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Building a Well-Networked Organization

Leaders and human resources professionals are searching for ways to generate more value from their employees. Recent studies show that companies perform at a higher level when they have integrated talent management programs that are aligned with business strategy and operations. Organizations can get more from their investments in talent management, the authors argue, by focusing on collaboration.
Job design and performance management are typically based on individual accountability despite the fact that most work today is collaborative. Talent management practices tend to focus on individual competencies and experiences, while overlooking the importance of employee networks. By examining individual performance data together with the results of organizational network analysis, the authors say, senior managers can look at talent along two important dimensions. In addition to looking at individual employee performance for the purpose of succession or work force planning, they can take a network view to assess the same employees in terms of their broader collaborative contributions to the organization.
The authors show how applying a network lens reveals a significant number of key players (including marginalized talent, hidden talent and underutilized talent) that traditional performance management systems miss. They identify best practices for nurturing networks through talent management initiatives, illustrating them with examples from organizations including IDEO, Nokia, Dow Chemical, Best Buy, Gallo and the U.S. Army.
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