The 3 keys to successful talent management in Adobe

There are three keys to the effective talent management within Adobe, according to its head of HR

There are three keys to effective talent management within Adobe – the first of which is to seek prospective employees who are “learn-it-alls” as opposed to “know-it-alls”, according to its head of HR.

“Passion, a can-do attitude, integrity, intellectual curiosity and a desire for continuous learning are critical characteristics that we look for,” said Sarah Dunn, head of people resources, APAC for Adobe

“We also hire for Adobe as a whole, and not just for individual teams.

“We believe in investing time to hire the right candidate and ensure a diverse interview panel to attain a balanced view of the candidate’s suitability for the position and fit within the company.”

Once the right people have been hired into the business, Dunn said a second key to talent management in Adobe is to provide ongoing feedback to support career development including internal mobility.

In 2012 Adobe abandoned its traditional annual performance review to create a culture that gives genuine, ongoing feedback in real time, according to Dunn.

The process of “check-ins” gives ownership and control to individuals for their development within the organisation, focused on goal-setting, feedback and growth.

Managers are now having ongoing, genuine conversations with their team members and employees are engaged in feedback, according to Adobe.

As a result, the business is now saving approximately 80,000 hours of managers’ time in the annual review process, while its voluntary attrition continues to trend downward.

“We also hire for Adobe as a whole, and not just for individual teams”

Another key to talent management in Adobe is leadership, and Dunn said she and her team actively look for and foster leadership within the organisation.

“We encourage all employees to ‘lead from where you sit,’” she said.

“Through the Leading@Adobe program, we invest in our employees so they can flourish as leaders and grow via a wealth of online and in-person development courses and opportunities,” said Dunn, who explained that the program ensures that managers are messengers of this philosophy so that everyone in the organisation takes advantage of the resources available to them.

Adobe also takes a holistic approach to encouraging employees to find a harmony between their work, interest and family lives, Dunn added.

“We believe in addressing wellness via a three-pronged approach: financial wellness, emotional wellness and physical wellness,” she said.

“At Adobe, we take care of our ‘family’ with robust wellness programs that build community, support significant life events and promote fitness and fun.

It recently enhanced its parental leave policy, for example, and now provides 26 weeks of paid-time off for primary caregivers.

“We encourage all employees to ‘lead from where you sit”

Adobe’s employee experience team plays an integral role in driving business goals in the business, according to Dunn.

“The team is a strategic business partner and change advocate, whilst fostering an environment of innovation and creativity that enables our employees to do their best work,” she said.

“Partnering with the business means defining Adobe’s overall people strategy.

“This encompasses supporting longer term business outcomes, working at a tactical level on the implementation of business programs and reinforcing Adobe’s culture.

“Additionally, an important aspect of the partnership is to be a change agent by drawing on data to provide actionable business insights.

“Our team’s focus is aligned to the rhythm of the business and all programs and initiatives are developed, implemented and executed with this lens in mind.

“In order to maximise business impact, we prioritise partnering with the appropriate parties, delivering outcomes that drive our business goals, whilst also creating the right experiences for our employees.”

Optimising its organisational structure, defining success profiles for current and future roles and providing line of sight into future career opportunities are some of the ways in which Adobe are able to deliver the best customer and employee experiences possible, she explained.

“An important aspect of the partnership is to be a change agent by drawing on data to provide actionable business insights”

Adobe has also undergone a significant transformation in its business over the past few years, including a transformation of its people practices, and Dunn said this has led to significant growth for the company.

“Over the past four years our staff numbers have more than doubled in Australia and New Zealand,” she said.

“More importantly, the retention of employees is increasing and we celebrate tenure every quarter.”

People, processes and technology are central to attracting new business and ensuring customers are successful, she added.

In addition, Adobe Australia was ranked #5 in the most recent Great Place to Work survey, the highest ranking in its four years on the list.

Globally, the business reported record quarterly revenue of US$1.46 billion for its third quarter fiscal year 2016, representing year-over-year growth of 20 percent.

For Adobe in Australia, Dunn said there is sustained growth and investment in the business and it is often used as a test market for new innovation.

“There isn’t an industry anywhere that is immune from digital disruption,” said Dunn, who explained that the transformation to a creative cloud subscription model was first trialled in Australia and New Zealand before being rolled out globally.

Innovation and investment in new technology are key drivers of success in all areas of our business,” she said.

“We work in an industry that is ahead of the tech curve and our R&D teams invent technology that our customers don’t even know they need yet.

“These investments are leading to experiences that are transforming industries, and disrupting the way we do business.”

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