Driving Commercial Excellence through Integrated Talent Management at ITT
The original International Telephone & Telegraph was created in 1920, and over the next 50 years ITT acquired more than 350 companies — at one time securing deals at the rate of one acquisition per week. Today the company is a true conglomerate that plays an important role in vital markets including water and fluids management, global defense and security, and motion and flow control. With a workforce of over 40,000, ITT is known for engineering, operational excellence and strong values and leadership.
With market growth rates slowing and competitive pressures increasing combined with the economic downturn, ITT found its customers looking for additional resources and fresh ideas to deliver greater value. Realizing this would have a profound impact on its business over the long term, in 2009 ITT leaders had the foresight to undertake a significant change, moving from product-centric to consultative selling across all its non-defense businesses. This was a real paradigm shift. It entailed changing its entire customer-facing approach, from processes to tools to mindsets.
This was an ideal project for Koss Associates. ITT leveraged Koss Associates’ deep expertise in designing and implementing integrated talent management solutions to drive and sustain fundamental change. We embedded the expectations associated with the end-state into ITT’s talent management infrastructure and helped ITT implement across its global, highly decentralized workforce.
First, we researched, designed and delivered functional competency and career path models for all customer-facing roles, worldwide. By creating native competencies rather than using off-the-shelf models we ensured the values associated with the change were embedded in the competencies. And by nesting competencies into functional career paths covering every major role, we ensured the infrastructure was both relevant to employees and provided career growth transparency across diverse business units. Next, we created a set of practical tools based on the competencies and career paths for managers and employees, such as reference cards, interview guides and learning guides, all housed within a web-based portal we helped design. We also created and delivered coaching workshops designed to help managers use the competencies and develop skill coaching their own teams, and others.
Working closely with ITT business and HR leaders around the world, this system was designed, researched, validated and implemented in a little over one year. It was unveiled at a major company event in the Fall of 2010 to very positive reviews. For 2011, each business is tasked with driving adoption of this infrastructure through major talent management processes such as performance management and selection. By implementing and continuing to invest in truly integrated talent management, ITT has a state-of-the-art system to align its HR practices and the behavior of the workforce to the values associated with this new state, thereby fulfilling a necessary condition for successful change.