Talent Management Is A Strategy Game

June 29, 2018

In recent history, companies would wait for government institutions to develop policies before developing true talent management strategies to serve increased consumer expectations.  Even with the market having now overcome this deliberate stalling, the challenge of maintaining staff loyalty and maintaining the people invested in to achieve expected performance remains.

Talent Management is key in organizations, regardless of external policies. This goes without saying.  Not long ago, Talent Management planning was done almost perfectly. The different paths traced to each of our future leaders were easy to handle highways.

But something failed. Despite having excellent technological systems that allow us to visualize the different options of succession, and despite having proven methods for assessing people’s potential, these plans are not achieving the expected result. People still lack loyalty and leave companies.

For example, what would happen if the commercial director of a company only achieved 30% of its sales budget? We all know what the decision would be. The decisions we make, whether we promote a new director or request an Executive Search professional to find a new director, will have a direct impact on our Talent Management Strategy. This strategy must focus on assessing people both internal or external one their commitment to corporate core values with no compromise.

“We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you’re willing to hire and fire based on them. If you’re willing to do that, then you’re well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos

If we understand and can identify these core values in those people with talent as well as those who contribute to the results of the organization and measure how close they are with our strategy, we will have an efficient Talent Management strategy.   

In my experience, paying attention to a Talent Management Strategy (TMS) is fundamentally critical. Left to chance, the use of different development and loyalty practices will make the effort sterile.

Therefore, talent planning which is part of the TMS, is the delicate balance between the managerial practices that make the business work and their unknowns of the future.  Key to this balance is the market dynamics and people’s expectations which often can quickly make our succession plans obsolete.

Different business practices require competencies that we once considered invisible. The convergence of more personalized development plans and coaching practices will increase the effectiveness of the positions while considering the work/personal life balance needs along with new leadership expectations. This will make our task of developing the TMS a little more complicated and even more challenging.

As HR professionals, we must be able to prepare the organization to hire and develop the ‘’agility’’ in our directors so that they can exercise multiple roles. This will provide the organization with opportunities in building a new Employer Brand attracting potential candidates from new channels and/or sources of recruitment.  For example, the organization could implement the “conversations/career dialogues” as a common communication practice among leaders and collaborators in an approach to manage talent as well as attracting new talents.

Therefore, talent management requires Human Resources professionals and their internal clients to understand how they define talent, what they consider to be “The Talent” and what might be the necessary background. Talent can be considered as a complex conjunction between skills, knowledge, cognitive ability and the potential of an employee. Employee values and work preferences are also of immense importance.

The innovative approach (customization or personalization approach) should be moving away from the traditional asking how a person’s talent can serve the company, to how the structure of the organization can be adjusted to attract, develop and retain talented people. People are attracted by increasingly interesting opportunities that go beyond borders.

“People want guidance, not rhetoric; they need to know what the plan of action is and how it will be implemented. They want to be given responsibility to help solve the problem and the authority to act on it.” –Howard Schultz, Starbucks

However, this customization can be difficult. Organizations often have two great barriers to overcome in personalization: the budget and their brand message. The threat is to move to the other extreme and make customization too narrowed in talent assessment and development.

Challenges of the Talent Pipeline

The term “Talent Pipeline” is a term used to collect the different elements of the talent management process part of the strategy. (TMS)

In addition to ensuring that each element is given the same attention, there are several aspects that must be addressed in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the success of managing these talents.

At the base, organizations that take advantage of their talent management processes involves having the right people at various stages to support the initiative, from the steering committee, the human resources area and going through the middle management.

“I believe the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can be very often traced to the question of how well the organization brings out the great energies and talents of its people.” — Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

Why do talent programs produce satisfactory results in some organizations and not in others? It may seem attractive for any type of organization – because of its double focus on results for organization and growth for people – but not all of them give importance to each element as part of a simultaneous and continuous cog.

CHECKLIST TO LEAD TO LOYALTY

In practical terms, there are few organizations that can have an integral scheme, because it implies a very high degree of coordination that can lead to the reorganization of functions. The usual thing is that they focus their attention on some concrete process, which we can consider the formula that attaches people to the talent attraction strategy of the organization. The most common among them are the following:

Attraction: today organizations develop their Employer Branding, using the same communication platforms as for external communication and Marketing. In that communication, they capture the true essence of the organization, establishing the identity of the organization as an employer and how they differ from competitors based on their strengths, culture and management style.

Recruitment: This is where the life cycle of employees begins. Therefore, it is the stage in which talent management must be more efficient. It requires a previous analysis of current collaborators, the potential supply of the market and the future demand of contributors to the organization.

Identification of Key People and Key Jobs: STRATEGY Analysis and identification of those people that we can not let go and those positions that we should never have a vacancy. For them, all planning efforts and practices to apply.

