Thomas O. Davenport

Thomas O. Davenport is a senior consultant with Towers Watson , a global human resources consulting firm, based in San Francisco. Tom concentrates chiefly on helping clients improve the people-focused elements of business strategy implementation. He's also the author of two books: "Manager Redefined: The Competitive Advantage in the Middle of Your Organization," and "Human Capital: What It Is and Why People Invest It." Contact him at tom.davenport@towerswatson.com.

Articles by Thomas O. Davenport

Best of TLNT

The 4 Stages of the Employee Value Proposition

Engaged Employee

Editor’s note: TLNT is continuing an annual tradition by counting down the most popular posts of the year. This is No. 21. Our regular content will return next Monday.

It’s popular in the HR world to speak of an organization’s employee value proposition (EVP).

Like many HR terms, this one evokes a vague and generally positive sense of meaning but rarely has a rigorous definition. Moreover, the value proposition is often confused with the employee brand, another borrowed concept with intuitive appeal but seldom a precise interpretation. Read more…

Talent Management, Training & Development

Want Better Middle Managers? Then Redefine What It is to Be a Good One

123RF Stock Photo

In her recent Wall Street Journal article, Rachel Feintzeig quotes an AT&T executive on the importance of middle managers.

“Who runs this company?” the executive asks. “We do, right here,” is his answer.

He’s exactly right. But when Stephen Harding and I wrote our book on the importance of middle managers — Manager Redefined: the Competitive Advantage in the Middle of Your Organization — we went farther. We said that managers are centers of insight and influence, underappreciated in many organizations, but endowed nonetheless with the potential to make dramatic contributions to enterprise success.

In most organizations, this potential remains untapped. Read more…

Leadership, Talent Management

The Only Employee Segment That Matters is the One Called Me

By istockphoto.com

When organizations set about to segment their employee populations, they often begin with the familiar demographic groups: Matures, Boomers, Gen X and Millennials.

Then they try to pinpoint the behavioral differences of employees across these segments. The goal is to educate managers about how age differences influence workplace attitudes and behaviors.

The problem is that managers don’t lead segments – they lead individuals.

Every one of us, regardless of when we were born, are part of Generation Me. And the message from Generation Me is this: don’t lump me in with a bunch of people whose birthdays happen to be within a few years of mine. Treat me as the unique employee I am, not as a faceless clone from a demographic cohort. Read more…

Culture, Talent Management

Employee Entitlement: You Need to Know Your Cart from Your Horse

123RF Stock Photo

Second of two parts

I once had a client – a large commercial bank – whose managers were fond of urging employees to “run it like you own it.

Employees didn’t own it, of course — shareholders did. Some employees had equity holdings, but those accounted for a small percentage of the institution’s total shares.

What the managers wanted was for employees not to act like, well, employees. They wanted people to behave instead as if they had a larger stake in the prosperity of the company and therefore a greater responsibility to go beyond the minimum daily requirement of effort to serve customers and husband the assets of the organization. Read more…

Talent Management

Employee Entitlement: Why You Need to Beware of Self-Inflicted Wounds

123RF Stock Photo

First of two parts

As human resource people see it, entitlement is organizational tuberculosis, a wasting disease that saps energy from the enterprise.

When HR and company executives use the term “entitlement” they mean that employees:

HR Management

The 4 Stages of the Employee Value Proposition

Engaged Employee

It’s popular in the HR world to speak of an organization’s employee value proposition (EVP).

Like many HR terms, this one evokes a vague and generally positive sense of meaning but rarely has a rigorous definition. Moreover, the value proposition is often confused with the employee brand, another borrowed concept with intuitive appeal but seldom a precise interpretation.

I’d like to suggest definitions for both terms, and to point out what research says about the benefits of a fully articulated and well-delivered value proposition. Read more…