2009 Thought Leaders Retreat
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2009 Thought Leaders Retreat


Key Takeaways/Implications from the 2009 Thought Leaders Retreat
As reported by participants during Oct. 6 breakout session


  • Literacy in technology is critical for success in business   
  • Worried about bridging the gap in utilizing technology across generations
  • Also concerned on potential uses of technology
  • Crowd sourcing/computing is an important potential area
  • How can we utilize employees’ “wasted time”?
    o Create a game to understand company culture & programs?
    o Digitizing records, attitudinal survey of employees, etc.
    o  Fine line between using time at work and wasting it.
    o R&D, creatives must have freedom- different approaches for different work groups. 
  • Lack of I.P.- copies are better than original; how to adapt


  • Need far more flexibility in the workplace
  • Uniqueness of individuals—need to think about mass customizing for workforce
  • Innovation is fundamental to business culture for success
    o How do we break down barriers to our employee innovation- need  to work on not putting unnecessary barriers or rules in place
    o Rules/compliance constrain creativity/innovation
    o Limiting paperwork, rules & regulations, crush creativity
  • How does the next generation learn, stay productive and challenged?
    o Employees’ need for freedom (younger generation wants to be given freedom)
    o How can organizations best harness the horsepower of creativity in the younger workforce?
    o Creativity- keeping young employees motivated
  • Need more questioning of the status quo in org’s; “why do we do that?”
  • We need to find a way to train employees to analyze complex problems and come up with simple solutions

Planning for the Future 

  • To plan for the future, we need to consider how to integrate future and potential future work processes even if we are not sure what they are
  • Gone are the days of linear forecasting
  • Agility and responsiveness have become more important than planning
  • HR must respond more rapidly and more flexibly
  • Forecasting vs. simulations cause us to rethink assumptions
  • Succession planning is not really relevant
  • Fostering, attracting and retaining employees - need new thinking given the new economic and global implications
  • Strategy is a must for HR planning

Global Talent Outlook

  • Global change- traditional talent models won’t work; how to manage in new environment
  • The East is driving innovation now, while the West is self-promoting
    o The West is no longer “the center” of the universe- what is HR’s role in this?
  • As we globalize, do we go back to unorganized work, no overarching entity- get someone to set up “virtual” assembly lines
    o Global teams- virtual- how do we do it successfully?
  • Crucial message:  “Listen with the intent of being influenced”
  • Leadership- your team should understand how you make decisions, your point of view
  • Leadership competencies have to change for dealing with ambiguity

Managing Talent

  • Garry Ridge’s Presentation on Alarm Bells
    o Help all employees get an ‘A’
    o What alarm bells are being ignored?
    o Reflection on our “personal alarm bells” is important
  • HR should be renamed, maybe “corporate well-being”
  • Paychex- hire ‘C’ players; interesting approach, changing recruitment approach, doing things differently
  • Making average employees great
  • “Trust” is critical to optimizing productivity/feedback
  • Many companies dealing with the need for employee engagement
  • Hire for “fit” or attitude; not just competencies
  • Engaging people- companies are closed door shops

Economic Climate

  • The recession may have ended but the recovery is uncertain- could be a double dip
  • Nothing certain; recovery uncertain; concern about double-U recession
  • This is a jobless and consumer-less recovery thus far; will all who’ve lost jobs get new jobs?

Labor Economic Issues ( including Peter Cappelli’s material) and work structures

  • Take a Strategic  view
  • Less fixed cost and more variable cost; less office space, more work at home
  • Supply chain applications to human/talent management
    o Approach for succession planning fascinating
    o Develop talent pool / building inventory makes sense vs. “box” approach
  • Supply chain management applications to human/ talent management
  • Need best of best and have to make difficult decisions regarding people
  • How to build engagement and retention in this new environment
  • Associate value propositions have been damaged; need to rebuild
  • Are there ways to get useful productivity (work) out of fair and “free” labor
  • Changing nature of work and who does it;  All employees- employees, temps, contractors, outsource- Crowd source

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