What about talent management?

Newsroom 15/04/2015 | 14:48

By Madi Radulescu, MBA, ACC, Managing Partner MMM Consulting International (www.mmmconsulting.ro)

It is critical for organizations to have the right talent in the right place. And yet, no matter how critical it is, it seems is still very difficult. Why is it so difficult?

First of all companies tend to make the topic very sophisticated and complicated, with a lot of definitions and a lot of buzz words that finally decrease the power of the subject. In 2012 EY publishes a study “Growing Beyond – Paradigm shift Building a new talent management model to boost growth”. The study explains companies still find it difficult to make an explicit link between their strategic objectives and the talent required to meet those goals. And not only, companies find difficult to explain what they mean by talent. Even high performing companies have this problem and only 54% agree that they have a strong pipeline of future leadership talent.

Why is there a need for shifting perspectives?

– Even high performing companies need to make sure their way to look and measure performance is a simple yet strong one. The measurement and performance appraisal needs to lose their formal appearance and become truly authentic. Few important competencies that reflect future need for growth are enough but they need to be the true focus of every single manager in the company. Too many companies measure competencies relevant for yesterday performance and reach the moment to develop them too late, one or two years after they understood they need them.

– We still meet managers who claim they have no time to discuss about performance, strategy and vision of the future with their employees. Being too operational, micromanaging and neglecting the real issue of manager – employee relationships – generating results in a competitive market – lead managers to become overwhelmed, too stressed and escaping whatever work-life balance they may imagine.

– We still meet managers who are afraid that discovering one talent and supporting him to grow, develop and be exposed to new challenges will hinder their professional perspectives.

– We still meet managers who believe that career planning, succession planning and talent management in general is an HR issue.

One common sentence we meet in HR processes is that past performance may indicate future success. But past performance is not always a predictor of potential. Managers who excel in the early stages of their career will not necessarily maintain that high level of performance, and this means that high-potential programs may not always select the best people for future senior-level roles.

And we all know that high potential programs may be very expensive and resources consumer.

The main shift in talent management companies need to address is, in my perspective, the following:

– Clear, simple definition on what my people need to have as universal behaviors that will bring success

– Clear, simple definition of company vision about success and direct link between people talents and the way they will contribute to this

– Permanent orientation towards performance, open discussion and accountability of every employee – everybody can be gifted for a certain area of results and needs to be screened, identified and developed in a specific manner

– Strong education of managers related to people understanding, behavioral observation and coaching for performance

– And… measurement. Measuring behaviors and identifying links between performance and the way people work together must become a rule of thumb.

– This is why, defining carefully what talent is the step number zero for any company who prepares itself for the future. Like for a child who is gifted and talented and parents invest time, money, attention and care to cultivate its talent and drive him to a future bright career, the way to look at talents is the same for a company. And a gifted child, who aims to become a world sport champion or a super musician needs some universal behavioral competencies – and is the same for every company:

– EFFICIENCY: make an optimal use of resources and methods available in order to achieve individual or collective objectives.

– ORGANISATIONAL ABILITY: orchestrate own or others activities meaningfully to cope with current and future challenges of an organization.

– INNOVATION: search for improvement in performance or service through new approaches or methods.

– ADAPTABILITY: adapt to a variety of situations, adopt a positive attitude facing uncertainty.

– LEADING: embody the missions, make decisions and lead others to follow a direction and achieve the objectives.

– INTERACTING: interact efficiently with partners by dealing with them in an open, trusting and respectful relationship.

– LISTENING: pay attention to others according to their personal and cultural specificities.

People with these high tendencies will have individual, collective and organizational contributions that lead to performance expected by every company. Is this something difficult to find? Once measured, they may be developed and properly used.

But talent, recognized through careful observations and measurement of behaviors require something more: measure now for the future. How do we prepare for skills and attitudes relevant for the future organization? How do we prepare the company for what it needs to be in ten years from now on and still competitive? How do we project and imagine our performance in ten years from now on?

And here come another shift we all need to make in our thinking: visioning the future is not anymore a CEO and Board game. It is a day to day game for every manager that needs to inspire performance, use nowadays technology and social interactions, deal with ambiguity if the future and be able to adapt constantly. Is we are reading between the lines, every manager should be scanned and his universal behaviors measured, supported to face the challenges.

Whatever was called talent management yesterday, it is transforming more and more in people management today and tomorrow. As simple as that. Because simplicity and clarity will bring success to every talent management initiative.

Managing Partner and founder MMM Consulting Intl (www.mmmconsulting.ro), Madi Radulescu has over 20 years of entrepreneurship, training and consulting experience. She worked in 9 European markets with participants from 14 countries mainly at top management and Board member level, in management development programs, workshops, team facilitation processes, performance management and strategy. MBA at the Warwick University UK, DPM OU UK, MSc. Engineering; ACC – ICF  Executive Coach.

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