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Whirlpool - Finance Talent Management

In: Business and Management

Submitted By harish2083
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Whirlpool Finance Organization: Whirlpool Corporation is a leading manufacturer and marketer of major home appliances. It had annual sales of more than $18 billion in 2010 and has 71,000 employees and 67 manufacturing and technology research centres around the world. It employs approximately 1,200 finance professionals in 26 countries on every inhabited continent. The majority work in accounting, finance, and shared-service areas, but there’s also a significant finance talent presence in tax, treasury, audit, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and investor relations. There are also specialists in a variety of areas, including economic, enterprise risk management, real estate, information systems, and product innovation. The company’s general organizational design for finance is to locate talent as close as possible to business activities. Finance talent is found in Whirlpool factories, sales offices, R&D functions, and regional headquarters around the world. Finance directors and VPs often have dual reporting relationships—to their business units as well as the office of the CFO. Because Whirlpool has a significant global presence, a great number of its talent base must have higher-than-average skills in U.S. GAAP, currency management, and IFRS. Aside from a strong emphasis on leadership development and finance technical competence, skills in Six Sigma, innovation, and employee engagement are highly valued

Vision: Transform the finance organization’s capabilities at Whirlpool to world class status
Value drivers of this function: Interdependency of people, processes & systems
Trigger: Lack of attractiveness of Finance Talent towards Whirlpool due to lack of development opportunities, training & succession planning, Group CFO Roy Templin had to take up the transformation project

* HR Head David Binkley provided all the support but Templin has to be the process owner of transformation project * For Transformation JD Rapp a senior finance & operations person with a strong background in Six Sigma was hired
2 observations emerging out of analysis by Rapp * Best regarded & best compensated finance employees were those who worked the most hours & were subject matter experts * Employees who were good people managers & developers weren’t given any significant credit
Talent transformation was categorised in 3 areas
1. Technical Capabilities
2. Individual Career development
3. Making Talent a vibrant & sustained priority for finance leader in company

Setting of Vision & Objectives * Transform the finance organization’s capabilities at Whirlpool to world class status * 3 pillars of this vision technical capability, leadership capability & global capability
Objective of Vision: To create talent system so robust that it becomes a competitive advantage for attracting talent to the firm. * 4 keys to the strategy * Attract Talent * Senior leadership commitment * Human Resources partnering * Balanced Competencies
The Approach & the process.
1) Systems oriented approach
Deriving from Management’s Excellence approach, A Talent Management system with 7 criteria’s were designed
Defined metric/Defined Goals/Defined Ownership/Defined process/Defined reporting/Global consistency /Plan do check act
2. Capabilities & processes were also critical as they were to be aligned

Senior Leadership * CEO Jeff Fettig was credited for creating urgency in talent transformation process
* Employees & Manager agree on performance goal & objectives at the start of the year * Minimum 3 feedback sessions in a year, & a final performance discussion * Twice a year managers are involved in calibration sessions across the organization to look at performance on an overall basis * Not to change the culture radically this process was changed over a period of 4 years
The specific measurement established was to “make our talent management capabilities & process the envy of the company”.
2 facts in this vision are * No special metric or set of metrics was established. They are convinced that no single metric or metric subset , accurately describes the state of the organizational capabilities * No financial justification was given & no internal return on investment (ROI) or internal rate of return(IRR) goal was set. the entire leadership team simply believed that overhauling talent was justification in & of itself

In 2008 Templin & his team introduced one of the most elaborate talent review processes.
The review process across globe took 4 weeks of CFO , five regional finance leaders , other direct reports & HR lead for finance
Step 1 * Director’s review their talent with the finance leadership using a set of globally standardized tools used for review * The individual’s nine box rating: To sort out with high performance vs those with high potential * Manager Skills Survey: All people managers are rated annually by their employees on 10 different leadership characteristics. * Recent years of performance ratings
Step 2
After director’s review of talent. Vice president reviews the directors with same set of tools
Step 3
Manager or Senior Managers to present a project to the rest of Finance officers which was never about immediate business operations , forecasts etc. but like Six sigma techniques to improve cash flow forecasting so on so forth
Step 4
In a given region, high potential individual contributors at the manager/lead/senior level have face to face to discuss career opportunities

