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T+D Blog



T+D Blog is the blog of T+D magazine. T+D is a monthly magazine available to ASTD national members as part of their dues, and by subscription and single-copy sales.



Published: 2009-07-02T11:34:39-04:00

 



T+D blog has moved to http://tdblog.blogspot.com

2009-07-02T11:34:39-04:00

The T+D blog has moved. Please visit us at http://tdblog.blogspot.com/.



An Eye Toward Better Performance at Scripps Health

2009-06-23T13:15:05-04:00

Perhaps the bigger a company grows, the more conscientious it gets in terms of tracking the quality of its workers. For example, one of the tools used for performance management at Scripps Health, a San Diego-based non-profit community health care system, is called "The Eye Chart." Designed by an outside consulting firm, "The Eye Chart" is a large-scale visual tool that looks at factors such as leadership performance and cultural engagement across the entire company. After compiling data from employee satisfaction surveys, the feedback is transformed into a bottom-up multi-rater leadership assessment. Departments that have healthy "mini-cultures of excellence" are represented in green and yellow quartiles while those that are struggling or failing are represented in orange and red quartiles. The chart is intended to help managers find both the good and the bad aspects of their department, and to aid executives and operational leaders in making staff decisions. What other types of performance management tools help companies find the pulse of their workplace cultures? To find out more about performance management at Scripps Health, read "Prescription for a Turnaround" in the June issue of HR Magazine (SHRM members-only on the web). It details how matching talent with business needs and using rewards-tailored compensation for high achievement helped the company recover financially.



The Mother of Innovation

2009-06-19T17:16:26-04:00

In a world starving for fresh ideas, innovation is being tossed around like pennies as the solution to corporate ills. If only it were so simple. Employees and managers don’t fall out of bed one day, decide to be innovative and voila, a new idea enters the marketplace. Most innovative companies dedicate resources and significant staff time to scouting new ideas. Oftentimes such companies find a niche before the average consumer and the marketplace is ready for it. Being innovative does not mean creating a new gadget that did not exist in the marketplace. It refers to addressing a customer need or improving an existing product or service. Decades ago IBM hired an expensive marketing firm to research the potential of high speed copying machines, according to Scott Anthony in his book The Silver Lining. There was no need for such technology, marketers said. Good thing IBM didn’t listen. The conservative nature and absence of creativity inside the walls of most organizations are two prime reasons why innovation is stifled. When executives declare that it is an employee’s job to be innovative that fails to inspire anyone. 3M famously allowed employees to spend 20 percent of their time generating ideas. Spending human capital is just as crucial as greenbacks. It is possible to be innovative even among laggards like General Motors which developed the On Star hotline service, a highly successful mobile service that customers are willing to pay for. Where is the best place to start? Try talking to customers first because they are the ones who are most likely best able to express their needs and wants. Few businesses do this today, focused as they are on survival or maintaining unrealistic standards of growth just a few years ago. The perceived high cost of failure is another barrier to innovation. Most executives blanch at the thought of investing money in an idea that might not yield high returns. For innovators, failure is only temporary as 3M discovered when its early attempts to create a semi-permanent glue planted the seeds for Post-It notes. Innovation requires the kind of thinking that breaks established convention, the kind of person who says why can’t we do this? It means not being afraid to submit an idea that others shy away from out of fear that it is “stupid” or might draw ridicule.



T+D blog has moved

2009-06-19T15:49:57-04:00

The T+D blog has moved. Please visit us at http://tdblog.blogspot.com/.



Serious Gaming in the Workplace

2009-06-19T15:49:00-04:00

Is serious gaming being taken seriously in your workplace? What if I asked the same question a different way: Does your organization support simulations as part of your training regime? Is the word "gaming" scaring off organizations? It shouldn't, because more and more companies are beginning to accept high-tech gaming software as a necessary part of blended learning. Serious games can be powerful educational tools, allowing users to experiment, learn from their mistakes and safely experience risky or dangerous situations. It is time to change the perception of "gaming" among CEOs and other corporate executives. It is a valuable learning tool that is taking too long to become a mainstream part of everyday learning.



