How does an organization improve its internal talent mobility?
At Ingersoll Rand, a world leader in creating comfortable, sustainable and efficient environments, it’s about developing “inspirational, courageous leaders with the skills to achieve results through teamwork and collaboration” while also serving as coaches who “help employees improve their skills and competencies while serving as role models for the personal behaviors that underpin a winning culture.”
The keys to a sustainable culture that’s built around strong workplace development are things like career pathing, skill assessment, and creating a job and career framework for every employee. Mike Martin, Ingersoll Rand’s Talent Leader for North America, talked about this during a Q&A session with HR technology analyst Josh Bersin at last Fall’s FuelX Career Experience Conference in New York.
Mike Martin describes how “in the time we have been working with Fuel50 we have seen internal talent mobility grow so that 55% of roles are filled internally, compared with the 35% when we started out 3 years ago on this journey. We also see that the majority of movement is now at the lateral level, rather than vertical as it was three years ago. These are significant gains for us, along with the improvements in engagement, particularly around career visibility and leader conversations.”
Driving Better Developmental Planning
Josh Bersin: What made you bring Fuel50 in? Why did you do it and how have you used it?
Mike Martin: For Ingersoll Rand, the driver was employee engagement. There was a big focus on that starting back in 2012 … And in the survey results for 2012, we saw one of the areas was development. It’s not surprising. A lot of companies I’ve been with … it’s right up there with, “Are you fairly paid for what you do?” But that being said, we knew that it was one of the lower rated items that we wanted to see.
Josh Bersin: Why do you think it was low?
Mike Martin: Part of it was development planning, and it was more of an optional thing. It also wasn’t something that we were requiring … and some managers were probably better at driving those conversations than others. So, we took a multi-pronged approach. One of the things we started to look at, even back in 2012, was, “Hey, we need to start to talk about doing development for everyone.”
We started out having it for our high-potential employees, and we said, “Every high-potential needs to have a development plan.” Then the next year we said, “All salaried employees need to have a development plan — and a discussion.” So it wasn’t just about having a plan; you also had to have the discussion. That is something we’ve done since 2013, and that has really helped us to say, “This is what we do.”
We also tweak things. It’s what we call development planning season. We put it on the calendar so it’s part of the routine, and people understand what needs to happen. March is when you need to have your plan put together, and April is when you have the discussion with your manager. But as we talked to managers as we rolled those things out (back then), they’re saying “Hey, this is great, but I don’t feel like I’m always the best prepared. I don’t feel like I have any answers for employees because they asked me, ‘well, what should I do? What can I do?”
Josh Bersin: How is the manager supposed to know?
Mike Martin: Exactly! And all the other things, right? We ask a lot of managers, we really do. We put a lot on their plate.
“Remodeling” Ingersoll Rand’s Career Framework
Mike Martin: So we started to look into the marketplace and said, “Hey, what’s out there?” And we certainly knew that there were classes and programs and the traditional things we had offered before, but the limitations of that were “When is it going to be at your site? When is it going to be available?” A lot of things can really inhibit getting it rolled out on a mass scale. That’s when I started looking at the marketplace, trying to figure out kind of what tools were available 24/7 that managers could actually get some good results and reports that they could use.
But there really wasn’t a ton of them out there. And then I was at a conference in the spring of 2014 and I ran into Fuel50. I started talking to them … and then talking to them some more. That led to another conversation, I brought some of our senior HR leaders in, and Fuel50 did a demo for us. We said, “This is intriguing.” That led to a pilot in 2015.
Josh Bersin: Did you already have career paths mapped out?
Mike Martin: Yeah, it existed … and some functions were better than others, but I wouldn’t say it was something that was universally known and that everybody was leveraging. So that was something that we certainly needed to work on. The pilot that we did with Fuel50 was really about working with our engineering and procurement groups to get them to use the tool and to see how it helped them with their development.
We ended up rolling it out to the entire company because it was part of a larger plan, and getting to your point about career paths, part of a larger program called Career Progress. Basically, our whole career framework got remodeled, so to speak.
We went from the basic job creating framework, from thousands of role descriptions, and we got it down to around 800. And there was a lot of work put into each one of those roles; things like “What were the roles that you could move into from the role you were in?” and “What are the roles that you could move out to?” Each function (in the company) spent a lot of time putting together what those were. It was really complicated.
Josh Bersin: Sounds like a whole corporate-wide focus.
