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    « What's Missing from the 2010 Social Software Predictions | Main | The HR 101 E-Book »

    Trulondon Track Preview - The Endangered Species List

    Next week I have the great pleasure of heading over to trulondon, the dynamic Bill Boorman's true 'global mashup' that will bring together Human Resources, Recruiting, and Technology pros for two days of discussions, explorations, and certainly a bit of fun.

    The event, as is becoming more and more popular, is framed as an 'Unconference', meaning no formal presentations, no Powerpoint slides, and with discussion topics finding their own way to the forefront.  Good ideas and concepts get promoted, while others that are not so interesting or compelling simply Flickr - katmeredrift off.

    This week I want to highlight the sessions I have the honor of co-facilitating, as a way of providing and introduction of sorts to the session, and perhaps as a way for the co-facilitators and attendees to tell me I am way off track (or perhaps not).

    First up a track called 'Endangered Species' with track Leaders: Peter Gold, Jon Ingham, Steve Boese

    Track Description:

    From H.R. to recruiters, we seem to hear of the imminent passing of all the trades we recognise are facing extinction from a changing world. Who is next to start pushing up the daisies? This track promises to be lively and global looking at who is on the endangered species list, why and what they need to do in the future to ensure a brighter future.

    It is very easy and provocative at times to declare some traditional concept, or field of endeavor 'dead' and those that continue to cling to those old customs, behaviors, attitudes etc. as a kind of dinosaur of sorts.  In 2009, on several blogs and on a really lively edition of the HR Happy Hour show itself we even talked about all of HR being dead.

    Certainly business strategies, management philosophies, and approaches to managing and engaging candidates and employees have to evolve over time.  The words is changing faster than ever (although we were saying the same thing back in the 70's and 80's), and organizations and professionals that foolishly cling to increasingly antiquated strategies and behaviors will certainly be at a competitive disadvantage in the 'new' world.

    But the trick of course is deciphering which tried and true practices are truly enduring, and while perhaps needing a few tweaks here and there are still relevant and important today, and dropping the practices and ideas that are really the talent management equivalent of the dinosaurs. 

    Not so easy to do I think, because unlike that massive meteorite that smashed into the Earth and wiped out all the dinosaurs (I am not sure that is really how it happened, but just go with for the argument), the changes in business and the game of Talent Management and Talent Acquisition are more subtle, more complex, and certainly not universally accepted as important and/or necessary for success. 

    But since I am a track co-facilitator I figured I better have some suggestions for the endangered species list and rather than wait until trulondon to find out that I am way off base, I'll list a few of the ideas here to see if you think I am on the right track:

    Endangered Species #1 - The 'Not Invented Here' attitude

    How many R&D staff does your organization employ?  How many marketers, IT, or HR pros? No matter how many, they represent a tiny fraction of all the available talent in those fields.  Leveraging all possible resources for product development, engineering, and research is a concept that has begun to take hold in many large organizations (see what P&G Corporation is doing for example). But I think that HR, Recruiting, and Talent Management has been lacking a bit in this area.  When times are tight, we see stories of training and development cuts, reduction in professional conference attendance, and even at times a reactionary 'circle the wagons' attitude.  I would think that the longer and more stridently organizations continue to only look inwards, and cling to the 'not invented here' approach, that in some ways they will be sealing their fates as marginal players in the future.

    Endangered Species #2 - The Company Man

    Unless the title after your name reads 'CEO' or 'Owner', there is a high probability that the job your are in, and the company you work for will not be your last.  Downsizing, bankruptcies, and a relentless push by organizations to wring increased cost savings (often via outsourcing or use of temporary workers) all conspire to make the traditional long tenures many professionals used to enjoy more and more unlikely.

    I know, this is not exactly breakthrough analysis. But while most individuals have come (hopefully) to this realization, I am not sure most organizations have.  Nor have they adequately prepared for the effects on the morale, engagement, and capability of the staff that remain after any downsizing or outsourcing.  Finally, I don't think many have really thought how they might strategically leverage those ex-employees in the future.

    Endangered Species #3 - The Specialist (aka the 'That's Not My Job' guy)

    Much like the likely career trajectory or story that most employees will undergo will likely be more fluid and dynamic, so too are the skills and capabilities that people will need to see continued success.  Unless you manage to hit on the one great idea that you can leverage for years and years, you almost certainly will need to work harder, smarter, and yes maybe even longer to stay on top of your field. Even in the interview process, smart employers are going to want to know what you do to make yourself better, and in an environment of 10% unemployment in the US, the chances are high that the organization can find someone else who won't play the 'That's not my job' card.

    So what do you think?  What else is on the endangered species list? 

    Besides long-winded bloggers (how did this post end up at almost 1,000 words anyway?).

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    Reader Comments (4)


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