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Talent Management – Strategic Agenda - Prioritisation & Integration

Focus on three critical differentiating talent management practices to prioritise and integrate, that are critical to leverage talent management fully.

By Mandeep Kaur

Today’s organisations face talent challenges related to engaging, retaining, and leading their talent. At the moment, few organisations have enough talented leaders in place – it is an important and urgent issue for all organisations, as capable leadership talent is very rare.

In my last 2 articles, Talent Series Part 1 & 2 (People and Management May & June 2017 editions) have shared insights about “Building a Talent Strategy – 3 Principles & 3 Steps”, and “Co-creating Talent Strategy with Business/Ensuring business stays on course with the Talent Strategy - 3 steps”.

Let’s look at another critical aspect of Talent Strategy – integrating and prioritising the talent management practices. Fully “integrated” talent management processes and systems, and help organisations to create a pipeline of viable successors build a learning focused culture to support innovation and creativity and enable employees to revise or review their goals regularly, which makes them more effective.

Though organisations have invested in “integrated” talent management, many HR leaders wonder which talent management practices to invest in more. Despite the benefits organisations derive from “integrated” talent management, many leaders require inputs on which approach to adopt to meet their current challenges. It seems tough for HR leaders to decide which talent management practices to invest in more, which ones they can reduce or cut their investment in and which new practices require attention.

Invest in 3 critical differentiating talent management practices

There are three “differentiating” talent management practices that are each critical to achieving higher levels of talent management effectiveness.

They are:

1. Improving the organisation’s understanding of and relationship with talent;

2. Increasing the culture of leadership and learning in the organisation;

3. Expanding the investment in D&I.

Sharing more details on each of these:

Improving the organisation’s understanding of and relationship with talent

Changing expectations of employees requires leaders to rethink the talent relationship with individual talent. Fundamentally, this means organisations need to better enable, understand and interact with employees, both at the individual and team level. Doing this requires organisations to fundamentally shift their approaches to communicating with and responding to talent. High-performing organisations tend to have a systemic “two-way” dialogue with talent, which enables leaders to understand and respond to employees more effectively. To develop this relationship, organisations need to:

a. Implement real-time feedback systems (e.g., pulse surveys, recognition systems).

b. Leverage blogs and social media.

c. HR technology systems to improve managers’ ability to respond to employees. Not only provide a basic method of record information but also give managers talent insights that help them manage people more effectively.

Increasing the culture of leadership and learning in the organization

Another area for many organisations to evolve is their organisational culture, specifically to increase the focus on leadership and learning. This means not only providing formal learning opportunities but also creating an environment where leader growth and learning are encouraged informally. Leaders learn best by connecting with and learning from others. Individuals in leadership positions need a variety of learning methods that include formal and on-the-job learning, coaching, learning with and from each other, and the relevant tools to do so.

Specifically this can be addressed by creating an environment where learning is widely encouraged, which can be enabled by senior leaders role modelling and reinforcing desired behaviours, incentive systems to encourage learning and encouraging managers to create and reward informal learning opportunities.

Expanding the investment in D&I (Diversity & Inclusion)

Organisations need to focus on D&I efforts. Senior leaders should align D&I goals with overall business objectives and connect some elements of their incentive to the achievement of D&I goals. There should be a very concerted effort to integrate D&I into the talent activities that employees experience frequently, such as learning, career management, and performance management. Integration points should also be strengthened for succession management and talent acquisition. Focus on providing an inclusive environment, can lead to higher employee engagement, lower turnover better hires, more effective training and more efficient leadership and succession pools.

Leading organisations see diversity and inclusion as a comprehensive strategy woven into every aspect of the talent lifecycle—to enhance employee engagement, improve brand, and drive performance

Conclusion

Talent management practices can be integrated by either using a phased approach or by focusing on the specific business objective your organisation is attempting to achieve and then prioritizing integration efforts given that outcome.

Regardless of the approach, the goal should be to embed them in the culture of the organisation and to support the most critical business needs.

Organisations that have a clear and integrated talent strategy have a high level of talent management maturity and are more effective at coaching and developing people for better performance, managing performance problems and identifying and developing leaders.

 

Mandeep Kaur
Talent Management/Leadership Development Leader
IBM

* Mandeep Kaur is currently Talent Management/Leadership Development Leader at IBM. Human Resources leader with over twenty years of diverse experience in varied sectors and geographies.

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