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Investing in Your Future as an HR Leader
Research Publications Education
Copyright 2005 by the SHRM Foundation
All rights reserved. No part of this production may be reproduced or transmitted without permission from the SHRM Foundation.
Featuring WAYNE CASCIO, PH.D.
The SHRM Foundation is pleased to present Fueling the Talent Engine – Finding and Keeping High Performers, a DVD case study and discussion guide about how an integrated talent-management strategy helps to provide a competitive edge in today’s business environment. The focus of this case study is Yahoo! Inc., a leading provider of Internet tools, services, and marketing solutions for businesses in the United States and internationally.
Fueling the Talent Engine – Finding and Keeping High Performers builds on the SHRM Foundation’s critically acclaimed HR Role Models and HR in Alignment videos about what it means for HR to be a strategic business leader, and how HR strategy can be aligned with general business strategy. More than 150 colleges and universities are now using these videos in their undergraduate, graduate and executive education programs. In addition, hundreds of SHRM chapters and companies are successfully using them to share the wisdom, insights, and examples of outstanding HR leaders and their practices in organizations today.
The SHRM Foundation deeply appreciates the support of Yahoo! Inc. executives and staff who gave so generously of their time to take part in this educational DVD. We extend special thanks to Heidi Burgett and Libby Sartain from Yahoo!, to Joe Coppoletta and Carlo Gustaff, whose outstanding direction and film editing brought this DVD to life, and to Myles Throop, who prepared this discussion guide.
Finally Fueling the Talent Engine - Finding and Keeping High Performers would not have happened without the inspiration, creativity and hands-on leadership of Wayne Cascio, Ph.D.
UNDERSTANDING THE TALENT- STRATEGY FRAMEWORK……………… 12
YAHOO! CASE STUDY………………………………………………………………. 16
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS…………………………………………………………... 21
FIVE LESSONS FOR ANY ORGANIZATION……………………………………... 44
SNAPSHOT PROFILES OF PARTICIPANTS……………………………………... 50
HRCI CERTIFICATION: YOUR PROFESSIONAL EDGE……………………… 64
SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT………………………... 67
SHRM FOUNDATION………………………………………………………………... 70
Fueling the Talent Engine – Finding and Keeping High Performers examines how an integrated approach to talent management helps drive business results at Yahoo! Inc. Yahoo has shown its business acumen by becoming a leader in the online-content market. It has been the focus of numerous articles and reviews because of its dynamic management and its corporate culture, which the company actively promotes to attract the best talent.
This video shows what Yahoo! does to become an employer of choice, and what it does to select, orient, develop, reward, and manage top talent. It shows how senior executives use the concept of managing talent as a central hub in the firm’s strategy
Yahoo! Inc. provides Internet services to users and businesses through the Yahoo! Network, and a range of tools and marketing solutions for businesses in the Unites States and internationally. It offers an array of communications services, including mail, messenger, calendar, chat, greetings, clubs, and photos; and various commerce services, such as shopping, auctions, finance, and travel; as well as content and media-programming services in various areas, including sports, music, movies, news, and games through partnerships with various content providers.
In addition, the company provides a range of personalized information on wireless devices, including wireless phones, two-way pagers, and personal digital assistants. Yahoo! also offers a range of services for businesses and enterprises, including Corporate Yahoo!, an information- portal solution that enables companies to communicate and interact directly with their employees, customers, and shareholders; Yahoo! Broadcast Services provides Internet audio and video streaming solutions for corporate and consumer communications; and Yahoo!'s Small Business services enable small businesses and professionals to establish and grow a business presence
with various Yahoo! services, as well as Yahoo! Fusion Marketing that unites its media, e-commerce, direct marketing, broadcast, and communication tools. Yahoo! also has strategic alliances with SBC Communications, Inc.; BT Group plc; Rogers Cable, Inc.; and Verizon Communications, Inc. The company was founded by David Filo and Jerry Yang in 1994, and it is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.
Yahoo! has approximately 8,700 employees worldwide, and earned revenues of $3.6 Billion in 2004, up from $1.6 Billion in 2003. During the same period, net income rose from $238 Million to $840 Million. Additionally, Yahoo!’s balance sheet grew from $5.9 Billion to $9.2 Billion.
Wayne Cascio has written an informative list of discussion questions that can be used with the Yahoo! case study. The questions follow the topics of the DVD presentation and should provoke discussion as well as reinforce key insights into how Yahoo!’s strategy works and why HR is such an important partner in its strategic development and success. The discussion questions are intended as a starting point from which you can develop a
dialog about the effectiveness of talent-management practices in your own organization.