Clarification of the EVP (Employee Value Proposition): Most organizations lack an effective EVP program. The development of a competitive EVP allows an organization to access passive and high-performance candidates in the market and improves employee engagement by up to 30%. Many proposals fail due to misalignment between employees’ preferences and EVP or inadequate differentiation of competitors. As a result, only one out of four employees would recommend your organization.

Use of Executive Onboarding: Onboarding is the process which puts together reconciling the learning, adjustment, and alignment of newly hired or promoted executives, with their new role in the organization and in the shortest possible time. Thus, the executive can generate value for the organization, as quickly as possible. In which positions is it recommended to use Onboarding? Traditional induction programs must be used at all levels in the company, without exception. However, an Executive Onboarding program must be fundamental in the recruitment and promotion processes of the highest levels of the organization, both for the cost of the process and for the added value that they are expected to produce.

Engagement: Achieve employee engagement. In general, the combination of rational and emotional commitment to the organization, to reach a discretional effort without causing stress, obtaining loyalty from the employee. Personal engagement depends more on the heart than the mind.

Involvement of the Board: The commitment of senior executives is key to the future success of employees. The more executives are committed to the development of their employees and act with those commitments, the probability of success in critical positions increases by approximately 30%. To this, constant communication and clarification of expectations are essential.

Loyalty: Loyalty to the most productive and best-qualified professionals is, among all facets of talent management, the most worrying to managers today. Unlike what happened a few years ago, when the withdrawal of candidates was the priority, at present, given the shortage of talent that exists, we are obliged to learn to cope with the circumstances and be prepared to continue being competitive not only externally but also internally.

Performance Management: Performance management represents an important opportunity for feedback and development. For the most part, however, they are an exercise in processes that the organization requires and that once they are completed, are almost never seen or used again. Instead, we should conduct a permanent performance assessment that can track development initiatives and measure their success, allowing changes to be made when necessary.

Development Conversations: Break communication barriers and encourage a better talk about professional development between managers and their employees, increases the attractiveness of the organization for professionals and can increase loyalty rates. A culture that values personal development and progression of the career, you can see the results of your investment in committed and productive partners.

Identification of the Potential: Ensure that the identification method of thigh potential employees (through the different methodologies) includes reliable indicators of the three predictors of success that the CEB (Corporate Executive Board) postulates: engagement, capacity/ability, and aspiration/ambition.

Career path: Establish the sequence of development activities that involve formal and informal education, training, and work experiences that contribute to a person being able to assume more complex roles in the future.

Coaching: Coaching practices by levels, allowing leaders to make appropriate changes in the approach and type of training and collaboration activities as their employees move up in the organization.

Career Transition Programs: It is a process of assistance from a company to its employees recently disconnected from it. The programs provide support and tools to those employees who must transit the change. Among other benefits, they help reduce the negative impact that a reduction in personnel can generate, and positively influence other workers. This is how a positive corporate image is achieved, both internally and externally.

Leadership Development (LD): as proposed by the CLC L & D (Corporate Leadership Council) establish a progressive and dynamic series of work-related interactions between the senior leader and the rising leader, designed to improve the performance of the leader in the promotion and increase the readiness for future leadership roles.

Succession Management: Many organizations perform their formal leadership succession management systems around the key skills of a position and the people that are most difficult to replace the market. In addition, they identify and develop successors for specific positions in the senior management team. The succession is the continuation in the organization, of a collaborator instead of another, with equal or superior human and technical characteristics. This continuation or relief is planned and organized with order and method.

Talent Review: periodically establish the process where HR informs to the Management about the people they have to carry out its Strategies according to their current and future needs and achieving consensus on the calibration and validation of the different alternatives

Total compensation: it is a critical element at this moment and we will be competing in obtaining the best talents, “but at the lowest cost”. Do not waste money, it will be an important task for companies, which should ensure the effectiveness of their compensation policies, including non-economic aspects that are valued by people and represent a relative cost for the company.

Measure, measure, measure: establish feedback metrics of all the practices of Talent Management, either in the effectiveness of the employees or in the business and that mainly allows us to make decisions.

Now, what?

Despite the continuous penetration of talent management, most organizations only have notions of how to assess the effectiveness of their talent management practices, determine their capabilities or develop a strategic roadmap for the evolution of their processes.

The evolution of the market and the environment makes it a priority to define, manage and measure talent to compete effectively. For this, each organization will need to decide where and with whom it plays, with what resources it counts and what it intends to win. Talent management is a game of strategy, not random actions.

This article was written by Alejandro Bagnato of Glasford International Argentina. Contact Alejandro if you have any questions about how you approach your Talent Management in Argentina.

Functional Specializations

Board and C-level positions

Executives & Senior Management

Senior Commercial positions

Finance & Procurement

IT & Telecommunication

Staff Management