Mobile Talent

2009-06-12T18:35:53-04:00

France and Sweden are both members of the European community, but in terms of fostering a flexible workplace environment, they are worlds away. Sweden and the Netherlands rated highest in terms of allowing employees to work from home and providing support to workers who choose that option. Sweden also scored highest among its European peers in terms of having the fewest number of employees lost because they wished to relocate but could not. Sweden finished highest in all categories while France ranked at or near the bottom. The above rankings were part of a study by The Human Capital Institute and SuccessFactors called, “Workforce Mobility Drives Productivity and More Agile Cost Structures” that measured a wide range of mobility factors including ability to relocate, working from home, and retention rates based on ability to relocate. Differences between countries can be attributed to the kind of marketplace served in each country and not simply cultural practices. As Erik Berggren, a researcher with SuccessFactors explains, what distinguishes France and Sweden is the fact that they are competing in entirely different marketplaces. Employees in Sweden are communicating with partners and clients in English while, in France, the business community is geared almost entirely for the French market. Corporations in Sweden and the Netherlands need to offer greater workplace flexibility in order to attract elite, multilingual workers who could easily acquire positions elsewhere in Europe. As the report’s title suggests, by taking a more flexible approach with their highest expense, the labor force, organizations put themselves in a better competitive position. Berggren also recommends that organizations include contingent workers, specifically contractors and temporary employees, in their talent management plan, regardless of who signs their paychecks. Sweden, Germany, and Australia score highest in this regard in terms of the percentage of contingent workers who are managed in the same fashion as full time employees. Again, France manages contingent workers informally.



Recruitment Should Remain Top Priority

2009-06-10T15:24:58-04:00

A group of local business leaders in Wisconsin echoed what ASTD has been preaching since the recession began: talent is valuable and recuitment should remain a priority. Panelists who participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Greater Milwaukee Committee admit that recruiting top level talent can be challenging, but it is crucial to prepare the company for growth when the recession recedes. In a competitive business market, recruiting, retaining, and developing high-performing talent may be a company's only edge. Talent management has never been more important than during this economic downturn. Read about ways learning professionals can play a major role in managing and developing talent.



Wal-Mart Knows the Value of Progress

2009-06-06T18:59:35-04:00

No matter a company’s size and quality in performance, further targeted improvements can always boost it to that next level. For instance, in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Friday, June 5th, at Wal-Mart’s annual meeting and his first shareholder address, newly installed President and CEO Mike Duke told attendees that future goals include enhanced training and development of the company’s employees, further cost reductions through improved global purchasing, and improved alignment with customer needs. Said Duke, “We also need to see ourselves and conduct ourselves not as Goliath, but as David—not as a giant, but as a nimble and innovative competitor in every market.” Furthermore, Duke also pledged to continue the company's efforts to improve gender diversity within its senior ranks by launching a "global women's council." The aim of the group, which met for the first time earlier this week, is to increase the percentage of women in management at Wal-Mart. The council is composed of 14 members, each of whom represents one of the global markets of operation for the company.



T+D on Facebook

2009-06-03T08:06:26-04:00

T+D magazine has ventured deeper into the world of Web 2.0. Become a fan of the T+D fanpage on Facebook to join discussions about article topics, collaborate with colleagues on learning issues, and enjoy everything T+D has to offer all day, every day. Are you using social networking tools as part of your learning and performance programs? Web 2.0 is here to stay, so don't get left behind.



Sesame Street for Adults

2009-05-22T16:42:22-04:00

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and it’s a conference that first started in 1984 to link these three distinct realms. Today, it’s morphed into an annual event that draws some of the world’s greatest minds who are challenged to “give the talk of their lives” in just 18 minutes (which is relatively an eternity in the world of Twitter) In addition to the annual Long Beach, California conference, there are also a twin conference held internationally called TEDGlobal, and in November 2009, TEDIndia will take place in Mysore, India to explore that country’s burgeoning growth. TED’s website, whose tagline is “ideas worth spreading,” gives people access to the best of these talks at no charge. It is also possible to subscribe to the TEDTalks to get the latest video ideas delivered straight to your inbox. Currently, there are over 400 talks archived on the TED site with more added weekly. Talks are divided into categories based on general themes, and one that is particularly pertinent to training and development is called How We Learn including talks by author and linguist Steven Pinker on the blank slate and Rice University professor Richard Baraniuk on open-source learning, among others. Another recent fascinating talk is by entrepreneur and blogger Seth Godin on the power of tribes in the modern age. The whole concept of TED confirms the social power that seeking and sharing knowledge has in attracting people to collaborate, innovate, and disseminate ideas.