What with SAP’s recent purchase of Success Factors and Oracle’s buying Taleo, you might think the talent management needs of American business are pretty much all locked down. Don’t bet on it. One significant player still remains independent: Halogen. Based out of Canada, this full-spectrum talent management provider specializes in helping organizations with 500 to 2000 employees. Although 85% of their clients are based in the U.S., the firm is still a well-kept secret to most mid-sized firms who could benefit from its services. I recently had the chance to interview Paul Loucks, CEO of Halogen about his firm and its future:
Dr. Bob: With estimates of 54-86% of employees stating they plan to change jobs as the economy improves, it’s increasingly critical for companies to have a strategy for holding on to its talent, yet more than 50% of executives don’t feel their company has a good plan for doing this and 90% of CEOs rank retaining talent as a top priority for Human Resources. Why this sudden shift in importance?
Paul Loucks: Of course, people are any organization’s most valuable resource and personnel costs average over 53% of gross margin for most any company today, but in our recent recessionary times, companies have often tended to focus more on short-term operational aspects of their business and worried less about their people. That focus has changed as the loss of talent has become more pronounced. In just the last 12 months, 30% of high potential employees have changed jobs and that number is likely to increase as the economy improves. Those most likely to leave are the individuals most organizations most need to keep. The best companies have responded by being more proactive about managing and retaining their talent.
Dr. Bob: What separates you from the other players in the talent management space?
Paul Loucks: Our focus on Customer Intimacy and Performance. It’s at the core of our business philosophy and practice and it’s what we’re best at helping our clients achieve as well. Every employee needs to have a “line of sight” to how their job relates to the mission of the organization and if you make that clear to them through the goals, tracking and feedback they are given, they will respond with greater pride and excitement about working for your organization. Our mission is to help every one of our clients be extraordinary places to work where employees feel that what they do on a daily basis is important work and that they are part of something larger than themselves. That’s why we’re the only talent management firm that offers our clients a full money-back guarantee. We’re not happy unless our clients are delighted with the work we have done and are doing for them.
Dr. Bob: Most managers I work today with feel shorthanded and overwhelmed. Doesn’t adding additional performance management expectations and responsibilities to their jobs make matters worse?
Paul Loucks: Not at all. Our system provides help (reminders, suggestions, tools, training, etc.) at every step of the process to make it easier to be a great manager, not a burden to do so. Suddenly managers can have time to be more proactive with their people, not just reactive around the problems and mistakes that are made.
Dr. Bob: Most service providers prefer to work with the executive suite, yet it seems your firm’s preference is to work with Human Resources. Why is that?
Paul Loucks: Our goal is to be partners with HR, in fact, ideally we want to set them up to be self-sufficient in their ability to use our talent management system. We don’t want them to have to come to us every time they have a request or change to make. We’d prefer them to be able to manage the system themselves and as they do so, their confidence and ownership of our software applications becomes greater so that they get more value out of our solution.
Dr. Bob: What’s the hardest part in getting an organization to change?
Paul Loucks: I think it’s getting people to see the “other side,” that is, the benefits and power of having a talent management system that can truly drive performance for their organization. Our partners are often concerned that they’ll have to be the resident expert about all things performance related when the truth of the matter is the software system does all the work. We work closely with each client the entire way until our system truly becomes their system.
—Dr Bob Nelson
ps: For more information about Halogen, please visit www.halogensoftware.com.
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