Talent Management Could Be a Fundamental Re-Set

The T-word is everywhere. Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Future of Talent,  Talent Strategy.  Are we just trying to put a classier label on the old HR?

Not at all.  Talent Management (to pick one) is everywhere because it is destined to be possibly the most comprehensive reset of the modern business organization.

For at least two decades we have been saying that people are a firm’s greatest asset. But the “and so what” has been hard to answer. How do you “manage” such a dynamic asset in ways to improve the overall performance?

Leaps in technology have revolutionized, sales, marketing, supply chain and logistics. But how do you measure and assess the contribution of an asset made up of hundreds or thousands of volatile, individual units?

Let’s go back to the beginning. A job  came open. HR made a requisition. The recruiters (in or out) found the candidate, the machine was made whole again and God was in his heaven.

Recruiting is still a big part of Talent Management, but with a big difference.  Recruiting no longer stops at replicating the functions of the old job as the search criteria. TM now sits at the top table. It works with the organization’s leadership to understand the corporate strategy, identify the human capital needed to deliver it, acquire that capital, train, develop and monitor it.

So far, that is on a selective basis and tied primarily to recruiting.  But with amazingly sophisticated advances in technology, especially AI, would not a logical goal be the analysis and fine-tuning of every job in the organization relative to its contribution to the corporate strategy?

(Don’t miss a Cornerstone webinar next Tuesday, Oct 20th, when global leaders discuss The Future of Talent)

The field of operation is no longer one position, it is all positions and their cumulative efficiency.  The review period is no longer 90 days, it is ongoing. The success metric is no longer individual performance, it is the bottom line.

Getting here was no surprise. The talent pool continues to become much more competitive and individual capability much more varied and sophisticated.  The Conference Board, which surveys CEOs annually, reports their number one concern in 2020 is not being able to assemble the right talent needed to execute on their vision.

It is a shared nightmare in part because delivering the vision today is a lot more complicated. More moving parts. In  2016, only 57% of HROs aimed to make a measurable impact on business performance. Today, that’s 83%.

That requires understanding of the human capital contribution to a very granular level, the systems to measure it, the understanding of why and the the knowledge of how to improve on it.

Articles on TA in North America often offer the comparison with NFL football. You need the wise coach who sees the big picture, defensive and offensive units and special teams for those niche challenges.

There’s a certain logic there. But there is also a caution flag. Notwithstanding the new complexity of obtaining and maximizing that ‘greatest asset’, human capital, you don’t want to overthink this.

Talent management comes down to building and retaining a workforce of great employees to achieve organizational goals.

That hasn’t changed.  It’s just got harder – a lot harder – to do.

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