Infrastructure & Tools
3 tools were developed to enable the whirlpool transformation;
Technical Competencies, Talent Management tools & Career path Development tools
Technical Competencies 1. 2 full time resources assigned to it, 20 functional experts with almost one year & 12000 person hours established Technical competencies. Criteria was established in US & later on calibrated across globe. 2. Technical competency criteria at the level were defined across multiple areas in finance 3. Standard competency were mapped to individual roles 4. Managers & employees assessed each employee’s technical skill levels & differences were recorded 5. Technical skills were recorded in database. At micro level, the assessments were included in the employee’s performance goals. At the macro level they were aggregated & mapped to see what the biggest overall technical skills gaps were across the company. 6. Whirlpool University made the development of online training courses relatively inexpensive 7. The proficiency criteria, assessment methodology, & the training developed to respond to the goals were all accomplished internally, this helped to get a buy in for the process

Talent Management System & Tools 1. The Whirlpool Global People System (GPS) Tracks standard employee information such as job assignments, performance ratings & work history. But it has a far more developmental challenges, leadership attributes, individual succession plans , current mentors & more.
Career Path Development Tools 1. Whirlpool focused on providing tools customized for the company 2. For each director level finance role it developed a single “role profile” which gave information like purpose, experiences required, technical competency levels required & Leadership behaviours required for the role. A potential career path to reach the role. 3. Blank career path sheets for employees to plot where their career had taken them so far & what they would like to do 4. For transparency role profile sheets & career paths are posted on employee portal accessible for any employee

Key To Success * Support from Top : CEO Jef Fettig or David Blinkley support was relentless in both good & bad times

* Building Using Incremental Steps: Setting achievable goals that allowed a steady & consistent pace. No overpromise nor back out from the achievable goals they are promised.

* Establishing a Solid System Design: Having a tangible process, not making any “good intentions” announcement without a backup of solid systems. Keeping it simple & using process oriented people

* Leverage Existing Resources: Make use of the systems already in place even if they aren’t perfect. Enhance the systems than reinventing it completely

* Build on Existing Talent Management Activities: Assimilate & enhance existing processes, do not invent substitute process as it creates confusion.

* Embed Talent into the Fabric of the organization: Global Talent reviews take one month time of CFO’s time. Discuss talent in every form or the other. Setting achievable goals, Making it clear that someone can’t exceed expectations without surpassing their talent goals

* Innovate Continuously: As you get better at basic tools, need to continuously update the modules making it more automated, interactive. Not to underestimate people’s perception of tools. Refresh continuously your tools to signal that you are continuously interested in tool.

The Results & Return on Talent Investment: * Employee satisfaction with professional development opportunities increased from approximately 55% in 2006 to 85% in 2010

* Technical proficiencies in US Gaap , went from 70% in in 2006 to 95% in 2010

* SAP skills increased from 50% in 2006 to 75% in 2010

* Retention of leadership development employees went from 25% in 2005 to greater than 85% in 2010

* The last 12 officer level moves in Whirlpool finance were from internal moves & directly from succession planning

The finance talent system has become a genuine asset at Whirlpool for attracting & retaining talent at all levels of organization. Key point is to calculate the “Return on Time Invested” on this initiative as the time invested was significantly more than the dollars invested Exceeding the goals:
What made finance’s talent transformation overall effort successful * Assigning of process oriented people, for setting up of processes & capabilities * Kept quite rational about the results, not overpromising, emotional or over inspirational * Maintaining long term vision in regards of talent management, even in chaotic business environments * The top management wanted it to happen * Not to have a narrow outlook or stuck upon one specific metric. Always kept a larger picture in mind

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