Leveraging HR with IT

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
April 25, 2011 - SCMR Editorial

Digital Tempus expects companies to focus their talent development investments in three key areas in 2011:


Renewed Focus on Portfolio and Planning Talent:  Many companies operating in today’s economy are struggling to establish an effective decision-making process.  Portfolio complexity has made it difficult for companies to plan, and poor planning has made it difficult to make the right portfolio decisions.  The conflict has led to an overwhelming emphasis on execution behavior – a focus on the here and now – with limited attention to the full planning horizon and the necessary alignment of go-to-market and operational decisions that drive profitable growth.  To address this challenge, companies will need to develop a planning organization with the right balance of analytical and social skills that is capable of leading cross-functional processes to optimize portfolios and develop plans from multiple perspectives, including finance, sales, marketing and supply chain.  Establishing this combined competency helps companies align the entire organization with a Planning for Growth mindset.

Restructured Talent Development Programs:  In a study that compared planner job specifications for 75 companies from September 2008 to September 2010, Digital Tempus identified that companies have shifted their recruiting focus from targeting candidates with 3-5 years of experience to a less experienced recruiting base of only 1-2 years.  For many organizations, onboarding this new generation of talent will mean structuring talent development programs that establish basic leadership skills, inter-disciplinary perspectives, situational awareness, problem solving and applied analytics, and effective communication in the context of ambiguous operating environments.  Companies that continue to seek more experienced candidates from industry should recognize that experienced resources are not necessarily plug-and-play.  For these resources, talent development initiatives should focus on assimilating experience into the company’s culture, while tailoring advanced skills development in specific areas to address the new expectation of portfolio and planning competencies.

Plans to Sustain Proficiencies and Performance:  In the past, many companies have established planning proficiencies and demonstrated performance gains, only to fall back on less than satisfactory performance levels as soon as they lose focus.  Planning is a unique skillset that requires continuous investment – markets are dynamic, organizations are dynamic, and portfolios and strategies need change to keep pace with market demands.  By structuring continuous investment in talent development and providing planners with career development paths, companies can advance portfolio and planning competencies, drive a performance-based culture, and make the planning role exciting and rewarding, ultimately increasing retention.

According to this consultancy,  market conditions have created a “talent gap” that could lead to increased attrition rates and unnecessary organizational dynamics if they are not well managed.

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About the Author

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Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. Patrick covers international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. Contact Patrick Burnson

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