Strategic Human Capital Insights

Joanne Flynn

In 2014, Joanne Flynn founded Phoenix Strategic Performance, a strategic human capital advisory firm. Prior to this, Joanne was Vice President at Goldman Sachs for 10 years responsible for global learning and development. She then led the consulting practice of Phoenix Group International, a consulting firm specializing in global financial service. Joanne is now taking best practices from the people-intensive financial services industry and adapting those best practices to startup and growth businesses. She is a thought leader in the areas of strategic organizational alignment, organizational agility, human capital gap analysis, leadership challenges for the new workplace and transformation leadership.
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Recent Posts

Why Job Descriptions Should be at the Center of Your Organization

Posted by Joanne Flynn

5/16/19 2:00 PM


HUMAN ASSET MANAGEMENT STRATEGY AND THE CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT LOOP


Why do organizations invest time and effort into continuous process improvement and stop there? When the responsibility for continuous process improvement is driven by people, shouldn’t there also be an aligned Human Asset Continuous Improvement Loop for the people who drive the process?

 

How often do the following questions come up?

  • Why aren’t my people coming up with solutions to problems they encounter?
  • Why can’t employees see beyond the next step?
  • Why isn’t the quality control / assurance function as proactive as it should be?
  • What has happened to the disappearing skills of:
    • Trend Spotting?
    • Problem Identification?
    • Problem Solving?
    • Critical Thinking?
  • Why aren’t people planning, recommending and thinking about business impact analysis?
Read More

Topics: Human Resources, Organizational Alignment, human asset management strategy

Is Your Quality Assurance up to the Change Challenge?

Posted by Joanne Flynn

3/27/19 1:30 PM


Are you ready to take an organizational Quality Assurance diagnostic?


As organizations move through continual change, the need to stay up-to-date and relevant is now a strategic imperative.  Nowhere in the organization is this more relevant than to a Quality Assurance Department whose function it is to maintain quality, always, despite the change swirling around it.  The challenge for managing quality assurance in a changing workplace is analogous to changing the tires on a car while the car is traveling at 60 miles per hour.  As difficult as it may seem, the goal is to always maintain Quality Assurance.

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Topics: human capital, human asset management, human asset management strategy, quality, quality assurance

Do You Really Need an Employee Handbook?

Posted by Joanne Flynn

1/23/19 10:00 AM

It may be underestimated, but it is certainly strategic!

This question predictably comes up when I speak with company management, often because the Employee Handbook is seen as moderately useful but not on the top of management’s priority list. 

Why’s that? Because often the Employee Handbook:

  • Isn’t current
  • Doesn’t cover the full range of issues
  • Isn’t specific enough to be meaningful
  • Isn’t given to new employees
  • Isn’t used by management


However, one thing is for certain, when something goes wrong in an organization, the following happens:

  • From the manager’s perspective: Managers look to the Employee Handbook for guidance and protection from liability.

  • From the employee's perspective: Employees look to the Employee Handbook for guidance, protection from liability or loopholes created by omission or ambiguity.
Read More

Topics: Change Management, Leadership, human capital, human asset management, human asset management strategy

7 Steps to Help Transform Your Organization into a Continuous Employee Improvement Organization

Posted by Joanne Flynn

10/30/18 11:00 AM

Take the Job Description, Performance Review and Development Plan Challenge

It’s Performance Review time for many organizations. However, with the rate of change accelerating and the rate of skills / knowledge obsolescence increasing faster than ever, can you really only review performance once or twice per year?  As managers, how can you even justify that ancient practice?  Today, continuous performance improvement has replaced the time-honored, annual Performance Review process so employees continue to be appreciating human assets that are always aligned with corporate strategy and goals.  It may seem like an onerous, time-consuming process, but is it really?  When viewed through the lens of great management best practices, let’s shift the performance review paradigm to a continuous improvement paradigm where we treat our employees, our human assets, the same way we look at continuous improvement for processes.  Why would we continuously improve processes and not continuously improve people? 

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Topics: Organizational Alignment, human asset management, performance management

Is Being Loyal to an Employee a Good Thing?

Posted by Joanne Flynn

10/10/18 10:30 AM


Both employee and manager loyalty has always been considered a good thing. So what’s changed? When does being loyal long-term, at all costs, go from a virtue to a liability?

The concept of "change" has changed everything. When companies grew at normal rates, and change was incremental and predictable, manager and employee loyalty could keep pace with each other and with the direction of the organization. Now, however, when organizations are growing fast and adapting to new technology, new processes and methods, increased customer demands, and additional new employees, the predictable static environment that many employees are comfortable with, have morphed into chaotic, change-driven, unpredictable frontiers where the old rules and controls have evaporated. Increasing, the latter describes today’s work reality. 

