Effectiveness of the Strategic Leaders’ Role
As a strategic leader, Karen van Bergen, Porter Novelli’s Chief Executive Officer, having a rich expertize in client service and in marketing, communications and public affairs observed the potential of developing strong teams for serving the customers’ public relations plans. Investing in people, providing trainings, challenging and determining them to desire to learn more for finding their passion and use it in the benefit of the clients is one effective strategic leadership approach that van Bergen employs in her activity for generating performance.
Discussing about elective strategic leadership, Adair (2010) defines this concept as the determination of delivering the goods in accordance with organization’s natural expectations in time of change. Referring to Porter Novelli’s effective strategic leadership role in time of change, there should be stated that as the company activates in the public relations field, the change is a constant in its activity and for staying competitive and helping its customers to remain competitive through their PR activities, Porter Novelli needs to constantly adapt its strategic leadership approach to new situations.
Nevertheless, at Porter Novelli the strategic leaders need to follow the company’s business vision and its values. As such, in 2012, when the leadership team left the company, Porter Novelli encountered a changing situation, which, according to ones, represented the opportunity to also change the leadership style (Sudhaman, 2012). This meant also changing the company’s approach toward employees and to working atmosphere, which would have determined a shift from the company’s vision and values. These values, however, are entrenched in the organization’s spirit, and they include accountability, challenge and team work, which represent other constants in the company’s activity (Porter Novelli official website).
Evaluating the effectiveness of the talent management strategies
Studies agree that the current economic, social and technological changes require for a revision of the talent management strategies. With the economic crisis and the technological boom societies have changed. As such, technology development has contributed to the raise of the globalization and of a global economic space, which permitted for the installment of the global economic recession, but also for the identification of the high potential of finding global talents for competing more effectively on a global economic market.
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the talent management strategy, there must be followed a set of criteria, among which there should be included:
- Evaluating the degree of challenge and creativity – driven activities. This is a required action for attracting the desired talents. This point connects with the necessity of creating proper job description, specifying the required expertise and the desired outcomes from the selected candidate, which implies improving the recruiting process. For evaluating the effectiveness of the talent management strategies based on this criterion, an internal observation of the working environment would be the most suited tool and the observer would need to examine the Porter Novelli’s employees’ involvement in the challenging and creative activities. Another evaluation method would consist of analyzing the job descriptions of the company’s internal positions and comparing them with what the employees are actually doing on their day to day jobs.
- Evaluating the effectiveness of the training programs meant to retain talents. Retaining talents is a talent management strategy that should be applied after identifying and recruiting talents, by proposing a proactive working environment, where they are permanently challenged for learning new things. This includes developing training programs, but in order for them to answer the firms’ performance objectives, they need to be connected with the key skills and competencies that the companies identify as significant for their plans. This would lead to both a maximization of the employees’ skills and to the minimization of the training costs. Nevertheless, a method for evaluating the effectiveness of the company’s talent management strategy based on this criterion would imply collecting and comparing the performance results from before the training programs and after their implementation in Porter Novelli.
- Evaluating Porter Novelli’s organizational culture for identifying if the company is integrating talent management as one of its key values and within its business mission statement. This talent management strategy implicitly requires the adaptation of the corporate policies and procedures towards attaining the integration of the talent management procedures to the company’s mission statement, goals and vision and it should incorporate the support of the top management, which should be coordinated with the human resources and the internal communication teams’ efforts. As a method for evaluating the effectiveness of Porter Novelli’s talent management strategies based on this criterion, there would be required collecting more corporate data about the company’s business vision, mission, goals.
- Analyzing the HR methods for engaging and motivating Porter Novelli’s employees towards achieving improved results. This criterion should identify whether the company is implementing compensation and rewarding plans for stimulating employees to become better at their work, for improving their performances and becoming talents (Davis, 2007). This aspect is an effective strategy, which properly managed can act as a snowball, generating an increase in a firms’ talent pool, by proposing a model performance behavior and rewarding it, triggering like this similar behaviors from the individuals looking for similar rewards. There should be applied an internal audit for the HR policies of the company, with the purpose of identifying how, and if the existent HR procedures are consistent with the talent management strategies.
- Examining the company’s vision and values for determining whether Porter Novelli includes accountability, a talent management strategy, within its organizational culture. The strategy for effective talent management is to identify talents through strengthening employees’ accountability, assigning them measurable, clear and attainable goals, aligned with the company’s vision and values (“Talent Management Strategy”), which exists among the company’s organizational strategy. Therefore, this strategy is communicated as a core organizational value, but nevertheless, there would be required other method for examining the effectiveness of the talent management strategies based on this criterion, which should consist in examining the HR performance evaluation criteria, for identifying if the accountability is one of them, and if it is connected with talent management procedures.
