How can we reap the benefits of talent management?

Talent Management sounds great in theory but is actually very challenging to put into practice. In this blog, we discuss the top 5 Talent Management dilemmas that organisations face and how to address them.

Let us discuss each of these in turn:

1. ‘Talent Management’ is often seen as elitist and demotivational

One CEO that we work with hates the term ‘Talent Management’ with a passion. He is adamant that he would rather have 90% of the organisation focused on delivering their best rather than 10% being identified as ‘Talent’ and being seen to be given special treatment.

He would agree with the view put forward by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman authors of bestselling leadership book “Now discover your strengths” . They take the view that everyone has talents that should be utilised in the workplace. This article “How great managers define talent” explains this in simple terms. Our view? We tend to agree that everyone has talents and we need great managers to identify and use them to maximise their performance and potential.  Consequently, organisations with a good talent management system in place will develop and retain great talent.

2. Managerial bias in assessing what is meant by ‘talent’?

This really can be a problem if you are talking about small talent pools where only certain people get access. Also with succession planning, if the manager chooses ‘talent’ in their own likeness. Key to getting the best out of people is the skill of managers and they need to be developed to be objective about performance and talent assessment. The irony here is that the effectiveness of your people managers will directly correlate with the engagement and performance of all your people. Yet, how many businesses are interested in identifying talented people managers rather than technical specialists?

3. Opting for recruited ‘Talent’ rather than homegrown

Performance Related Pay

We think that recruited talent is a costly error for too many businesses. Some people are brilliant at presenting themselves well at interview and may even be fabulous performers in another business. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will perform within your organisation – again a dependence on quality line managers. With homegrown ‘talent’ you know people’s foibles and they will be far more loyal than those brought in to change the world. The challenge for the homegrown is overcoming preconceptions within the business if they appear to change the status quo or jump management hierarchies. However, we would argue that if they are true talent, they can deal with this. Watch out businesses if you write people off internally – homegrown talent is more cost-effective, lower risk and motivational to others.

4. Believing that those labelled as ‘talent’ will automatically perform

Whether we have paid over the odds to recruit top talent into our organisation or we have internally recruited our top performer, we can’t expect them to automatically live up to their reputation. Talent is often situational and it is important to remember that everybody, no matter how talented, must still be well-managed. We may set higher expectations against those identified as talent. However, they may also have a high expectation of what they will get in terms of a psychological contract. Organisations fall short when it comes to Talent Management if they expect ‘new talent’ to just come in, walk on water and fix everything without any kind of good induction, without clear clarity of expectations and great management.

5. Identifying individuals as ‘Talent’ may actually increase attrition rates

We do think there is a very real risk of talent pools raising expectations that are then dashed if the organisation cannot provide the individual with the career aspirations they believe they were promised. Gen Y and Millennials are keen on feedback and swift movement. Therefore careful management is required for them to understand that they need to contribute and perform in order to achieve this. Equally, roles need to arise for them to be able to progress. Examples of individuals within these groups becoming impatient and voting with their feet is high enough in typical graduate schemes. Putting them on a talent pedestal can be counterproductive.

For more on the topic of talent management, take a look at our free white paper or get in touch below.

White Paper – How to develop a Talent Management Strategy

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