Mike Martin: It was. The entire HR organization and all the functions were really involved in it. You know, for every role there’s a success profile and all those success profiles sit in Fuel50 in what we call micro-navigators. That’s where people can go in and they can navigate by function. If I want to look at this role at this band level, I can basically see what the core competencies are and what the skill level is. Then you understand — here’s the required skill level. You can assess yourself and your manager can assess you on where you’re at from that skill perspective. It also has all the information about movement, where you can go to and move from. That’s a core part of it.
On the discussion side, it’s all about those up-front assessments, whether it’s the “My Values” tool with all of the Fuel50 assessments, or the report that comes out of it. And that’s valuable because…
Josh Bersin: It’s using all of those capabilities.
Mike Martin: Yeah, we are. That’s really where to promote the manager and the employee perspective. A lot of times managers would think that they knew the employee, that they knew what was expected, or what they wanted, or what they were interested in. And I think what happened is that sometimes, these reports validate what they thought, and sometimes, they see some things they hadn’t thought of before.
That’s really helped to drive some better conversations, because even within the report, it actually prompts people with questions — things like “Hey, you may want to ask the employee about this, and you want to ask him about that.” Or for the employee: “Hey, you need me to talk to your manager about this.” It’s basically priming the pump. I think people want to do the right thing … but sometimes, they just don’t feel like they have the time.
Josh Bersin: So in Ingersoll Rand, it’s still very much a manager-driven process. Is Fuel50 facilitating and helping managers have these career conversations?
Mike Martin: I think you kind of touched on that before — it’s still definitely employee-owned — but I also think it’s manager-enabled. In fact, that’s our slogan: “Employee-owned, manager-enabled.” Fuel50 has a great leader coaching portal along with the employee career path enablement.
Josh Bersin: That’s because you probably started by empowering managers and then realized later that you can make it more employee driven.
Mike Martin: Yeah, I think we started out with an expectation. I think early on we talked about development plans and said, “Hey managers, you need to have discussions with each your employees.“
Business imperatives and key outcomes
Josh Bersin: That’s a good story. I don’t know if that’s the right evolution now, but it certainly is where most companies have come from. “How do we teach our managers how to do this?” And then it’s like, “Well, maybe the manager shouldn’t be doing it. Maybe the employees should be doing it!“
Mike Martin: That’s what we definitely say. It’s employee-owned, and then the company’s part is enabling it. That’s part of what we see … and micro-navigators are really helping.
Josh Bersin: So the way it works now, if I go in there and I find the role that I’m interested in, and there’s a success profile, there are some skills, but what if I’m not sure if I have those skills? What happens?
Mike Martin: If you’re not sure if you have those skills … we’ve got functionality in Fuel50 where you could ask your manager or ask some peers, or maybe even a coach or a mentor that you have, for help.
Josh Bersin: Oh, so there’s information in there with resources where you can go?
Mike Martin: Yes, people could actually get feedback on those skills, and then it would probably be a conversation with the manager to say, “Hey, here are some skills that were indicated that I still need to work on,” or, “You’ve given me feedback that I’ve got a gap here.” Then they can start to talk about what they can do. I know one of the things that we’re looking at, but we haven’t implemented yet with Fuel50, is the “gigs” functionality that we’re really excited about, because you know, we definitely talk about the 70-20-10 model.
And the 70 being, “Here are the experiences you could get.” The challenge is that we spend a lot of time on the 20 and 10 in terms of the work that we do internally. So, I think it was a great opportunity there to start to identify and have people raise their hand and say, “Hey, I’m interested in learning these skills and then matching those with opportunities within the company.” And it starts to get back to this talent marketplace kind of stuff.
Josh Bersin: So the opportunities that are in the system now, are they open jobs?
Mike Martin: No, it’s about roles. They can see what the roles are – it is more strategic and encompassing rather than just focusing on open vacancies. The next step for us is to integrate with our talent acquisition system so that you could say, “OK, here’s this role,” and then you’ll be able to click a link … and then you can actually see the open positions. We know Fuel50 do this for most other clients.
So that’s next, because the way we look at it, it’s almost like there’s a micro-navigator 2.0. We’re at that point, especially given what’s going on with our company right now, that we’ll be looking at it next.”
“In the time we have been working with Fuel50 we have seen internal talent mobility grow so that 55% of roles are filled internally, compared with the 35% when we started out 3 years ago on this journey. We also see that the majority of movement is now at the lateral level, rather than vertical as it was three years ago. These are significant gains for us, along with the improvements in engagement, particularly around career visibility and leader conversations.”