Monday, May 14, 2012

Talent management – More than just HR?

While most organisations have ad hoc approaches to talent management, it is found that a large portion of them do not have a formalised talent management approach in place 
In a changing business environment a well-thought out approach to talent management is most responsive to identifying and nurturing necessary talent. While most organisations have ad hoc approaches to talent management, it is found that a large portion of them do not have a formalised talent management approach in place. This can often lead to strategic gaps in fully recognising potential issues and lead to problems such as difficulty in recruiting for vital roles within the organisation, inability to respond swiftly to changing external environment and promotions taking place before people are ready.
While most organisations would agree that a talent pool is vital to move an organisation forward, it is equally important to nurture and encourage this talent from within the company. In other words, everyone from the leadership downwards should be willing and able to nurture internal talent.
Managers need to see talent management as part of their role and actively undertake its identification and development. It should also form an integral part of the organisation's strategy and business planning process and also gain a buy-in and commitment to undertake the necessary responsibilities.
Talent management needs to be accepted as a business process and not merely an HR one. Once everybody in the organisation is onboard on the need for talent management needs to be a clearly understood and working methodology to spot and nurture talent in the organisation.
Key areas:
Identifying talent with the use of targeted recruitment strategies, competency frameworks and assessment techniques;
Managing and developing talent using tools such as performance management systems and 360° feedback;
Matching talent to where it is needed through and career and succession planning processes.
Competency frameworks are a great tool to help identify talent and can offer a clearly defined set of expectations to measure performance against, based on linking individual and organisational performance. Well structure competency frameworks encourage organisations to think about performance in terms of demonstrated behaviours rather than subjective opinion, regarding what is effective versus poor performance.
Recruitment: External recruitment and selection of the right people is a vital step in maintaining a high quality talent pool. An organisation would need to be careful in identifying the strategic gaps and then pick the right candidates to fill specific gaps.
Assessment and development centres play an immensely important role in providing the organisation a specific and detailed analysis of performance and future potential. A well-planned and implemented assessment centre can help an organisation identify not just an individual's ability but also creativity, motivation and also provide indicators that the individual has the necessary expertise to move into a new role. These provide a replication of the pressures that an individual may face in the future and allows an organisation to assess the response and map it to certain specific criteria.
360° feedback and performance management systems: Organisations are increasingly realising the value of performance systems that monitor performance, give feedback and draw up concrete development plans. As part of the development process, feedback from multiple sources (360° feedback) can be useful in establishing a benchmark in terms of skills and behaviours. It provides a strong platform to build on the strengths and remedy any weaknesses. The outcome of this exercise can be used not just as part of development with regard to the current role but also to ensure future development
Succession and career planning: As part of the talent management process it is as important to develop people for future needs as it is to develop them in their current roles. Linked to talent management, succession planning ensures that every role is back filled in order to develop future leaders from within.
To conclude, identifying and nurturing talent requires organisational buy-in, particularly from senior management and a structure to support the process. Each link in the entire chain of talent management and development has to be strong because just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link; an organisation is only as strong as its people.

The authors are Sangeeta Singh, partner, human resources, KPMG and Perez Katpitia, recruitment manager, KPMG(

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