Wayne Cascio, Ph.D., is recognized as one of the foremost experts in the field of human resource management. He recently became the first HR leader to receive an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Geneva, Switzerland for his teaching and research in the HR field. Wayne has consulted with more than 150 organizations on six continents, and has written 21 books, including best-selling texts on HR management. Currently he serves on the the Boards of Directors of CPP, Inc., the Academy of Management, and the SHRM Foundation.
Source: Global Learning Resources
The Fueling the Talent Engine – Finding and Keeping High Performers video is based on understanding how strategic planning and execution work within an organization. Without this fundamental understanding, it will be very difficult to appreciate how HR strategy is tied to the overall organizational strategy.
The case study uses the Talent-Strategy Framework model on the previous slide to explain how strategy works in an organization. Note how the talent-strategy is a circular process that aggregates six distinct pieces into an overall strategy framework.
The Yahoo! video case study is an ideal educational resource for an undergraduate, graduate, or executive education program, for HR staff training within companies, and for HR professional educational seminars and programs. You have several options available for presenting the Yahoo! case study. Besides the DVD video, we have provided many different slides from which you can tailor you presentation, if you desire.
One option is to show the DVD first, followed by the PowerPoint slides, included in this discussion guide, to provide a more in-depth understanding of the company and its business. After reviewing the profile of Yahoo!, Inc. and discussing the key points of the Talent-Strategy Framework, consider discussing the question slides with students or HR professionals. We have used this approach successfully with graduate business students.
A second option might be more appropriate in an undergraduate HR course. For students with little work experience, strategic HR alignment in the recruitment and retention of talent is a difficult concept to grasp. Some students are not exactly sure which elements of strategy and HR talent initiatives must be in aligned. Students probably understand that aligning HR strategy with
corporate strategy is a good thing, but they may be uncertain of the payback potential that effective talent management will provide. The Yahoo! case study provides an excellent example of a high-performing company where a focus on talent management pays off in results.
As a way to set the stage for the DVD case study, you may want to start with a few PowerPoint slides to introduce the company, what it does, and to provide a quick overview of what talent management means. It would be helpful to walk through the Talent-Strategy Framework slide.
After this brief introduction, show the DVD. Then engage the class in a discussion of what Yahoo! did that they thought contributed to effective talent management and what more they could do in the future. You can select from the questions that follow to clarify what Yahoo! does. You may want to discuss how recruiting, selection, training and individual performance management contribute to talent management and alignment. These are all important issues in an HR course.
You might want to ask other questions such as: How does the company gain from achieving strategic HR alignment through its talent management practices? What are the obstacles that make the achievement of effective talent management practices difficult? What must HR measure to achieve effective talent management practices? How would students like to work for Yahoo!? Why don’t more companies have the types of talent management strategies that Yahoo! has?
The Yahoo! case study will certainly stimulate discussion and challenge students whether they are in an HR or business program, as well as HR professionals, to think through the benefits of HR talent strategies being aligned with the overall organizational strategy, and how to achieve effective talent management strategies.
Talent management means considering an employee’s talents during hiring, as well as that employee’s career development; and analyzing why people leave a company. Yahoo considers talent management to be central to its corporate strategy.
Yahoo!’s business model is one in which constant innovation is necessary. The philosophy of the company is around great products, ultimately equaling great business. Yahoo! promotes a culture where emphasis is placed on high performance, and high performance is actively rewarded.
Lloyd explains that when talking to his friends in the traditional media business, within two or three minutes they are saying “I’ve never heard you like this, I’ve never seen you like this.” Like they’re ready to join right then and there. Even people who are not employees of Yahoo! are easily affected by the energy that they see and feel in the culture of Yahoo!; it is this energy that helps the company to attract and retain highly qualified individuals.
Lloyd explains that it is the passion he feels for his job at Yahoo! that drives him to do his best every day. He says, “That’s very much what has always fueled my career.” At Yahoo! it is the collective passion that all of the employees feel that helps to motivate everyone, and that drives product development and improvement.
Managing talent doesn’t just happen, rather it’s a systematic process that includes targeted recruitment and retention programs, along with policies that encourage career growth and development opportunities, reward effective performance, and build a deep reservoir of successors at every level.
Yahoo!’s business model provides services to most users at no fee; for example, Yahoo! Mail. But Yahoo’s profitability is based on its for-pay services, these include Yahoo! Personals, a dating-subscription service, Yahoo! Music, where people pay for music downloads, and a wide range of small-business hosting services.
In 2004 Yahoo!’s sales increased 120%, while its net profit increased 253%. How did Yahoo!’s business model provide for such dramatic growth?
