Framework 69 Talent Management

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Talent management is getting the right people with the right skills in the right jobs. It is one of the biggest challenges facing organisations.
Sometimes it is called human capital management.

Need to take into consideration staffs' expectations around issues like life balance (family, etc), career (security, advancement, continual learning, etc), desire to determine own future, etc

Organisations need to recruit and select talented people, develop them, manage their performance, compensate and reward them and retain the strongest performers.

The keys to getting talent management right include
- don't mimic the practices of other top performing companies, ie just because it works for them, doesn't mean it suitable for your organisation
- align talent management practices with your strategy and values
- individual talent management practices need to be consistent with one another

There are 2 distinct views on how to best evaluate and manage talent, ie
i) differentiated approach (focus on top talent by giving them preferential treatment with rewards, incentives and attention, eg GE's vitality curves (see elsewhere for more details). Definition of top talent can vary from organisation to organisation. One of the key ones should be employees'' cultural fit and values, eg do they display the key values and behaviours that the organisation wants in its future leaders. Also, the percentage of staff in the high potential grouping differs across organisations, eg GE (20%), Unilever (15%), Infosys (3%), etc)

ii) inclusive approach (attempt to address the needs of employees at all levels of the organisation with tactics used for different groups based on an assessment of how best to leverage the value that each group of employees can bring the organisation)
NB most organisations have a hybrid, ie a combination of both

"...Depending on the specific talent pool (such as senior executive, technical expert and early career high-potential), there will usually be different career paths and development strategies. A hybrid approach allows for differentiation, and it skirts the controversial issue of whether some employee groups are intrinsically more valuable than others..."

Gunter K Stahl et al, 2012

Guiding Principles
The competitive advantage in talent management doesn't come from identifying key activities like recruitment and training, and then implementing best practice.
NB Best practice is only best in the contexts for which they were designed
Rather, top performing organisations subscribe to a set of 6 principles that are consistent with their strategy and culture:
i) alignment with strategy (given an organisation's strategy, what kind of talent is needed; aligning talent with business planning & strategy; internal v. external focus - including innovation; require strategic flexibility, ie able to adapt to changing business conditions)

ii) internal consistency (the whole is more than the sum of the parts; aligning practices like development training high potential individuals should include employee retention, competitive compensation and career management; transparency)

iii) culture embeddednesss (align with the organisation's culture, values, beliefs, philosophy, ethics, etc; values-based performance management systems; ensure that values are shared and not imposed from the top; focus on values, beliefs and cultural fit, like right attitude and "learnability", for practice and people rather than existing skills, experience or academic credentials, ie hire and promote based on values; integrate core values and business principles into hiring methods, leadership development activities, performance management systems, compensation, benefits, etc; formal qualifications are not always the best predictors of performance; skills are easier to develop than personality traits and values; using standardised induction programs to reinforce culture fit, etc; adopt practices to suit the needs of a changing workforce, like growing interest in healthy work-life balance, eg flexible working hours, job sharing, telecommuting, etc plus issues around sustainability, compliance, social responsibility, etc)
NB culture is not static, it is evolving. use 2-dimensional performance management systems, ie the extent to which they achieve their individual performance objectives plus the values and behaviours they display in order to deliver the results.

iv) management involvement (buy in from all levels of management as need broad ownership; by getting them involved in recruitment, accountable for developing the talent of their staff, etc; job rotation to work against silo thinking)

v)  global integration with local responsiveness (standardisation v. localisation; centralisation v. decentralisation
"...while locally adapted approaches create opportunities for diverse talent pools, they limit a company's ability to build on its global learnings in hiring, assessing, developing and retaining top global talent. This requires more integration across business units..."
Gunter K Stahl et al, 2012)

vi) employer branding through differentiation (differentiating themselves from their competitors; consistent brand identity)

On the other hand, the key talent management practices
i) staffing
ii) training & development
iii) rewards
iv) leadership
v) succession planning
vi) HR delivery mechanisms (including the use and effectiveness of outsourcing, shared services, web-based HR, off-shoring/on-shoring, etc)

Diagram - the talent management wheel divides the elements of talent management into 2, ie practices (outer ring) and guiding principles (inner ring). The 6 guiding principle apply equally to each of the individual talent management practices

Convergence of Practices
There are some factors that encourage convergence of practices. The factors are
- organisations compete for the same talent pool
- trend toward standardisation and centralisation
- popularisation of successful organisations has led to widespread imitation

Flexibility is the workplace is more popular with women than men, ie in 2015 the top 20 ASX listed companies showed around 18.3% of female managers worked part time compared with around 1% of male managers (Fiona Smith, 2015d). Men are worried that not being full-time could damage their career prospects
Research has shown benefits to organisations that encourage flexibility. Because it allows more time with families or pursuing interests outside of work, worker are happier and more productive.

"...this conflict between work and family time does no good for the fathers or their employees. Lack of flexibility in their work hours makes fathers more likely to leave their jobs, less engaged in their work, less productive and more stressed. The quality of the family relationships and parenting will also likely to suffer..."

Fiona Smith, 2015d

"...We know that people working flexibly are significantly more engaged and than those that do not. That ensures greater productivity and offers  greater performance..."

Sara van Vliet as quoted by Fiona Smith, 2015

Organisations can use flexibility to create a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining talent. It can be used as a reward and retention tool as people in flexible arrangements are less likely to leave as it will be too hard to find another flexible role.

How to make part-time work successful as a worker
- be serious
- manage support (need to honour any agreement and be aware of bracket creep)
- retain your ambition (eg choose roles that will broaden your capability and skills, etc)
- get out of your comfort zone (eg be prepared to take challenging opportunities, etc)
- lead by example

"...structuring and redesigning jobs, so that they can be done fewer days, so you can manage the balance of work and home is really important part of the gender equality solution. And it is probably one of the biggest - if not the biggest - structural reason why women don't move to top ranks as quickly as men..."

Yolande Beattie as quoted by Fiona Smith, 2015d

"...what works for one company may not work in another. Indeed, the need for alignment - internally across practices, as well as with strategy, culture and external environment - has profound implications of time management. Even with the global convergence in terms of the practices used, companies cannot simply mimic top performers. They need to adapt their talent management practices to their own strategy and circumstances and align them closely with their leadership philosophy and value system, while at the same time finding ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors...... corporations that excel in managing talent are likely to retain a competitive edge..."

Gunter K Stahl et al, 2012

(sources: Gunter K Stahl et al, 201; Fiona Smith, 2015d)


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