Thursday, March 12, 2015

Talent Management: Change the Name or the Substance

Leaders & managers are human engineers and talent artists, to discover the “raw intelligence,” and to understand  the true human nature.

Talent is always the most invaluable asset in organizations since the modern business was born. However, in most of the companies, their talent management are still running in silos. Not only the name is a bit out of date - Human Resource (HR)- treat their people as cost and human resource only, but also a lack of the overarching strategy and systematic approach to managing people, talent, performance, and culture coherently. Some suggested to have people management replacing talent management, others advocated to use human capital replacing human resource; or simply forget about talent management, go directly to the organizational development etc. So, here is the debate: Change the name or change the substance, how to manage your people effectively?

Talent Management vs. People Management vs. Organizational Management: From name perspective, people may be a more inclusive word than "talent," that's really just a name for your employees. The bigger issue is the word "MANAGEMENT." While there is clearly a significant management element to the strategic HR function, the term management leads the organization to think of a person as a fixed capability resource they are moving around and leveraging appropriately. For more than a decade, HR has advocated that they want leaders not managers, yet they continue to contradict themselves and try to say that the organization can manage all aspects of its "talent" practices, but the problem is, must of such best practices are done in silos, lack of the holistic view of their talent potential, the collective & amplified capabilities. By moving away from "talent" to "people," do you think this will really create a difference. Or are you simply confusing the marketplace and industry in a big way? If only making the name change without substantial mind shift, you're likely creating as many problems as you're likely to solve. An analysis on how "people management" differs from "organizational development" may bring forth additional insights. Maybe the shift is from "talent management" to "organizational management." But the point is, toning talent is perhaps more complex than tuning any other part of the business, it takes the vision from the leadership team and solid strategy following with tailored structure.

There’s shift in power, employees drive a more fluid process: Let's look at performance management. Nobody is happy with their current approach yet you still expect a leader to actually manage the performance of an employee. In reality, you should expect the leader to coach, develop, inspire and engage their employees. The employee is the only one who can manage their performance because they decided how much effort they will apply to delivering results. The issues of the day are around rapidly developing people, helping them connect and communicate effectively, and coach one another to higher performance. This is about harnessing of the changing culture. The whole concept of "managing" a person in the same way as other material resources is the flaw that leads to ineffective performance management and flawed organizational processes. Be worth noting the shift in power -knowledge is the power.While the average employee doesn't have more power than leaders per se, we are seeing the employee owning more than they have in the past and also taking ownership in their hands. This may be due to changes in digital technology (information is only clicks away, knowledge is literally in my hand; ). People want to be empowered and we can see they aren't waiting for leaders to dictate or advance this. They are making the shift despite others at times. So the employee ownership drives a more fluid process more than before.

Put more emphasis on building a "healthy" corporate culture: The current and future focus of HR involves hiring for fit & fit for purpose, developing and engaging employees, and creating an inspiring culture. Maybe the shift could be from Talent Management to “People Development.” People Development activities focus on influencing the organization’s people systems that involve mission alignment, culture evolution, developing employees in general as well as identifying employees who are competent and demonstrate growth potential. We know this past decade's economic crisis has driven employee engagement down. Culture has always been important in growth markets but was pushed off to the side when the financial crisis hit. As a result, people stagnate in roles longer and "should feel lucky to have a job." The software to integrate talent has been deployed in most companies, but not used to its potential. These processes work best in the healthy growing company to aid leaders in achieving their growth targets. In a business struggling with stagnant or declining financials, the data collected is not fully utilized by leadership, at least in a positive way. Talent is not rotated or promoted enough, training budgets are cut to bare bones compliance and sales training, and executives step into micro manage when times are tough. The result is even lower engagement and a culture then has eroded and shifted. Targeting engagement, process improvement, empowerment, and respect will restore a semblance of health to the culture. But then they will still need to attract, develop, rotate and promote talent to retain them!.... And so the pendulum swings.

People management shifts to people optimization: People optimization is more holistic than people management as it plays an important role in determining what energizes the individual at the most. As a person, you need to be optimized with a growth mind, which means that you need to measure the innate capacity and develop the strengths to reach the maximum potential which is of much benefit to the organization where you work and to self. With such mindset, you contribute to overall organizational growth by developing big picture view, rather than the job offered, so that the role of the human resource becomes human engineers, to discover the “raw intelligence,” to understand  the true human nature, to explore the talent capacity & capability, and to improve the overall "talent utilization."

Digital transformation, either for managing people, or for tuning organization as a whole, takes strategy, resource and technique, with the very goal to empower and enable talent development and people optimization, regardless how you name the next practice, the end is to engage employees, delight customers and achieve high mature business result.


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