On November 14, 2018, Tom Haak of the HR Trend Institute spoke with a team of HR professionals of Deutsche Telekom about the future of talent management, via Skype. In this video a summary of Tom’s answers to the questions of the team. The technical quality is not 100%, as it is a recording via Skype.
Talent Management Trends - YouTube
The video can be split in 14 chapters. If you click on the chapter title, you will jump to the relevant part of the video.
The curators of the Museum of HR (planned opening in 2022) are working hard on the HR Canon. The HR Canon will be the core of the exhibition, and it will contain 50 pieces, that are representative for the development of Human Resources Management / Personnel management, from late 19th century to today. Not an easy task, and I am sure the wisdom of the crowd will be called upon at a later stage.
In this blog post you can see a sneak preview, showing ten of the items considered by the team, without too much explanation. Your suggestions are very welcome of course, please mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Frederic Taylor
Frederic Taylor (1856-1915) was one of the first management consultants. His book The Principles of Scientific Management was very influential, and many of the roots of Personnel Management can be traced back to this book. Therefore, Taylor deserves a big statue in the Museum of HR.
2. The org chart
Supposedly the first org chart was designed by Daniel McMallum around 1854. Where would HR be without org charts? Example: even the most modern HR Information Systems are lost without org chart. We need a name, postion and boss, otherwise we can not enter a new employee into the system.
The best icon for the org chart might be the pyramid. If you ask people to draw an organisation, they often draw a pyramid.
3. The Forced Distribution
The forced distribution was popular in the 1980’s, promoted by GE and Jack Welch. It was introduced to get rid of poor performers, and to force poor managers to rank their staff, whether they wanted it or not. The story was, that at GE, managers had to get rid of their bottom 10% performers every year. Assumption: performance follows a normal distribution.
4. The Employee Lifecycle
The Employee Life Cycle is a dominant concept in HRM. Above you can see the most simple representation (in Dutch, I could not find a good English example). The lifecycle has three phases: inflow, throughput and outflow.
Over time, the representation became more sophisticated. The picture above (looking a bit like a conveyor belt) is an example.
In the 21st century, the Employee Lifecycle evolved into the Employee Journey. Looking more attractive, but in essence still: in-through-out. You can find an extensive overview of employee journey maps in: Trends in Employee Journey Maps.
5. Career Ladders
If you ask designers to design a visual to illustrate a career path, their first choice is a ladder, or stairs. Hardly ever a real path, hardly ever escalators (a career is too easy, if you use escalators). There is only one way careers can go, and that is up. For an extensive collection of Career Paths go to A collection of 31 different Career Paths.
6. The 9-grid
The 9-grid is one of the typical HR tools designed in the last century. I think it was designed by McKinsey for GE, probably together with the famous principle: always get rid of your bottom 10% low performers (see Nr. 3). The 9-grid is a favourite of many HR professionals. Read: Get rid of the 9-grid.
7. The Ulrich Model
In his book Human Resource Champions Dave Ulrich introduced a model to map the different roles of HR. This model was embraced by the HR world. Many HR professionals have not read any of the great books Dave Ulrich wrote, but just took a picture of the 1997 model and tried to implement it, using their own interpretation. Please watch my little video with some more background:
How the Ulrich model was misused - YouTube
8. Competency Frameworks
Competency Frameworks will certainly get a lot of attention in the Museum of HR. For many years HR consultancies have earned a lot of money by helping organisations to create extensive competency frameworks. The key question: what are the behaviours we expect at different levels in different roles throughout the organisation? Especially Leadership Competency Frameworks have gotten a lot of attention (Change starts at the top, Leading by example).
9. The Iceberg Metaphor
These days in many presentations I see the VUCA slide: We live in a VUCA world! In my working life I have also seen many icebergs in presentations. The iceberg is a metaphor loved by HR-professionals and many others. Does the iceberg deserve a place in the Canon of HR? Maybe.
In the 1980’s McCall, Lombardo and Eichinger introduced the 70/20/10 model. Learning is most effective if it is divided as follows:
70% from challenging assignments
20% from developmental relationships
10% from coursework and training
Scientific evidence for the model seems to be poor, but in learning & development circles it is one of the pillars of todays practices.
