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Five Myths about Talent Management

Posted by David A. Couper, MA on March 19, 2015 9:30 AM

2008 study, “only 5 percent of organizations say they have a clear talent management strategy and operational programs in place today.”

3.  HR owns Talent Management

OK, when things go wrong, such as not being able to hire top sales people or nurses, then this is probably true.  Certainly when my company has coached senior HR executives, including the Head of HR for a large healthcare organization, when the chips were down with talent acquisition, the blame was not shared fairly!

But for Talent Management to be successful, we need more than the HR department working on this.  Ideally, this is a collaboration between HR, Training & Development or Leadership/Employee Development, Organizational Effectiveness and Organizational Development AND operations or the business.  Senior leadership and sponsorship is also vital.  Again this is something that is lacking.  According to the 2008 study, only 50% of organizations had a senior person actively involved.

4.  Get Recruitment Right and Your Talent Management Problems are Solved

I wish this was true, seeing how difficult it can be to hire the right talent, but recruiting the right person is only the first step on the journey.  Many organizations put many or even all of their resources into finding the cool candidates and getting them to sign on the dotted line only to find that they move on after a few years or that they can’t do what is expected of them. 

Engagement and Development are just as important.  Engaging your workforce so they feel committed to your vision and mission is crucial.  Engagement is defined by the Conference Board as, “[a] heightened emotional connection that an employee feels for his or her organization, that influences him or her to exert greater discretionary effort to his or her work.”  Development of your people so that they can do their work more effectively, manage and lead more skillfully, and meet new challenges is also key.

5. Your Talent Management Strategy is Your End Goal  

It’s fantastic that you have a strategy but, unfortunately, that is only the beginning.  For some organizations and consulting companies who support them, the plan becomes the beginning and the end.  A lot of effort is put into research and bench-marking of what other companies are doing in the marketplace and a great report is produced – with a lot of color graphs and infographics.  Everyone agrees and pats themselves on their collective backs.  Then the next crisis comes along or a change of leadership or just normal work happens, and the strategy gets forgotten.

The strategy has to come alive through implementation.  This takes time and needs consistent focus and effort.  It’s also hard to do everything at once, so talent management focuses on succession planning or leadership development and forgets employee development. 

If the strategy is going to transform a culture so that behaviors change and people meet the current and new challenges, it has to be comprehensive.  Planning and communicating that is important.  Keeping an eye on the big picture while making sure the details are in place is necessary to keep moving forward, keeping your employees along the way.

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