When Schneider Electric needs to find new leaders, the human resources department dips into its database of high-potential employees.
The records contain the results from the company’s annual human resources review, which identifies the most promising individuals among its 4,000 managers in the United States and the rest of North America. The review is a multi-step process that begins with the company’s 10 functional areas, such as sales, legal, marketing and information technology.
"For each function, we want to know what competencies each area has today and what gaps in talent have to be filled in the next four to five years," says Rita Danker, Schneider’s vice president of organizational development and human resources.
"Looking to the future, that lets us know if we need to recruit talent or develop it in-house."
In individual reviews, managers sit down with their bosses to discuss how they’re meeting their personal performance goals. The performance review goes into both the managers’ technical competency and their leadership skills, such as communication ability and talent management.
All of the managers’ bosses then make a presentation to their supervisor and managerial peers about the leadership potential of their employees.
Danker, for instance, has eight direct reports. She, her boss and her peers spend a couple of days making these presentations and discussing where the future leaders will come from and what additional training or expertise they need to fulfill their potential.
The review begins in April, and by June final presentations are sent to the CEO, who spends two days with the most senior executives talking about which individuals they view as future leaders. The results of the annual review are kept in a database, which the human resources department uses when important new positions, such as leading incubator-project teams, open up. —J.M.
Workforce Management, November 2004, p. 66 -- Subscribe Now!