Last week we looked at the way employee journeys are visualised. The next room in the Museum of HR (planned opening in 2022), will be dedicated to Career Paths. Career paths were particular fashionable in the period 1970 to 2010. Today we see them less, but they are certainly not extinct.
The primary visual people associate with a journey, is a road. If you ask designers to design a visual to illustrate a career path, their first choice is a ladder, or stairs. Hardly ever a real path, hardly ever escalators (a career is too easy, if you use escalators). There is only one way careers can go, and that is up. Sometimes there is more than one way to go up, but most of the time there is only one way. Even the way out (“up-or-out”) cannot be found in many visuals.
In this post, some examples out of our current collection (sources can be found by clicking on the picture. If you have more nice examples, contact the curator of the Museum of HR (Tom Haak).
Real Career Ladders
1. A simple career ladder. If you climb the ladder, you can go from Assistant Manager to VP. No alternatives, no way out. VP is the final level.
2. Another pure ladder. This ladder looks somewhat more stable than ladder number 1. How you are supposed to get from the ladder onto the different floors is not so clear.
3. A very classical picture, used by many. If I use Google Images to search for this picture, the list with results is endless. This is the iconic career picture: a man, in a suit with a briefcase climbing the career ladder (stairs). He is in the spotlight (look at the shadow), but he does not mind. He is a man with a mission.
4. A more modern version of the classical picture. Still a man with a briefcase (a present from LinkedIn). He is more in a hurry, and the sky is the limit.
5. Yes, there are female versions of the classical picture. She also has a briefcase, and she seems more careful than the men in pictures one and two. A bit hesitant. The stairway seems to be a bit more dangerous. Health & Safety seems to be less of an issue when is comes to career management, the stairways hardly ever have handrails. Where is the sky gone? The future looks grim…
Wow! It is fantastic at the top
6. From Manual Tester to Director in a period of 12-23 years, that is a bright prospect. As a manual tester you can wear T-shirt and jeans, but thereafter a suit is mandatory. If you reach the top after 12-23 years, it is time for a party, and you can post your flag on the top. Luckily there is room at the top in this organisation. The picture does not show what happened to the current Director…
7. The way to the top in this organisation is longer. Six layers between Associate and Managing Director. There seem to be some vacancies (at the Associate Manager and the Senior Manager level). No briefcases here. Teamwork is important, your journey to the top will not be lonely. And again, a big “hurray” when you have reached to top (less room here at the top, but the woman does not look as if she will leave soon).
8. Life is tough and lonely at Emperic. The route to the top seems to be marked, but both the man and the woman have chosen other routes. The man at the top has won a big prize, and proud he is.
9. The building blocks are also very popular in the world of career visualisation. The ladders are still necessary to move from plateau to plateau. The ultimate goal: the orange cube.
10. Where most visualisations picture a career that is one-way up, there are examples that are more flexible. Is this “Retail Career Roadmap” (why “Roadmap” and not “Map”?) you can make choices. Somewhat mechanical, but maybe more attractive than a one-way road.
11. A second example in the category “Do-It-Yourself”. You have to draw your own career ladder. This high potential is not very creative: he immediately starts drawing a traditional career: up the stairs, as quick as possible (although he could have drawn higher steps). We cannot see his other hand, but my guess is he carries a briefcase.
We travel by train
12. For some careers, you have to travel by train. Normally you would draw from left to right, but as careers have to go up, the railways in this picture go up as well. The railways have some strange elements. There is no central station. When you want to transfer from one line to the other, it looks like you have to walk. Why are the yellow, blue and green line curved? Why is COO an end-station, and CIO not?
13. In picture 13, a bit more clarity. There is a Central Station: RNJD. It is a bit unclear what is the best way to travel. The order of the stations is somewhat peculiar. Look for example at the yellow line, where the end station is “Bioethics Consultant”, a stop that comes after “Health Care Executive”.
14. We like colour. Two examples in the category :”Colourful Steps”. Nr 14: eight layers between Actuarial Intern and the SVP position.
15. This picture is from a more egalitarian organisation. In your career you do not go up, but from left to right, from read to blue. Everybody stays with both feet on the ground. The ceilings become higher (not at every step though), so you seem to have more headspace at the top.