Yahoo!’s business model is deceptively simple. The more time that users spend with Yahoo, the more advertising it can sell, and the greater the likelihood that someone will pay for premium service or content. Today Yahoo counts nearly half a billion users in twenty-five countries and thirteen languages.
Sue Decker explains that many companies falter during a growth stage because they fail to manage talent properly; they fail to realize that they need to attract different kinds of people at different stages. Yahoo! recognized this from the very beginning, and has developed policies around identifying and nurturing current talent, as well as developing succession plans to maintain a high level of employee competency.
Libby Sartain, Chief People Officer, explains one way in which employees at Yahoo! find their work to be rewarding. At many companies an employee can work on a project but never see it through to fruition, nor ever see the results of their own actions. At Yahoo! the effects of a newly developed product can be seen immediately when the product is released on the Internet. “I can see that I’ve put it up on the site today, and 2 million people used it tonight.”
In addition to job applicants that seek out Yahoo!, Yahoo! is always looking for passive candidates. The talent magnets help with this effort; they are employees who are very well known in their fields. These “magnets” contact individuals who could potentially provide value to Yahoo!, but who have not applied for a job. The “magnets” contact these people directly by email, or by hosting informal talks.
An integrated talent management strategy begins by identifying workforce needs, attracting and recruiting the kinds of people who fit those needs, assessing their skills, knowledge, and values, developing them, managing their performance, and ultimately retaining those you want to keep.
Ken Perluss, Director of Talent Programs, says that it is so important to Yahoo! to have a job done correctly, that the company would rather leave a position unfilled than hire someone who whose performance is not up to the standards that the company requires. This implies that Yahoo! employees belong to an elite club, a club of which they are proud to be members.
Yahoo’s structure is different from that of many global companies because its employees are able to see the effects of their efforts; they can see a directconnection between their hard work and the success of the company, and the furthering of Yahoo’s social goals. Phu Hoang, VP of Engineering, says, “it’s about getting close to fulfilling something wonderful for society that I think attracts a lot of people.”
Lloyd Braun says that on his first day he was taken under the wing of human resources, meeting with various people who taught him the business. “The order of the presentation was so smart … they were laying building blocks … both in terms of people to meet and what they did, and then in terms of what the company did.” By making a concerted effort to have a formal orientation for new hires, Yahoo! aides their ability to become productive employees quickly.
Yahoo!’s business model requires constant innovation. The people that Yahoo! hires have “immense talent to come up with that innovation; things that you can’t think of, that’s why you want them in here.” Phu explains that the types of people that drive Yahoo! would not perform well if the company did not give them enough freedom. At Yahoo!, “brilliant” employees are guided toward the corporate vision, then given free reign to find the best path to that goal.
Early in an entrepreneurial situation there are few employees who must perform many varied job functions. As Yahoo! grew, jobs became more specialized and the company transitioned to employees with more vertical expertise. Today Yahoo! employs many very specialized and highly regarded people. Sue Decker says, “people are getting to work with stars in their areas … we have some of the nation’s leaders in all [functional] areas.”
Yahoo has developed a benefits package that includes equity ownership of the company. Employees are given stock options, and, in addition, they can participate in an employee stock-purchase plan. This allows employees to share in the success of the company, and it provides a real sense of ownership.
Loree Farrar, VP of Global Rewards, says that the Yahoo! “Superstar” program allows employees to nominate each other for an award when they do something exceptional. “A small number of employees win every year, and they’re all flown to the United States to have dinner with the executives.” Each of the winners is also given a significant cash prize.
Studies have shown that it is not enough for a company to simply find the right talent. Even after being hired, talent management is still necessary. At Yahoo!, post-hiring talent management takes the form of a performance management system that gives each employee a career-development plan that tells them what they specifically need to work on.
Every company has turnover, but not all companies effectively analyze and manage their turnover. Libby Sartain segments the turnover at Yahoo! into voluntary, regrettable turnover, and involuntary or unregrettable turnover. By having a regrettable-turnover goal of less than 5% annually, Yahoo has created a program that anticipates, manages and reduces the loss of essential talent.
By giving employees freedom in their work activities, Yahoo! has created a situation where employees are able continuously to create new challenges for themselves. This reduces repetitiveness and increases job satisfaction. Lloyd Braun says, “they don’t have to leave in order to get challenges and opportunities.” Yahoo!’s managers excite employees with the corporate vision, but individual employees are able to redirect their own energies and to work on new challenges in reaching that vision.
Wayne Cascio explains that “in today’s global, fast-moving business environment, the only way to outrun the competition is through innovation, and that means having people who make things happen.” What this implies is that the wise management of talent is no longer just a competitive advantage, it’s a competitive necessity.
