Verizon: A Network of Devoted Talent

 -  4/4/09

Getting the message across is a part of Verizon's approach to talent management.

Getting the message across is not only a description of Verizon Telecom’s services; it’s part of the company’s approach to talent management. Verizon’s Accountability Model ensures all employees commit and deliver on the business imperative. As a result, a high performance culture thrives.

In return, Verizon delivers its employees opportunities for personal development. The total Verizon employee development and training investment reached $371 million in 2007, and employees logged 11.5 million training hours in 2007, an increase from 8 million in 2006. Training covers everything from compliance issues to management techniques, but the increase in hours largely was driven by employees improving broadband-, mobile- and IP-related skills.

Connia Nelson, senior vice president of HR for Verizon Telecom, supports approximately 124,000 employees. She took time out to discuss the company’s talent management and workforce performance strategies.

TM: Describe Verizon’s approach to talent management.

Nelson: With us, talent management begins at acquisition, and we really focus on building leaders at every level. As we bring people in, we look to really develop them and manage them. We have a complete talent management system. We do traditional called succession planning, but we don’t just do that on an annual basis. We do that consistently throughout the year. In addition to that, we focus on replacement planning. Particularly this year, we are stepping that up even more in our Accountability Model.

TM: What processes or programs have you established to improve workforce performance?

Nelson: We hold leaders accountable for driving performance management. It is embedded in our culture. We definitely have a performance-based culture. We focus on what we call performance agreement. At the beginning of every year, every employee throughout the entire organization receives a performance agreement, and we believe that helps build a high-performance culture.

In our business, that helps us deliver growth, customer excellence and profitability, and it is linked to our overall strategic imperative. Every employee knows the business imperative for our company, and it’s no mistake that we call it a performance agreement. We want them to commit and to agree to deliver on that. It’s all a part of our Accountability Model. That’s embedded in our values, as well. One of our core values is personal accountability. Performance excellence is another one, along with respect and integrity. So it is in our very fabric to deliver what we promise.

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