Here are some important questions to consider when thinking about manager loyalty:

  • What does it mean for the employee who is attached to the old rules and controls and is having real issues adapting to the new work reality? 
  • What does it mean for new employees who don’t know the old rules and controls and don’t really need to work under those constraints since that work environment has shifted?
  • What does it mean for the manager who must manage these two conflicting and competing employee needs?
Read More

Topics: Change Management, Leadership, human capital, human asset management, human asset management strategy

4 Tips for Technology Leaders to Deliver Value to the C-Suite

Posted by Joanne Flynn

8/30/18 9:00 AM

Members of the C-suite are becoming more and more aware of how critical information technology is to an organization.

In the tech industry, C-level leaders have different levels of education and work experience. Over half of the tech leaders in the hardware, software development and other online businesses have a bachelor's degree, while less than 40 percent in each of these disciplines have a master’s degree and less than 12 percent have a PhD. A recent JWC partners’ survey, as it relates to information technology, found that C-suite leaders are the most concerned with the following: cyber security, digital disruption, and innovative technology advances.


Technology leaders are now making more appearances before the C-suite to discuss the company's IT strategy and technology direction. For any technology leader, delivering insight and intelligence to help C-suite leaders better understand the value for their IT investment and IT team is imperative, but this is unfortunately easier said than done. If you are looking to deliver value to the C-Suite at your organization, here are 4 tips to help you get started:

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Topics: Information technology, IT

How Job Descriptions Can 'Bullet Proof' Your Organization

Posted by Joanne Flynn

8/2/18 9:45 AM


Take Up the Job Description Challenge
Can a simple and often overlooked job description really ‘bullet proof’ your organization? If job descriptions are used strategically to align the organizational goals and results with the individual efforts of the employees, they should. In order to do this, you need to review the following Job Description Checklist to assess:

Job Description Checklist

  • Are your current job descriptions really as robust and strategically focused as they need to be?
  • Do your employees and you have a clear understanding of their jobs and their accountability at a detailed level?
  • Does your organization have a robust and honest employee assessment process driven by the detailed job description? The assessment process should be completely aligned to the job description and used accordingly.  If not, what are you assessing employees against?
  • Is your organization committed to manage and monitor the job description, assessment and employee development process to ensure all efforts are aligned, optimal and focused on strategic initiatives?
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Topics: human asset management, human asset management strategy, performance management

Are You Ready to Take the Organization Chart Challenge?

Posted by Joanne Flynn

6/9/18 10:00 AM


Have you ever thought, heard or said the following?

  • Organization charts aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on?
  • Here is the organization chart, but, let me tell you how it really works!
  • Why do we need organization charts anyway – they only reinforce bureaucracy which is counterproductive?
  • We can’t figure out how to put together an organization chart that makes any sense

 

Why Should We Even Bother?
Why do organizations spend so much time putting organization charts together and why do they rarely display how the organization really works?  Because we desperately need to rationalize how the organization works, recognize how work gets done and define how accountability is managed.  Without a visual depiction or starting point, we are disorganized around chaos where people are busy (but busy doing what and for whom?) and where accountability is elusive because no one really knows who is responsible.  This, in fact, describes a state of disorganized chaos which is hardly an efficient and effective way to run a business and is frustrating for everyone involved, both managers and employees.

Read More

Topics: Leadership, Organizational Effectiveness, Organizational Alignment

Why Ignoring the ‘Busyness Challenge’ Could Ruin Your Vacation

Posted by Joanne Flynn

5/12/18 10:00 AM

As managers, facing the vacation season always proves challenging. When the first person approaches you with the request to take off a day or two for a long weekend, or another employee is planning a one or two-week family vacation, the stress of ‘how is the work going to get done’ begins. 

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Topics: human asset management, performance management

Human Asset Management Strategy: A New Approach

Posted by Joanne Flynn

1/27/18 10:00 AM


A critical question for today’s leadership: Are your employees appreciating in value, maintaining their value, or declining in value?

Businesses consistently refer to employees as “their most valuable assets”. However, when we look at the way organizations view employees, many fail to deliver on that mantra. Employee management continues to be based on models developed in the late 20th century. Along with outdated employee management models, we see Human Resources struggle to transition from an organizational operations, support and compliance role to a true strategic partner role.

In that role, Human Resources must drive Human Asset Management Strategy (HAMS) to encourage leaders to shift their approach to the key element of success - employees.

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Topics: human capital, human asset management, human asset management strategy

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