Nine pillars of effective talent management

Without them, it is difficult to build an edifice that will withstand hostile market forces

Here are reasons why the ability to effectively hire, retain, engage and deploy talent, at all levels, is extremely important for organisations. One, There is a demonstrated relationship between better talent and better business performance. According to a study by the Hackett Group, companies that excel at managing talent post earnings 15 percent higher than their competition. Two, talent is a rapidly increasing source of value creation. The financial value of a company often depends upon the quality of its talent.

Three, hyper-competition makes it more difficult than ever to sustain a competitive advantage over the long term.

With new products and new business models having shorter life cycles, there is a need for constant innovation. Four, boards and investors are putting senior leaders under a microscope, expecting them to create value.

This pressure drives a growing emphasis on the quality of talent — not just at the C-level, but at all levels

Five, employees today are increasingly interested in having challenging and meaningful work, more loyal to their profession than to the organisation, less accommodating of traditional structures, more concerned about work-life balance and are prepared to take ownership of their careers and development.

So, what best practices should an organisation adopt and ensure a strong foundation for a talent management system?

Align those strategies

Start with the end in mind — talent strategy must be tightly aligned with business strategy. Far too often, the connection between talent and business strategy is considered long after strategic plans are inked in.

Integrate talent plans

Talent management professionals need to move from a seat at the table to setting the table HR needs to own and put in place professional talent management processes and work with line managers to develop business plans that integrate talent plans, including advice on the ability to meet the business goal with the talent on board.

Design success profiles

You must know what you’re looking for — for that, success profiles are necessary. A success profile defines the knowledge, experience, competencies and personal attributes for exceptional performance in each role or job. Success profiles are designed to manage talent in relation to business objectives across the entire spectrum of talent management activities.

Develop all talent

The talent pipeline is only as strong as its weakest link. While succession planning is obviously important, talent management must encompass a far broader portion of the employee population. Value creation does not come from senior leadership alone. The ability of an organisation to compete depends upon the performance of all its key talent, and its ability to develop and promote that talent.

Ensure differential focus

Organisations realise the best returns when promising individuals, those who create value for the organization, receive a differential focus when it comes to development investments.

See subtle differences

While organisations understand the idea of a high-potential pool, they fail to consider the differences between potential, performance and readiness. Potential: Those who demonstrate leadership promise, have a high personal development orientation, give importance to values while delivering results and demonstrate a mastery of complexity. Performance: How well the person is doing in the current role. Readiness: An individual’s ability to step into a new level of responsibility and meet demands of the role within a short period of time.

Make right choices

Talent management is all about putting the right people in the right jobs. For, not everything can be developed.

Lack of motivation for a specific role or a poor fit between employees’ values and those of the organisation leads to poor performance, and no classroom experience or learning activity will change this fundamental mismatch.

Use CASAM approach

Execute your talent management initiative using the CASAM approach. Follow the five realisation factors for sound execution: Communication, Accountability, Skills, Alignment and Measurement.

Create that blend

Talent management is about a potent blend of content, expertise, and technology. It takes best-in-class content to drive the assessment and development of people, and a system constructed by knowledgeable experts who have seen a range of implementations — they should know what works, and what doesn’t.


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