Organizations large and small have varying needs for talent management and the size of the organization does not dictate its talent management maturity level. Before rolling out any talent management initiative, I look at three elements:
Many HR strategies are data driven and compliance-centric. This often tends to drive the HR strategy to become more about technology. The resulting “talent management” strategy, and how it’s managed, tends to focus on the administration issues and not on the business aspects of using people to achieve company goals.
Both of these issues are exacerbated if the organization does not involve the business unit leaders/department heads in developing the talent strategy. If that strategy is perceived to be “an HR Admin thing,” it becomes more difficult to find champions to implement relevant talent management programs.
The answer is to start with the business goals in mind. Introduce any conversation on talent strategy with an understanding of the business drivers (collectively and in each business unit) and determine the talent programs to achieve the goals.
If your task was to double medical device revenue from $5B to $10B in five years, you would have clear considerations for elements of creating a High Potential Employee program. You’d be thinking about the changing landscape and how sales professionals will no longer be able to sell to doctors; rather, they need to sell to hospital coalitions. This would drive you down a different talent development path. If you didn’t start with that business goal in mind, you might select a standardized management training program that doesn’t consider the fundamental shift in sales strategy, or a recruitment program that can’t scale with the growth of the business because sales people no longer have relationships tied-in.
To be transparent means to share all relevant strategies, information and intentions as you initiate and rollout talent management programs. Many executives stay up at night worrying over mis-conceptions and it’s only natural. When you introduce a leadership program, for example, it’s natural for your management team to wonder, “Why am I on the list?” and “Why now?” and “Is this their way of getting rid of me?” Involving your team in relevant conversations about the business and being transparent about the goals and deficiencies in the organization can minimize investment in the wrong assumptions and increase focus on the programs and actions that matter most. With transparency, you get buy-in!
There is something to be said about consuming small bites and giving your brain enough time to tell you it’s full …before the 4 lb of wild boar sitting in your belly makes you ill. Countless organizations focus on solving the insurmountable corporate-wide problems, rather than zeroing in on one or two areas that could benefit from an agile talent management solution. Instead of solving every HR problem in the company, select the few that add the most value to the organization’s future. It is better to engage, deploy and manage smaller projects to successful completion. It is these experiences that will enable you to fine-tune the strategy, create best practices, rollout to other groups, and then standardize it across the organization with technology (if relevant).