While Talent Management certainly has a significant “training” component to the strategy, the focus is on more than skill building, but rather creating a world centered on performance. The exact kind of performance your company will need in the future.
Talent Management involves several practices linked together and propelled by organizational infrastructure. It begins by having a firm written understanding of the core capabilities needed to perform tasks meshed with the actual business intelligence for the industry. For this article’s example we will be using the financial services industry, but we must remember that support functions like IT, Human Resource, Accounting, and Purchasing have unique business intelligence issues that need to be included any industry strategy.
While banking business intelligence is similar from one institution to another, your market, choice of products and services and unique culture make for a different plan and approach. The clarity of goal for talent management is essential before assembling the pieces.
One of the most complete models for a Talent Management Strategy I have found includes the following nine practices:
- Recruiting & Staffing
- Performance Management
- Rewards & Recognition
- Workforce Planning
- Talent Review
- Succession Management
- High Potential Development
- Leadership Development
- Employee Development
These practices are not in any particular order or priority because they all must be in place, and integrated for the strategy to be effective. Rolling out one at a time is a waste of energy and leads to minimal impact. This is probably the main reason many companies have hired a Director of Talent Management to design, implement and monitor the strategy. To be effective, no other function can add all this to their existing workload.
Now while it is more effective to put talent management under the responsibility of a single leader, the practice responsibilities are spread throughout human resources, training, and selected management sponsors. This initiative may begin with the Board of Directors and/or Senior Management; but it eventually is a process that involves every single employee if it is to be successful in achieving a lasting effect.
As you review the list of practices, it becomes clear that the focus is on your employees (the talent) and the conscience attention to setting and achieving desired outcomes to function in today’s economy as well as being prepared for changes in your workforce and working environment. Banks often promote their technologies to clients, and yet it is our human capital that makes the bank possible. Let’s face it, years ago we did it without as much technology, but we still need the human factor to make it happen today.
Now while you might hire someone to management this whole process for you, by the very nature of this much change all at once you would be wise to bring in an external consultant to guide the creation of the strategy. Someone who fully understands what integration means and how it is applied to each of the practices. This consultant acts in many ways as someone who can act without emotional attachment to ancient practices, and is skilled in bringing consensus between processes and people. Yet consensus is not everything. The consultant is not going to be with you forever, so part of their job is to make sure your management team comprehends what integration means, and a year later can identify issues in your strategy, and how to make tweaks to close the loop holes.
Ultimately you and your fellow leaders must decide how important a Talent Management Strategy is to your company. I believe that if you have serious plans to grow or even to just exist in the next 10 years you need to build a strategy. And once you have this strategy implemented, you must be prepared for the outcomes of the synergy created and the unlimited possibilities your company can take from that point in time.