A top-down approach
16. An atypical picture, from the casino. An upside down pyramid, that seems to tell us: Dealers are the most important in the organisation, and thereafter the only way you can go is down.
We offer variety
17. This organisation clearly offers variety. In your career you can make a detour, moving from Senior Consultant to Principle Consultant, instead of going directly to the Teamleader position.
A dual career path
18. In some organisations there is more than one way to the top. If I interpret the picture well, everybody has to start as a security officer, on the Client Site (I assume they mean Client Side…). After your first step, you can move from the Client side to an Area or Branch Office. You seem to be better off in the office than on the client side. But how do you move from the first level in the office to Branch Manager? No ladder here, the only way seems to be to go down to the blue client side.
19. Another organisation with dual careers. Clearly an equal opportunity organisation. Your possible career in management seems a bit more clear than the career on the sales site (side). Interesting: from Level 4 we are more formal, please wear your jackets.
Careers are simple
20. Efficio likes to keep it simple. From Business Analyst to Vice President, just follow a straight line. No climbing required. What is the meaning of the length of the poles that carry the pictures? Salary? Distance to the real people? The positions are equally divided between men and women, but the top job is for a man.
21. Sun Hung Ki Properties likes to be very clear: “Upon completion of the programme, management trainees will embark on their journey to a successful career along this career ladder”. The management trainees must be happy that they know their career will be successful, and that they will be Director after 13 years.
22. I like this one. No hands, no shoes, but very eager to jump to the next step.
23. The message is clear: don’t expect your career to follow a straight line, there might be some (small) diversions. Unfortunately we cannot see where the dotted line ends.
Careers are complicated
24. Interesting representation of the career paths for web designers. The bottom flow is clear. Only a few Web Designers become User Experience Designers, and for the UE Designers the most common next step is Senior UE Designer. A couple will become Senior UE Architect. The top flow is a mystery. Let’s say 10% of the Web Designers become Web Developer. The group of Web Developers suddenly becomes a lot larger. Where do these people come from?
In my virtual museum of HR (planned opening in 2022), there certainly will be a room filled with Employee Journey maps. In this post I want to show you a sample (20) of the current collection (sources can be found by clicking on the picture). If you come across nice examples: please let me know!
Most employee journeys follow a windy road
If you ask people to draw an organisation, they draw a pyramid. If you ask people to draw a journey, most of them draw a road. Many Employee Journey Maps are one-way roads. Most of the time there is only one exit: at the end. I have seen roads that end in a roundabout, and the signal is clear: there is no way to leave.
1. A typical Employee Journey Map. A never ending road.
2. An interesting map. It goes from top to bottom, where you would expect is to go from bottom to top, or left to tight. I like the various barriers.
3. Be careful during this journey: if you go too fast, you end where you started.
4. How do you get on this road? How do you get off?
Some take the underground
Some employee journeys go underground by metro.
5. It does not resemble the London Underground yet, but it is a start. Not easy to find an attractive journey though. Maybe the red line, from “New Talent Central” to “Valuable Feedback Wharf”. But what is next?
6. The “City of Autonomy”: that is where I want to go!
Why not by boat?
Probably traveling by boat is considered to be too slow, as I could not find many employee journeys that took the waterways.
7. Don’t miss the Onboarding Boat!
To outer space
8. Your career really seems to take off if you change jobs.
We like the outdoors (on a nice day)
9. Another interesting map (in Dutch, but you get the picture). This looks like a mindful journey. A journey by foot through hills and forests. Forget the urban jungle. The candidate is running, but seems to adapt very quickly.
10. This certainly looks like a challenging journey.
The Employee Journey is a game
11. The Employee Journey pictured as a board game.
Keep it simple
12. Simple it is.
13. In Dutch. In, through, out.
A balancing act
14. We all know it: working is a balancing act. And women go slower than men.
A structured approach
15. No roads or other fancy pictures. A structured approach will serve us best.
16. Maybe the employee journey can be fun!
And some others
17. I like: Mastery, Meaning, Autonomy.
18. From seduction to goodbye. Look at the tie as icon for Talent & Leadership development. And muscles for Learning & Development.
19. Some implicit messages in this picture. We only hire men. Our selection ratio is around 50%. The picture is from 2011, so probably one of the earlier employee journey maps.