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Apple-Beats deal, Google, put spotlight on IT talent, diversity

If there’s one thing CIOs should take away from this week’s technology acquisition news, cutting-edge technology — while certainly key — is only one piece of the IT puzzle. As this week’s Searchlight underscores, finding the right talent to leverage these technologies is crucial to IT success.

First up: Apple’s $3 billion buyout of Beats earlier this week. You’re probably thinking, headphones! Speakers! But while it is hardware that first comes to mind — and Apple’s headphones certainly aren’t anything to boast about — it’s the Beats Music streaming-music service, and particularly its innovative architects, that Apple was after. As Apple CEO Tim Cook put it, “Beats provides us a head start. They provide us with incredible people that don’t grow on trees. They’re creative souls, kindred spirits,” referring to Beats Music’s legendary co-founders (and now-Apple execs) Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

The integration of Beats’ music subscription model into the tech giant’s business (which already has 800 million customers) could really push the previously absent Apple into the forefront of the burgeoning music streaming space (and make Spotify squirm). Beats’ speaker and headphone business was only icing on the cake. (Or maybe more than icing: With Apple’s tech chops and Beats’ creative brand, perhaps wearable computing — and going toe-to-toe against Google Glass — is next.)

Speaking of Google, that tech heavyweight is also discovering the value of staff diversity — by disclosing its lack thereof. The company published its first internal diversity report, revealing a workforce that’s 70% male and 61% Caucasian. Talk about untapped talent. The technology industry’s lack of diversity, the longstanding butt of many jokes, is no laughing matter, but at least it sounds like Google’s willing to take the next step.

“We’re the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be, and that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution,” wrote Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of People Operations, in a blog post.

In other tech news: what Google’s purchase of Nest means for privacy; China threatens another blow in its hacking feud with the U.S.; and youngsters (future innovators?) come up with brilliant ideas to conquer global waste.

Get up to speed on the latest tech news at this week’s Searchlight!

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Talent of the future! [Source: Wikimedia Commons]

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Thanks for a great article - it's a really interesting trend and great to see examples of companies that are changing their ways.

As the owner of a company that provides a 360 feedback tool, one of the most common questions I get asked by HR teams is "how often should I be conducting a 360 / performance review?".

Obviously the answer the depends a lot on the organisation's culture and the goals of the performance review exercise. However, I generally suggest 2-4 times a year, with the option for employees to request ad-hoc reviews when required. (Note that I'm not profiteering when I say this - Spidergap's price plans are set up so that we don't charge any more/less for the number of assessments completed in a year per employee).

Your article predominantly talks about about moving from annual to quarterly reviews, but I'm also seeing some organisations now talking about continuous feedback - encouraging people to recognise achievements when-they-happen, rather than a scheduled date. I think more communication and openness is great, but the opportunity to 'take stock' is important, otherwise there is a risk of missing the 'big picture', or when major improvements have been made. What do you think?

Thanks again,

Cisco still has them!
i think it is very important for creating a performance culture...
Definitely moving away from it - if you look at the ROI, you find tremendous amounts of energy put into a system that doesn't get the results. Moving to a simpler more year round system
Its wonderful to see the depth of thinking & development HR has progressed towards. I'm from the defense services where professional moral & roots of HR were given birth to. Optimal HR have been evident in the many wars we've seen.
As on date i'm in an organisation which has more than 80% of its quality manpower quitting. For reasons of racism (which dose't mean colour but class)
More disappointing is the fact that the counsel which councils the exiting employees for the reasons to quit has been scrapped just to keep no records.
So how do we see HR here?
Annual...? Never done that.

Since every job we do is unique (even if there's a steady flow of similar work) we evaluate employees after every job. It's actually easier than it seems since every job has its own budget and its own specs. Bring in your show on budget and on time, deliver quality work, accrue few enemies and your job is good until the next show. Then again, we lose very, very few employees it seems to be working.