The talent challenge – building capabilities in new operations

accapr —  31 July 2013 — Leave a comment

By Tony Campion, strategic business partner HR, Coca Cola

As our shared service operations are reasonably new, we are still in the process of working through some of the talent challenges we face, and a key area of focus is how we keep people engaged and how we develop them. We have quite limited bandwidth to continuously promote people into new roles within the finance centres, and with on-going challenges in the wider economy we find people are tending to stay rather than move on to new opportunities in the external environment. Our focus is on establishing the reputation of the finance centres and making sure a ‘them’ and ‘us’ culture does not prevail across the broader finance function, because this obviously impacts in driving mobility of people from the business into the shared service centre but also vice-versa. We also recognise that the skills needed by finance professionals in the shared service centre are quite different – they aren’t skills that are always prioritised or developed in a traditional finance organisation.

Solutions – building capabilities in new operations

  1. Recognise different locations may bring different capabilities. We see strengths and weaknesses across our different locations, so it’s important to think more broadly in terms of capabilities that are needed in different areas, and how these complement each other. You also need to factor this in to location selection.
  2. Appreciate that shared service operations call into play a different skill-set, and plan to develop these. We consistently use a 70/20/10 blended learning approach which develops the technical, business and management skills increasingly needed – we see capabilities such as cultural skills, virtual working, change management, working in a matrixed environment and of course customer service as essential. We are currently establishing a coaching programme to provide opportunities for individuals to learn from more experienced hires.
  3. Ensure a talent review process is embedded into the performance management process and plan for succession. We use a rating system which rates both the achievement of objectives and the achievement of competencies. We also assess those with high potential and build this into a transparent formal succession plan.

This case study appeared in an ACCA report on Talent and capability in global finance functions. As part of ACCA’s qualitative research leading organisations shared their approaches. 

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