Strategic Human Capital Insights

Joanne Flynn

Joanne T. Flynn heads up the human capital advisory group, Phoenix Strategic Performance, Inc. Previously, she was a Managing Director with Phoenix Group International and was Vice President / Director of Global Learning and Development at Goldman, Sachs for nine years. Joanne works with organizations as they face global growth and competitive challenges. She works with her clients to be both externally focused and internally responsive. With her unique background, she aligns competitive strategic efforts with related internal organizational leadership challenges. With the benefit of her career-long focus, Joanne contributes the unique insight of aligning strategy to internal organizational structure and process. She focuses on human capital relative to strategic initiatives, accelerated business growth, value creation, and business development. Joanne holds a Master of Arts degree in Business Management from the University of Oklahoma. In addition, she holds a double degree major in History and German from St. Elizabeth University, as well as certificates from a variety of leading universities and professional training and development organizations. Joanne has recently published her latest book, Accelerating Business Success, The Human Asset Management Strategy.
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Recent Posts

Is Your IT Team Value Creators, Value Sustainers or Value Eroders?

Posted by Joanne Flynn


Every human asset action has an equal and opposite human asset reaction
.


At a recent Information Management forum, I presented this topic to senior IT leaders and here is a summary of the presentation topics.

Today’s IT Operating Context

According to Fortune’s Global Forum, we are now all technology companies. Companies with the best IT strategy can emerge as corporate winners. We know that the best corporate strategy can fail at implementation without a robust IT strategy supporting it. At the core of a robust IT strategy are the operating challenges of today’s human capital.

If people really are our most important asset, what does this truly mean around how we think and act? Let’s elevate the organizational narrative from Human Capital Management to the complex dynamics of Human Asset Management. It’s time to take a new approach to human asset management strategy including:

  • Organizational Risk Management Assessment
    • Value Creation and Continual Transformation
    • Growth Acceleration and Competitive Advantage
  • Challenges of Technology: IT – Business Alignment Model©
  • Role and Competency Job Benchmarking Against the Business Strategy
  • Asset-based Approach© to IT Human Capital Assessment and Gap Analysis
  • Organizational Impact Assessment
  • Future-focused IT Workforce / Human Asset Planning
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Topics: Information Technology, Human Asset Management

"Spanning Generations As We Journey Ahead," from The Female Factor

Posted by Joanne Flynn

Joanne Flynn, Managing Director and Founder of Phoenix Strategic Performance, recently co-authored the book, “The Female Factor: A Confidence Guide for Women.” Her 3-part chapter of the book entitled, “Spanning Generations as We Journey Ahead,” focuses on the issues of women in the workforce over the past 50 years, looking at what has changed, what has not, and what women can do to move their careers forward.

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Topics: Women in Business, Human Asset Management

You Manage Your Systems Risk, But Do You Manage Your Human Asset Risk?

Posted by Joanne Flynn


Managing risk is a fact of business in the 21st century. Managing risk in the Information Technology world is something that is factored into every decision we make. The question for the IT professional: Are you managing all your risk? "Sure" you answer, "I have high availability systems, I do incremental and full backups, I keep my security measures current, and I have a disaster recovery plan that I exercise annually". There is another dimension to the risk equation - the human assets that keep the IT world running. Let’s look at some of these...

Are Your Systems Supported?

When we look at the various software applications used in business today, one of the key factors we assess is the version of the software we’re using. Are we on the current release? One, two or more versions behind? Cloud-based applications have mitigated this issue to some extent and made the process of going to and staying on the current release somewhat less painful.  Have you taken a step back and looked at the people supporting those systems? Are they “current”? It’s just as critical to keep you staff, your human assets, as current in the technology as your software assets. We tend to hire people for today - with a skill set that satisfies a need at this moment in time. We are not always focused on developing those skills to keep pace with the changing needs of the organization. Many leaders have the expectation that the employee will work to become knowledgeable and current on their own. While some may, others won't. Either way, self-governed development does not ensure that the skills the organization needs will be available on demand. Just as we make sure our applications and systems are on the current version, we need to make sure the people supporting them maintain the current competencies needed for optimal performance and growth.

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Topics: Human Asset Management

Human Asset Management Strategy (HAMS): The Culture of Relevance

Posted by Joanne Flynn

To actively embed a robust Human Asset Management Strategy (HAMS) process into your organization, the organizational culture must reinforce the operating construct of the HAMS approach. One of the foundational norms is a culture of relevance which is also critical to a Human Asset Management Strategy. What does that mean? 

We continually hear from our clients that they need dynamic thinkers who are intellectually curious from both a functional and enterprise perspective. They need employees who employ an integrated thinking approach regarding:

  • their roles and their current and future skill / knowledge requirements (employability)
  • their organization and their impact on the organization today and tomorrow
  • the driving and changing forces of the outside world and that impact on their organization and their roles


The New Operating Context for a Robust Human Asset Management Strategy: 
The Relevance Factor

If the organization is operating in a dynamic environment, that environment must drive the role and competency benchmarks used based on the new operating paradigm. There is no room for static thinking.

Change Environments ARE Fundamentally different from Business as Usual (BAU) Environments


Just because an employee is good at a role within a more static, business-as-usual environment, doesn’t automatically mean the employee will be good in a more dynamic role. This is a foundational flaw that assumes the world of work has not changed and, of course, all employees can adapt because they are smart and ‘just can’. One knowledge and skill set does not automatically transfer to another.

