers worried aboutthe intensifying international competition for talent; impact of not having the right people inplace to lead and confront business challenges; as well as employing below- average candidates“just to fill positions” (Economist, October 2006; Price & Turnbull, 20072). Reflecting theseconcerns, Price Waterhouse Cooper’s 11th Annual Global Survey2008 showed that 89% of theCEOs surveyed put the ‘people agenda’ as one of their top priorities (PWC, 2008a,b:353). Willmost companies be ready for the next economic upturn in terms of executive talent? Not if theycontinue to follow their present unstructured and ineffective approach to recruitment aver M/sBoris Groysberg, Nitin Nohria & Claudio Araoz4.In their seminal report ‘The definitive guide to recruiting in good times and bad’, theyhighlight that the “Future success of a vast majority of companies would depend on a completeoverhaul of their recruitment practices. We need a culture of professional recruitment andretention, in good and bad times, especially in bad ones.”E & Y in its 2008 “Global HR Risk Survey” findings concluded that Talent acquisition &management was seen as the HR risk considered to have the greatest impact on theorganization and the most likely to occur. Justifiably so the last few years has seen an incredibleshift in how organizations source and hire for talent. The recruiting methodologies andapproaches that businesses used in the past are being replaced by new strategies, tools andmetrics that are measurably generating high quality candidates.2 The Economist, 2006, Survey: talent. The Economist from http://www.economist.com, October 5.3 Price Waterhouse Coopers,2008a, The 11th Annual Global CEO Survey, PWC, New York ( September)4 Claudio Araoz, Boris Groysberg and Nitin Nohria, The definitive guide to Recruiting in Good Times and Bad,Harvard Business review, May’2009.
Exhibit AExhibit A above captures some of the key elements of the Talent Acquisition framework gainingfoothold in the lexicon of Talent decision makers. We are today living in an age of globalconnectivity. Using Ulrich’s5 terms, the talent war today represents the drive to find, develop,and retain individuals, wherever they are located in the world.5Ulrich D., 2006. The Talent Trifecta. Workforce Management 32-33 ( September 10)New Vernacular of High Performance Talent AcquisitionSocial MediaNetworkingCandidate ExperienceJust-in- Time Talent-on-DemandLean SigmaEmployment Branding FarmingBig Data Candidate Relationship ManagementAnalytics Cultural Fit Mobile RecruitingData Mining Semantic SearchCrowd SourcingSEOWorkforce OptimizationCloud RecruitmentTalent Management Integration
Exhibit B6 below delineates the talent response dimensions7 organizations must embrace toattract and effectively engage talent for complex and relationship driven work.6The Global War for Talent, Schon Beechler, Ian C. Woodward, Journal of International Management, Fox school ofBusiness, Temple University7IbidWhat attributes define these topperformers?How do we attract the people who will besthelp an organization succeedHow do we integrate and retain them?
The key challenge is to evolve recruitment models which can connect with Talent at large.Design Thinking – a human centric interdisciplinary approach towards innovation can helpenable such a model.Design Thinking Applied to Talent AcquisitionLet us examine each of the above 5 principles in relation to an organization’s Talent Acquisitionstrategy.Customers define talent’s value8 and have always paid talent’s way. But customers do notnecessarily value what talent provides; and they have seldom had direct control over it. Thevalue provided by the “Organization Man” for example, was mostly for internal organizationexchange and consumption. This insulation of talent from customer value is changing in the eraof customer strategies. The most successful businesses have distinguished themselves bycoming to terms with the important but unsettling reality that customers and markets do notcare about companies and barely care about the products and services companies sell. In thecustomer seat, products and services only have visibility and value if they improve customers’lives or contribute to customer success - that is they solve the problems that prompt customersto seek products and services in the first place. The Container Store, a Dallas based specialityretailer of home and office storage solutions, demonstrates talent value to customers throughits substantial investment in new sales employee education. The retailer delivers 235 hours tonew full-time employees during their first year, education that includes point of sale processes,8Successful Talent Strategies, David SearsTalent Acquisition StrategyUser-Centered Co-Creative Sequencing Evidencing HolisticUser- Centered