Make talent management a top priority in your organization.
Recognize that you can have a brilliant strategy, but without the talent to execute it, it will never materialize.
Develop a comprehensive approach, as well as a commitment to track, develop, reward, and keep top talent.
Ensure that HR plays a strategic role.
HR should be anticipating trends in the outside environment that affect the management of talent in your company, such as demographic, labor market, or social trends, and it should be identifying their implications with respect to the ability of your company to execute its strategy.
Develop a well-crafted story that describes your company’s mission and values.
Your employees must have a clear idea of what your company stands for. You must live those values every day, and make sure that everyone from the mail-room to the board-room does too. Does your story get people excited to come to work each day?
Understand why people join your company, why they stay, and why some of them leave.
Develop an action plan to accentuate the positives and minimize the negatives.
Lloyd Braun is Head of Yahoo! Media Group. Braun joined Yahoo! in November 2004 as head of the Yahoo! Media Group. In this role, he oversees all creative and business aspects of Yahoo!'s content properties, including music, games, movies, television, entertainment, finance, news, weather, sports, health, education and kids.
Prior to joining the company, Braun served as Chairman of ABC
Entertainment Television Group, a division of The Walt Disney Company, a position he held from January 2002 until April 2004. He served as Co-Chairman of the division from July 1999. In this position, Braun had responsibility for all creative, programming and business areas of the division, which encompassed Touchstone Television and ABC Entertainment. During his tenure with the ABC Entertainment Television Group, Braun initiated and oversaw the development of such successful programs as "Alias", "Lost", "Desperate Housewives", "Grey's Anatomy", "Extreme Makeover", "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and "Boston Legal". At the same time, he shepherded Touchstone Television into one of Hollywood's top suppliers of series programming.
Heidi Burgett manages Internal Communications for Yahoo!. Heidi is responsible for managing the company’s intranet, internal branding, executive speech writing, acquisition integration communication, and corporate messaging. Additionally, Heidi provides public relations strategy and execution on a variety of key issues. In 2004, Heidi was recognized as a “Yahoo! Super Star”, the company’s highest honor. Prior to Yahoo!, Heidi managed Internal Communications for UPS. Heidi holds both a Bachelors and a Masters degree in Communication from the University of Colorado.
Wayne is the US Bank Term Professor of Management at the University of Colorado and Health Sciences Center. He is a world-renowned scholar, author and teacher. His paper on Responsible Restructuring was named the most outstanding research paper in 2003 by the Academy of Management Executive. Wayne is a member of the SHRM Foundation board of directors, and past president both of the HR Division of the Academy of Management, and of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP).
He has published 21 books on human resources including Applied Psychology in Human Resources Management (6th ed, 2005) and Managing Human Resources (7th ed, 2006). He currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Management, as well as CPP, Inc. He actively shares his HR management knowledge through speaking engagements and consulting activities, and he has been recognized for his dynamic teaching style in Executive and 11-month MBA programs at the University of Colorado.
A key member of Yahoo!'s executive team, Susan L. Decker is Yahoo!'s chief financial officer and executive vice president of finance and administration. In this role, Decker is a key participant in determining Yahoo!'s business strategy, and is also responsible for managing and setting all aspects of the company's financial and administrative direction within key functional areas, including finance, human resources, legal, and investor relations. Decker reports to chairman and chief executive officer, Terry Semel.
Prior to joining Yahoo! in June 2000, Decker was with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ) for 14 years. Most recently, she served as the global director of equity research, a $300 million operation, where, among other things, she was responsible for building and staffing a non-U.S. research product based on global sector teams.
Decker holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Tufts University, with a double major in computer science and economics, and a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. She also received the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst in 1989 and served on the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC) for a four-year term, from January 2000 to January 2004. Decker was appointed to the board of directors of Costco Wholesale in October 2004 and of Pixar Animation Studios in June 2004.
Loree Farrar is Vice President, Global Rewards, at Yahoo! Before joining Yahoo!, Loree was Director of Compensation, Benefits, and HRIS at Portal Software, and has also worked at StorageTek in Boulder, Colorado, and The Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Loree holds a Bachelor’s degree in Folklore and Mythology from Harvard, and an MBA and Masters in Social Work from Columbia.
David Filo is Co-founder of Yahoo!, and holds the position of Chief Yahoo. David, a native of Moss Bluff, La., co-created the Yahoo! Internet navigational guide in April 1994 with Jerry Yang and co-founded Yahoo! Inc. in April 1995. Filo serves as a key technologist, directing the technical operations behind the company's global network of Web properties. He is credited with helping build Yahoo! into the world's most highly trafficked Web site and one of the Internet's most recognized brands. Filo holds a B.S. degree in computer engineering from Tulane University and an M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He is currently on a leave of absence from Stanford's electrical engineering Ph.D. program.