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Topics: Human Asset Management

The Organizational Impact of the Headcount & Cost-Cutting Mentality

Posted by Joanne Flynn


Today, as we review our organizations in response to our current changing operating environment, every employee in your organization must operate at the highest level. It is a strategic imperative to critically and objectively review your people from a Human Asset Management Strategy perspective. If you are truly thinking about creating a robust Human Asset Management Strategy, then the concept of headcount and cost-cutting in the name of rightsizing represents a polar opposite approach to viewing people as assets.


Why?

When we talk about headcount, we are looking at a static numbers game at best, and a leadership and organizational ‘cop out’ at worst. Have you ever worked for a company that reduced its headcount by 10%? We’ve all been there. Here are a few scenarios that happen in organizations when we embark on the headcount/cost-cutting game:

Scenario 1: The highly accepted but strategically flawed last in first out (LIFO) test.

We somehow justify that longevity is a rational basis to keep people. That process is most often used by people who have longevity in the organization. These people may be past their human asset ‘sell-by date’ for your company, but that is often overlooked.

Risk Impact: LIFO may be the worst way of dealing with headcount issues. The LIFO accounting concept can have long-term human asset management consequences.

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Topics: Human Asset Management

Human Asset Strategy: Risk Management & Complex Consequence Analysis

Posted by Joanne Flynn

 

Today, the new catchphrase to describe an organization's people is human capital. Over the years, the term human capital has been used to describe the people of the organization to include terms like employees, personnel, and talent. While the terms we use have become more descriptive and trendy has anything behind those terms really changed over the years? Or underneath it all, do the structures, processes, and mindset about employees still reflect an old 'head count' mentality?

While the latest terminology, human capital, begins to elevate the topic of employees, we should be using the term "human assets" to align with the statement "that people are our most important asset." If we truly embrace that concept, we must turn our human resource structures upside down and think about people the same way we do the organization's other assets. Unless we embark on the Human Asset Management journey, the terms we use are empty.

In earlier blogs, I have talked about Human Asset Management regarding the following topics:

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Topics: Human Asset Management

There’s No Organizational Replacement for Quality Leadership

Posted by Joanne Flynn


This is the fourth blog in our Human Asset Management series. To view the prior blogs,
click here.

Is Your Current Leadership Team Up to the Human Asset Management Task?


The topic of human capital is everywhere today but how do organizations implement a robust human capital structure and culture, one that goes from talk to action? In my previous blogs, I discussed moving the narrative about human capital to the next level – human asset management. If we do that, we think about employees and, more importantly, managing employees like the dynamic and robust assets they can be. We need to think about employees relative to peak performance and productivity, value creation and relevant and future-focused skills and knowledge upskilling. As leaders, we need to view our employees as continually appreciating assets. This is good for both the employee and the organization.

Human asset management cannot exist organizationally without the critical function called leadership.  Only leadership can focus on how employees are upskilled and ready to meet the organization’s workforce challenges and demands of today and tomorrow.

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Topics: Human Asset Management

Strategic HR: The Advocate of Human Asset Management

Posted by Joanne Flynn


This is the third blog in our Human Asset Management series. To view the first two blogs,
click here.

If people are your most important asset, what is the impact of HR in your organization?   

Integral to the topic of Human Asset Management is an honest organizational evaluation of the ‘keeper of human capital’, the human resources department. If human capital is truly going to be elevated to the level of human asset management, an organization needs a highly-regarded HR department driving the strategic discussion of people. Embedded in HR’s responsibilities are:

  • Human Asset Risk Management assessing if:
    • employee costs equal required productivity
    • employees are value creators, value sustainers or value eroders
    • employee skills are:
      • appreciating and pacing with strategic initiatives
      • stagnant and maintaining current levels but not growth levels
      • depreciating and creating a negative drag on performance, productivity and profitability
  • Human Asset Complex Consequence Analysis focusing on:
    • near-term, mid-term and long-term time horizons
    • near-term – long-term human capital bench strength resulting in business resiliency
    • near-term – long-term impact on organizational agility – the ability to deploy relevantly-skilled people, on demand
  • Human Asset Impact Analysis on:
    • Competitive Advantage
    • Market Sustainability
    • Growth Acceleration


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Topics: Human Asset Management

An Innovative & Relevance-Based Approach to Human Asset Management

Posted by Joanne Flynn

 

What is Human Asset Management? If we say that people are our most important asset, we need to think about them as any other organizational asset, which is a good thing. We give considerable thought to capital equipment and perform a great deal of due diligence when we both purchase and maintain that capital equipment. Do we put that much effort into hiring and developing our human assets? Let’s compare and contrast a piece of capital equipment diligence relative to human asset management.

Here’s how companies often evaluate the decision to purchase and maintain a valued piece of capital equipment compared to how companies manage and retain human assets:



 

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Topics: Human Asset Management

Rethink, Renew & Refresh Your Human Asset Management Strategy in 2017

Posted by Joanne Flynn

If you say people are your most important asset, it may be time to rethink what that really means to your organization.  How do your current human assets perform relative to your organization’s requirements for growth, competitive positioning, transformation and business agility - the ability to deploy human assets on demand?  All these strategic business issues require complex, future-focused approaches that replace outdated, underperforming methods.

If the measure of success for every company is the realization of maximum business value based on value creation, then every human asset should be a value creator.

The Challenge:

Replace short-term, cost-center focused people strategies with a well-considered, long-term, human asset management strategy.  If people are assets, they must be treated like any other organizational asset.

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Topics: Human Asset Management

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