A Key Enabler to Luxottica Retail’s Talent Management Vision Over the past four years, Luxottica Retail has grown its employee base in North America from approximately 23,000 associates to more than 36,000. The vast majority of these associates work in more than 5,400 retail outlets. Luxottica Retail’s growth has been made possible by the collective performance of our people — from store associates who drive customer experience, to corporate staffers who support store operations, to senior leaders who direct company strategy. Therefore, finding, retaining and developing a competent workforce is key to providing exceptional customer experiences, which ultimately drive shareholder value.
To manage our existing associate population and to meet our long-term growth objectives, the organization’s leadership recognizes the need to more efficiently find, transfer, develop and promote our diverse workforce. Consequently, Luxottica Retail is in the midst of a multi-year rollout of integrated talent management systems to associates across all our brands (e.g., Sunglass Hut, LensCrafters), as well as our corporate headquarters.
For the organization, the implementation of these systems and optimization of the processes they enable (e.g., associate goal-setting, performance reviews, training, etc.) help the organization engage our associates, learn more about who they are, and determine how best to leverage and develop them. For the individual associate, these processes are being continually improved and integrated to provide him or her with a work environment in which development and advancement are based on interests, experience, goal achievement, formal education and competencies exhibited on the job.
This environment is brought to life largely through associate-manager and associate-peer relationships. Our philosophy at Luxottica Retail is that our line-of business leaders own talent management. However, it is up to H.R. (of which Training & Development is a functional component) to provide the tools, policies, communications and programs to foster these relationships. Take our LMS, for example. Accessed through our intranet, it serves as the hub used to better target training and development opportunities to our associates and to provide actionable information on the investments we make in our learning programs.
MARRIAGE OF NECESSITY
Our training and development function is housed inside an H.R. Department committed to delivering on promises of personalized learning and enterprise-wide visibility into associate development. To deliver on these promises, we need to know basic information about our people. For instance:
>>What role does the associate play?
>>To whom does he or she report?
>>In what department does he or she work?
>>In what region does he or she work?
Before we began our LMS implementation, we knew we needed an interface between the LMS and our HRMS in order to deliver on these promises. Therefore, a key criterion in our LMS procurement process was the ease with which the system would interface with our HRMS. The vendors we evaluated explained to us that the majority of their clients had either already employed interfaces like this or were planning to do so.
Once we selected a provider and moved into implementation, dependencies on the integrity of data housed in our HRMS quickly became apparent to us. As system use continues to grow and we add functionality to enrich our associate experience, this appreciation has grown. The remainder of this article discusses several examples of how sharing of clean data between these systems delivers value to the associate and to the organization.
Luxottica Retail is a competency-driven culture. As a large enterprise operating in a competitive environment, we rely on well-defined job profiles to help differentiate our greatest asset — the workforce. These profiles are largely based on a model that defines functional, managerial and leadership competencies for each position across brands.
These role-based competencies are part of the bedrock of our integrated talent management strategy (see figure on next page). They are key to Luxottica Retail’s ability to integrate our talent management processes. For example, we recruit against these competencies based on organizational needs. We also build and assign learning programs and informal learning resources (e.g., job aids) to develop these competencies in our associates based on performance reviews and other tools we use to assess our talent.
From a systems point of view, these competencies need to be mapped to job codes in our HRMS in order to serve up role-specific learning via the LMS. For example:
>>Job codes tied to our opticians help us to keep tabs on their compliance-related training and licensing.
>>Job codes tied to first-time managers also enable skill-gap analysis and training assignment based on competency assessments.
Our LMS allows us great flexibility by building business rules that combine job code with other employee-related fields managed by our HRMS. For example, learning may be assigned based on a specified number of days from start date in that job code; a specific date based on job title and location (e.g., optical licensure and compliance differ from state-to-state); and/or a specified number of days from date of hire.
Tip: Ask yourself if your competency model and learning programs are defined enough to codify before proceeding down the technical path of mapping competencies to job roles. LMSs offer other means of personalization (e.g., a browsable catalog) that can be used to while you are making preparations to push prescriptive learning mapped to competencies to your employee population.
Organizational structure is a foundational element to any enterprise system. This is especially true of a system that touches virtually everyone inside the organization — like an LMS. As “end-users,” our associates and managers will ultimately drive the value of the LMS by leveraging it to perform in their current roles and the roles to which they aspire. To do this, you need a basic piece of information.
For the LMS to provide managers the ability to be proactive about planning their team’s development activities, the system needs to know who reports to them. These reporting relationships are maintained using the supervisor ID field housed in our HRMS. In addition to planning, this field determines who can nominate and/or approve requests for associate training that requires approval (e.g., participation in an executive development program). Supervisor IDs also drive the appropriate permissions critical to organizational training reports. For example, it enables managers to search and access the transcript of anyone within their reporting hierarchy.
Associate learning history is one component of our H.R. analytics and enterprise business-intelligence practices. Both of these strategies are built on the concept of providing associates and managers personalized access to information that will help them make better decisions — not just about their careers but about day-to-day operational concerns. Therefore, leveraging a single organizational hierarchy to drive role-based permissions to all talent management systems and other systems (e.g., sales, financials, etc.) is a sensible approach.
Tip: Work with your H.R. colleagues to simplify the job title structure and hierarchy as much as is practical. Also, put into place standard operating procedures (SOPs) for managers and employees to keep employee reporting relationships as up-to-date as practical. This includes SOPs for regular maintenance dealing with new hires, promotions, transfers and terminations. SOPs should also be in place to deal with special events such as a re-organization or a merger. Regardless of how you care for titles and reporting hierarchy, accept the fact that you will simply never have perfectly clean, up-to-date information about your employees.
—Valerie Norvell is associate vice president of training and development for Mason, Ohio-based Luxottica Retail, an operating company that comprises a collection of optical brands, including Sunglass Hut LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical and Target Optical. Much of her time is spent with Luxottica Retail’s brand leaders, corporate executives and her fellow talent management leaders on strategic initiatives such as succession management, performance management and leadership development.