This blog explores 5 ways in which we may want to rethink the term talent management.

Let’s explore each one:

1. Is the termTalent Management’ elitist and demotivational?

I guess it depends on whether we are viewing everyone as talent or just a select few. One CEO that we work with hates the term ‘Talent Management’ with a passion. They are adamant that they would rather have 90% of the organisation focused on delivering their best rather than just 10% being identified as ‘Talent’ and being seen to be given special treatment. This would align with the view put forward by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, authors of bestselling leadership book  “Now discover your strengths”. Which based on a Gallup study and Strengths Finder programme, takes the view that everyone has talents that should be utilised in the work place.

Our view? We tend to agree that everyone has strengths and talents and great managers work with their people. Working to identify, develop and maximise these. This should be at the core of people and performance management.

Consequently, having the right talent management systems in place to identify good behaviour and key strengths is important. These will be able to group people into talent pools enabling further development. This is particularly important now as people working in a remote or hybrid role look to progress their careers.

2. How accurate is managerial assessment of talent?

Many traditional talent management approaches such as nine box grids or traditional succession planning depend on the manager’s assessment of both performance and potential. In a hybrid work environment, proximity bias can be very real where those who work more closely with the manager may have their talents assessed more favourably. Assessing someone’s potential often overlooks individual motivation and is highly subjective making it easy to get wrong. This can be highly de-motivational for people and potentially risky for businesses.

The key to getting the best out of people is the skill of managers being 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. Maybe businesses should be focusing first on developing talented people managers as well as those in traditional technical roles.

3. Stop focusing on recruiting ‘Talent’, when you can grow your own

We think this 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 but it 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 talents, they can deal with this. Watch out businesses if you write people off internally – growing your own talent is more cost effective, lower risk and can be great for the employer brand.

4. Don’t just focus on business critical roles

Many businesses just focus on developing those in apparently business critical or technical roles. Whereas specialist or supporting roles (Including HR and L&D) are often overlooked. When people managers play such a key role in engagement and retention shouldn’t these also be included in a talent management strategy?

Obviously specialist skills can be difficult to recruit for and retain which is why they are often prioritised, however it is important to think about the whole talent ecosystem within your organisation. All roles have a part to play and deserve to be valued.

5. Could identifying people as ‘Talent’ increase the risk of attrition?

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. Many young people joining the workplace are hungry for regular feedback and progression. They may need careful management to understand that they need to fully 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 – could putting them on a ‘talent pedestal’ be counterproductive?

For more on the topic of talent management, take a look at our free white paper below and register for our upcoming webinar with Lucinda on 1st November at 1pm.

White Paper: How to Develop a Talent Management Strategy

Webinar – Rethinking Talent Management: Register here

Remote Performance Management Resources

Part of our ethos is to help build a better workplace for people, whatever their location. We achieve this through great performance management software, the HR Uprising Podcast, and a variety of free thought leadership resources. Therefore, if you would like to learn more about this topic, you can find some additional resources below.

White Paper: What is Succession Planning?

Listen to the HR Uprising Podcast: The Talent Management Myth

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