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Are You Truly Invested in Your Talent?
21.02.2018 00:00

Investment in human capital is proven to increase a company’s ability to produce and profit. With so many challenges facing today’s Human Resources executives in a constantly changing environment, Talent Management (TM) is sometimes pushed to the peripheral. It should, however, be a cornerstone for companies that value their talent.

A survey conducted on behalf of the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations identified several challenges for HR management. Six of the top ten challenges listed reside under the TM umbrella: Leadership Development, Compensation, Recruitment, Succession Planning, Learning and Development, and Retention.

One problem HR managers face is that traditional methods of TM are proving less effective as diverse workforces and corporate cultures evolve. A change is necessary. Companies must anticipate, plan and innovate in their approach to the three basic tenants of Talent Management:

Hire a qualified, dynamic and engaged workforce.

Develop a workforce to achieve maximum potential.

Retain the best and continue the company’s success.

Technology is presenting new and innovative ways to address these three tenants. From artificial intelligence for predictive hiring, to gamification and micro-learning for engagement and training, there are many options for the modern workplace. Just don’t lose sight of what your “talent” actually is: human.


Hire a Qualified & Engaged Workforce

Creating an attractive culture is an important consideration, but not as important as finding employees who are capable of doing the job, enjoy the work, and have proven they can do it well.

Mona Kirkland, a Director of Leadership Development for HCR Manorcare, which is one of the largest providers of short-term, post-hospital services and long-term care in the U.S., advises her managers and supervisors to “keep it simple.”

“Take the time. Ask relevant questions. Let them talk,” said Kirkland. “Ask situational and behavioral questions, paint them an accurate picture of the job and your expectations, and observe their reactions.”

Steve Tobak, a Silicon Valley-based management consultant and featured columnist for Entrepreneur.comagrees.

“Having interviewed and hired people for hundreds of positions over the years, I can say one thing for sure: common sense works, tricks don’t,” he wrote.

Even Google – once known for asking all sorts of loony interview questions like, “You suddenly find yourself stuck at the bottom of an enormous martini glass. What do you do?” – now admits they were “a complete waste of time” and “don’t predict anything,” said Google SVP Laszlo Bock in a New York Times interview.

Something to consider: Don’t discount the importance of reputation in the digital age. In the same way a positive public reputation influences potential customers and business partners, companies need to build their internal corporate reputations in order to attract top talent. People talk, and those people are more connected than ever now.

Develop Your Talented Workforce

Some people are born natural leaders. Others, through effective management by supervisors and human resources professionals, can attain valuable leadership skills and become great assets to their organizations. Leadership development requires providing opportunities, such as training exercises, mentorship, and incentives, to encourage employees to achieve their maximum potentials.

It's a feedback loop, however. Employees require processes, systems, and policies to continue their efforts to become leaders, and HR professionals must continually implement and maintain these aspects to encourage leadership.

So, what can you do?

Design a compensation system that motivates employees. Build an effective training program. Restructure benefit packages. Implement strategic organizational change for increased quality, productivity and employee satisfaction.

Regardless of how an organization chooses to develop talent, open and effective communication must flow in all directions for an individual, team or organization to succeed in that development.

Something to consider: Multiple studies show that a lack of employee engagement significantly decreases overall productivity and retention. Encourage managers to be good coaches, and encourage employees to take advantage of opportunities for further development.

Retain Your Top Talent & Forge Ahead

The HR Leadership Council estimates that one-in-four “high potential” employees plan to leave their organization within a year. If a company is looking for outside talent, that’s great news. If a company hopes to retain its best talent, that’s very bad news.

“The talent problems of employers, employees, and the broader society are intertwined,” Peter Cappelli wrote in an article for Harvard Business Review. “Employers want the skills they need when they need them, delivered in a manner they can afford. Employees want prospects for advancement and control over their careers.”

It is a balancing act, and the results depend on a variety of elements. The economy, management decisions, employee engagement, corporate culture, internal and external opportunities, and even location can play a part in retaining top-level talent.

Obviously, some of those factors are beyond the control of even the most capable HR managers. The consensus again, however, is that two-way – or all-ways – communication is key. Listen, respond, and take a realistic approach to managing expectations.

Something to consider: An important element of retention is Knowledge Management. Preserving institutional knowledge by retention or succession planning is vital for continuity of operations in most cases. Whenever possible, avoid losing those best practices gained through experience, or the “tricks of the trade” due to personnel turnover.

IQPC Exchange surveyed senior-level talent executives to learn which investment areas are top priority for 2017-2018. Take a look at the results now.

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