sales skills, product knowledge, and inventory management. By contrast, the norm for the retailindustry is approximately seven hours annually. The example demonstrates how the desiredcustomer values were translated into employee performance requirement which is a function ofthe ‘right talent mix’ to ensure business success. When we think of it, employers ultimately donot want employees. Instead they want the correct and timely mix of talent who can eithersupply products or services customers value immediately or, in the long term, do one or more ofthe following:Key metric to track:♦ Quality of hire – both at the pre-recruiting & post recruiting stageQuality hires impact a company’s ability to execute its mission, reach its milestones, beprofitable and ultimately increase shareholder value. All this is a consequence of managing wellthe end user client expectations and perceptions. Quality of hire is an index, an aggregation ofrelevant metrics. While the same is measured in different ways for different industries andorganizations a representative index would typically include:The quality of hire should help guide the talent acquisition strategy and tell the story of HReffectiveness at pre and post hire levels. The goal should be to influence the C-suite leadership engagement Score hiring manager satisfactionMaking the connection between what customer value and whattalent provides is a recurring new realityquality of slate ( pipeline measure) quality of slate ( pipelinemeasure) quality of slate ( pipelinemeasure)new hire attritionassessment score for critical rolesbrand equitycandidate experience -both pre and post employmenttime to fill for critical roles ProductivityIncrease customer use and value perception of existing products,servicesDevelop or find new customers for existing products and services
to buy-in on the quality of hire and invest in the hiring process. It is the most visiblemanifestation of end user satisfactionApplication of this principle to Talent Acquisition (TA) is to underscore the importance ofintegrating TA and TM (Talent Management) in organizations as the need for – and the scarcityof- specialized talent becomes more critical. Although the two functions have the same overallgoals – ensuring the organization has the best talent – the two roles just don’t intersect in mostorganizations9. In many organizations, a wall of separation has existed between the TA and TMfunctions for years. TA operates on its own, separate from HR and TM, while bemoaning the factthat no one gets what they do. At the same time HR business partners and OD professionalsoften wonder, “What do these recruiters do? How hard can recruiting be?” However theimportance of integrating TA and TM is something organizations today can ignore at their ownperil as hiring manager’s demand faster, higher quality talent acquisition and employeesdemand to know what options exist for them to learn and grow in their career. Technologyadvances, economic pressures for resource efficiency are all driving the need for a closerintegration between the TA & TM roles. The scenario implies defining new roles, processes,trainings and tools. Such changes will require increasing collaboration among all theconstituents in the HR value chain within organizations to deliver deeper, more sustainablevalue for the company and employees.The purpose of any Recruitment process is to ‘predict’ which person will be the most successfulin a given role, responsibility area within the ambit of a defined Talent Profile. The morestructured the process the better is the qualified success or the quality of the hire. Sequencingessentially is about applying the ‘Science’ to people decisions which ensures a consistent, morepredictable quality of hire outcome for the hiring manager, customer. This is about the‘Science of Fit Research’10 The process examines the various job roles at work within anorganization and diagnose the skills, knowledge, personality traits and experience somebodyneeds to succeed on these roles. This is accomplished in two ways:♦ undertake a job analysis and ask workers and managers what they perceive to becharacteristics of high performers♦ Study high-performers and compare them against the average, creating a ‘high-performeranalysis.’Bersin11 in its research (using data and analysis provided by Kenexa) looked at a variety of jobroles (Sales, Marketing, Leadership) and compared the top 10% of performers in each of the jobgroups for their skills, knowledge, attributes against the average. The research providedvaluable insights on future performance and gave a unique consistent perspective on who to9The Intersection of Talent Acquisition & Talent Management, Designs on Talent, LLC.10Bersin Talent Analytics Research11IbidCo- CreativeSequencing
hire by creating the right Talent Profiles or Personas. These insights form the core of a ‘pre-hire assessment’12 or test and interview script which can help identify top people for a positionin any organization.The combination of assessment tools carefully developed, sequenced and executed is critical for thesuccess of any high-performing Talent Acquisition program.As part of its 2010 Staffing and Performance benchmark report13, a response analysis of thesurveyed participants regarding the use of staffing metrics within the organization yielded thefollowing results:12 Bersin & Associates: Talent Analytics Research13Prinzo Group, Optimum Staffing0 5 10 15 20 25 30New Hire QualityHiring Manager SatisfactionCandidate SatisfactionCandidate Experience% of OrganizationsNew Hire QualityHiring Manager SatisfactionCandidate SatisfactionCandidate ExperienceEvidencing
