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Perhaps Your Workers Are Entitled to New Titles

A promotion can do a lot to make up for the longer hours and extra duties that many workers have wrestled with in the past couple of years. But firms often fail to see where employees who are learning on the job might fit into new roles.

December 16, 2011
Related Topics: Talent Management(2), Recognition, Work/Life Balance, Values, Organizational Culture, Performance Management, Employee Engagement, Corporate Culture, Performance Appraisals, Retention, Strategic Planning, Talent Management, Workplace Culture

Firms hoping to avoid the employee burnout that can come from increased work duties may want to consider ramping up their hiring-from-within efforts.

Staff promotions can do a lot to make up for the longer hours and extra duties that many workers have been wrestling with in the past couple of years, says Ashley Stirrup, vice president of product marketing for human resources software provider Taleo Corp. But firms often fail to see where employees who are learning on the job might fit into a new role.

“Many organizations aren’t very good at recognizing when they have developed skills in their employees,” Stirrup says.

Employees are learning these skills thanks partly to a trend of work intensification in recent years. Many companies, uncertain about how much to hire during the fragile recovery, are expecting more out of their existing workforce. But the added duties are straining workers to the breaking point and threaten to hurt companies and their reputations as well.

In a recent Workforce Management survey of 713 HR professionals, 80 percent of respondents said that their organizations had increased workloads compared with before the recession. Most of those seeing extra duties reported negative effects on employees, such as decreased engagement, higher turnover and lower productivity.

Talent management software vendors such as Taleo say their products can ease these problems by helping companies to make internal hires. The tools are designed to do such things as simplify succession planning, allow organizations to catalog the skills of employees and improve match-making between job openings and existing talent.

Technology services provider CDW, for example, uses software from Taleo to track its roughly 6,400 employees’ goals, competencies and education. The system also allows the Vernon Hills, Illinois-based company to create “maps” of the organization with descriptions of jobs that are published for employees to see.

“Because every co-worker’s journey is unique, these maps allow them to create and follow their own path for development and career growth,” says Tess Reinhard, CDW’s senior director of organizational capability.

Armed with talent management software, CDW has had a strong record of internal hiring during the past two years: 70 percent of positions at the supervisor level and above were filled by promotions.

This hire-from-within culture has helped CDW avoid the morale hit that many organizations have suffered in recent years. While many companies saw declines in employee engagement in 2008 and 2010, CDW’s engagement scores held steady, Reinhard says.

To read more about the 'work-more economy,' click here.

Ed Frauenheim is Workforce Management's senior editor. To comment, email

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