How to get talent management on track
There is no doubt that CEOs are worried about the talent issue. But the odd thing is that their concern has yet to translate into purposeful action in most organisations. As a result, the absence of adequate systems and data are a serious handicap for companies who need to keep tabs on their talent pool.
It is an open secret that while finance bristles with purpose-built applications and the latest technology, HR is always at the end of the line when the IT budget is dished out. As a result, it can do little more than make do and mend with spreadsheets and generic software.
Here are eight steps to talent management salvation:
1. Develop a corporate-wide people-focus on performance. Business is still in thrall to the financial model of performance. If people hold the key to the future, it is time to make performance management people-centric.
2. Adopt a data-driven, evidenced-based philosophy for talent management. Wishy-washy hunches and impressions would not be accepted in financial plans. Nor will they do for talent management. That is why appropriate systems and data are mandatory.
3. Address talent acquisition, performance aligned to goals, performance-related pay and workforce planning. This trinity should underpin any talent management strategy.
4. Invest differentially in A, B and C performers. Exceptional people will always have a disproportionate influence on performance. Making sure that the talent pool is stocked with sufficient top performers does not mean neglecting others. Just treat them appropriately.
5. Build a unified computer-based system that includes all talent-related information. Effective talent management needs a constantly refreshed source of actionable information. Make sure that you capture all the performance, career aspirations, experience and skills related information that is easy to build and easy to maintain.
6. Use your talent management system to implement continuous appraisal. The yearly appraisal ritual is discredited and next to useless. Far more meaningful information can be captured throughout the year and used to monitor performance constantly.
7. Look at early wins in recruitment costs, quality of hire and performance improvement. When you implement a talent management system, it is important to demonstrate the payback as soon as possible in ways that make sense to everyone from the board to line managers.
8. Ensure any system is as easy to use as Google, Amazon and other consumer sites. Clunky systems designed for geeks are doomed to failure. You do not need a manual to use Google. The same goes for any talent management system. It must be intuitive and useful from day one.
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