What gets measured gets improved and by not measuring, the recruiting organization misses anopportunity to learn from its own processes – what it is doing well and how it is adding value tothe organization. The final shortlist presentation of a list of prospects to the hiring manager maybe the end of the process but making visible the myriad ‘behind the scenes’ recruiting activitiesthrough ‘metrics and analytics’- the Big Data fuelled hiring- is what can measure the true valuecreation process in Talent Acquisition and its impact on business results. Reliable measureslinking people to business strategy can impact decision making and investment decisions.With the advent of Big Data14, the recruiting function is facedwith an unprecedented opportunity to become more data-driven, analytical and strategic in theway it acquires talent. People want to succeed – measurement lets them know when they have.Measurements can be very empowering and the best way to highlight areas that needimprovement. To access the power of big data, organizations are examining their internal data: lprevious time to fill, cost per hire, sources of hire, attrition rates, and performance scores for thepositions that are critical to fill in a given hiring year.This data and metrics can then be reviewed to determine the most cost-effective sources andbest candidate flow that led to the most hires; especially the hires that stayed employed withthe company at least a year and were meeting or exceeding their performance goals. One couldalso review the number of unique IP addresses that visited the job/employer site. Capturingwhich websites they came from, which pages were most visited on the company site, how longcandidates spent on those pages, which pages they last visited before they left, etc.It is also important to compare the number of candidates received from the job boardadvertising against the number of fully completed applications received to determine thecandidate drop-off rate.14 Big Data & Technology, David Bernstein, VP, e QuestThere is nothing more satisfying than providing a service anddemonstrating its value with systematically collected data
The other components of big data analysis include job board metrics, web traffic data,employment data, social data, and data from outsourced vendors. By blending thisinformation, the one could capture key metrics about the company – i.e. how often is thecompany searched for, how often are its open jobs viewed, how often they are clicked on, etc.Big Data can help solidify HR’s reputation allowing them to establish business partnerrelationships with their customer that makes analytical driven, evidenced-based decisionswhen it comes to talent acquisition. It can lift Talent Acquisition strategies to a new level ofsuccess.The logic of the Talent Acquisition function is based on building a sustainable relationshipcapital with the end consumers or client(s) or key stakeholders of the service. For Organizationscommitted to improving the efficiency of their staffing function this represents a significantpoint of intelligence. That is successful recruiting ultimately depends on people. Relationshipswith candidates, hiring managers and HRBP’s and the ability to improve the experience of allthe constituents at all the touch points in the talent acquisition relationship cycle ultimatelydrives the success of the staffing function. Companies have come to realize that it can be five toten times more profitable to build an existing customer relationship to try and create a new onewhen a customer leaves. It is the same with talent. Despite the shifts in recruiting tacticsbrought about by e-cruiting15, the key to the development of a predictable talent flow is havingpre-existing and enduring relationships that can be readily converted into work relationships.Recognizing this, some companies are moving to a talent flow approach that mirrors therationale of their CRM programs. The logic of talent relationship management (TRM)16 is thatrecruiting involves relationships with people who are more like customers than not. Talentrelationship management orchestrates with internal and external stakeholders to createsustainable networks of talent supply as into which a business can reach as positions open up.Relationship processes give prospects something of value well in advance of a recruitmentpitch. Relationship building however takes time and focus. It operates on different rhythms andthinking than the direct approach. Among the companies adopting this approach is ElectronicArts Inc., a large video game company. It maintains a pipeline of over thirty thousand individualrelationships assembled using a web-based ATS, which stores custom talent profiles instead ofresumes. The profile data fields capture contact information, information about prospectbackgrounds, career aspirations, and geographic preferences. If prospect interests andcapabilities match a current opening, the system immediately notifies the hiring manager andencourages the candidate to apply. This process of developing talent relationships forcesmanagers to develop a more outward-looking view, stay on top of cutting-edge trends, buildingtheir company’s image and staying in sync with customer expectations. This is but the essenceof the design thinking methodology – taking insights from people at the various stages, touchpoints of the process and build from the outside-in rather than from the inside-out.15Talent Flow Strategies – Successful Talent Strategies-; David Sears16ibidHolistic