Porter Novelli is committed to creating challenging working environment (Porter Novelli official website) and through this strategy the company both identify internal talents and attract new ones, in search of an engaging and stimulating work environment. For determining if the company applies the second and the fourth recommended criteria, there should be developed internal analyzes of the human resources procedures (in terms of rewards and compensation plans), as well as on the research and development procedures, since continuous learning is a developmental strategy. The third and the fifth criteria are visible in the company’s key values, as Porter Novelli is committed to implementing challenging activities for the employees and developing their sense of accountability.
Critique the Strategies
Although these criteria are found as valuable for evaluating the effectiveness of talent management strategies for various companies, in Porter Novelli’s case other talent management strategies might be more effective. Considering the company’s specific activity, the public relations in the new media space mostly, this activity domain implies being permanently up to date with the clients’ changes and advertising them towards their clients, using breakthrough technology and creative thought. In this context, a potential criterion for evaluating the effectiveness of the talent management strategy might be to examine the awareness of the company’s PR activity for its clients by analyzing the impact of the PR messages, transmitted through the new media that Porter Novelli uses.
Some of the above mentioned criteria recommended for evaluating Porter Novelli’s talent management strategy impose evaluation challenges. As such, the first criterion, evaluating the challenges and creativity – driven activities is difficult to be employed as an actual evaluation method, since it would mean measuring the challenges and the creative activities that the employees are receiving. Employees have distinct individualities and they perceive challenges and creativity differently, since these are subjective issues. The evaluation of the training programs, the second criterion for analyzing the efficiency of Porter Novelli talent management strategy, implies calculating the effectiveness of these programs for the company’s talent pool. This criterion suggests apriori that the talent management is generated by training programs. Nevertheless, the role of the training programs is to improve employees’ skills, which is not similar with identifying talents, although it may lead to this also, hence it is a viable criterion for evaluating the talent management strategy. The third and fifth criteria, referring to evaluating Porter Novelli’s organizational culture and its vision and values for identifying if the company has challenging activities, which also encourage the employees’ accountability and this makes these criteria viable for evaluating the company’s talent management strategy, but these criteria also suggest that talent management is driven by challenging activities and accountability. Nevertheless, talents are internal to individuals and they are discovered, unlike skills that are trained. Similarly, analyzing the HR methods and processes for identifying the motivation of the employees, they suggests that rewards, incentives and other forms of employee stimulation generate talents, but such HR processes determine employee to perform better, based on their expectation on receiving better rewards, they do not possess the technical potential of identifying talents.
Functional Expertise Components
The previous section determined that some of the proposed criteria for evaluating Porter Novelli’s talent management strategy are better directed towards improving the employees’ skills, which is not similar with managing talents. Nevertheless, the outcome of improving employees’ skills is also to increase the company’s performance. Therefore, the training and rewarding programs, as well as the company’s organizational culture represent functional expertise components (Schneier, Shaw, Bealty & Baird, 1995). The training functional expertise component is directed towards educating employees in order for them to become more accountable of their actions and to have the know-how on performing their activity (Schneier, Shaw, Bealty & Baird, 1995) and in this purpose there will be identified those employees who improved their accountability and their know how during the training processes, as they can contribute to the company’s improved performances. The rewarding is a functional expertise component that needs to be implemented for measuring both people results and business results (Silzer &Dowell, 2010) and this component should be implemented in Porter Novelli for identifying highly skilled individuals, who are contributing to the company’s results. For determining who and how the individual employees are contributing to the company’s performances, there need to be evaluated their performances through HR processes. Regarding the organizational values, it represents a functional expertise component of the strategy, as it leads to helping the company to communicate the key values desired from its employees and to identifying the employees who actually adhere to its values in their daily activity, contributing like this to the company’s performance objectives.
Adair, J. (2010) Effective strategic leadership. London, Pan Books.
Porter Novelli official website (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.porternovelli.com/about/who-we-are/.
Schneier, C.E, Shaw, D.G, Beatty, R.W. & Baird, L.S. (1995) Performance measurement, management and appraisal sourcebook. Massachusetts: Human Resource Development Press, Inc.
Silzer, R. & Dwell, B.E. (2010) Strategy-driven talent management: a leadership imperative. .: San Francisco, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Sudhman, A. (2012) Analysis: can a change in leadership help Porter Novelli prosper?
Talent management strategy to create a higher-performing workforce. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.successfactors.com/en_us/lp/articles/strategic-talent-management-training.html.