Phu Hoang is Senior Vice-President, Engineering, at Yahoo!. Phu manages the engineering teams for the Search and Marketplace, Media, Entertainment, Information, Finance and Hotjobs business units. He currently oversees product strategy, research and development for Yahoo’s Search platform. He joined Yahoo! in February 1996. Previous to his current position, Hoang held various roles at Yahoo! in the engineering, product and business management areas, including serving as general manager of Yahoo! Shopping and Yahoo! Auctions. He holds a B.S. degree
in electrical engineering from University of Maryland, College Park, and M.S. and Ph. D. degrees in electrical engineering from University of California, Berkeley.
Carol Mahoney is Director, Talent Acquisition, at Yahoo!. Prior to joining Yahoo!, Carol held various positions at Intuit Inc., Pro-Quest Inc., Synopsys Inc, Digital Equipment Corporation, and Advanced Micro Devices, among others. Carol holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, from Santa Clara University
Ken Perluss is Director, Technical Talent Acquisition, at Yahoo!. Ken has spent the past eight years managing Yahoo!’s technical recruiting efforts. Before joining Yahoo!, Ken spent four years at Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) during the company’s extensive growth period. Ken previously spent nearly eight years as a retained search and contingency recruiter. Born and raised in San Francisco, Ken graduated from University of California-Davis a really, really long time ago.
Libby Sartain is Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Chief People Yahoo. With more than 25 years of experience in human resource management, Libby Sartain is responsible for leading Yahoo! Inc.'s global human resources efforts and managing and developing the human resources team. She also focuses on attracting, retaining, and developing Yahoo!'s employees who promote and strengthen the company culture, as well as represent the powerful Yahoo! brand.
Prior to joining Yahoo! in August 2001, Sartain was "vice president of people" at Southwest Airlines. An employee of Southwest Airlines since 1988, Sartain managed a staff of 300 and led all human resources functions at the airline, including employment, training, benefits and compensation. She also played a key role in developing an employment brand strategy, which helped double employee growth in six years.
Sartain also served as chairman of the Society for Human Resource Management and was named fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources. Sartain holds a B.A. degree in business administration at Southern Methodist University and received her M.B.A. from the University of North Texas.
Stephanie Tate is Sr. Talent Acquisition Manager, for the Search and Marketplace Group at Yahoo!. Stephanie has been at Yahoo! for 2 ½ years. Prior to Working at Yahoo!, she was an HR Manager for a start-up, HR Generalist for IDC, and had a stint in Market Research for Synopsys. She also has worked in film as a scenic artist in Hollywood. Stephanie attend UC Santa Cruz and has a certificate in HR Management
Cheryl Van is Vice President, Talent Acquisition, at Yahoo! and is responsible for helping to create a more efficient process of talent acquisition and development at Yahoo! Prior to joining Yahoo!, Cheryl was the Vice President of Human Resources at Critical Path. Previous to Critical Path, she served as the Vice President of Employment and Development at Visa International. Cheryl holds Bachelors degrees in Communication Studies and Sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Masters of Human Resources and Organization Development from the University of San Francisco.
Jerry Yang is Co-founder of Yahoo!, Chief Yahoo and also a Director. Jerry Yang, a Taiwanese native raised in San Jose, Calif., co-created the Yahoo! Internet navigational guide in April 1994 with David Filo and co-founded Yahoo! Inc. in April 1995. Yang, a leading force in the media industry, has been instrumental in building Yahoo! into the world's most highly trafficked Web site and one of the Internet's most recognized brands. A member of Yahoo!'s board of directors, Yang works closely with the company's president and CEO to develop corporate business strategies and to guide the future direction of the company. Yang holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University and is currently on a leave of absence from Stanford's electrical engineering Ph.D. program.
The Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) is the credentialing organization founded by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to promote the establishment of professional standards both domestically and globally. HRCI recognizes HR professionals who, through demonstrated professional experience and the passing of a comprehensive exam, have met HRCI’s requirements for mastering the HR body of knowledge.
HRCI offers two levels of professional certification: the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Both exams are generalist (i.e., they assess the functional areas of the HR field) but differ in terms of focus and the cognitive level of questions. PHR questions tend to be at an operations/technical level. SPHR questions tend to be at the strategic and/or policy level.
In 2004, HRCI offered the first international certification examination for HR professionals working in organizations with facilities and employees around the globe. The Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) meets a major need in the profession today as more U.S. based HR practitioners have multinational accountability.
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