Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Creating a Talent Management Approach Requires Planning

Organizations should recognize that their greatest assets are the people that make them work. Whether these are the stakeholders, employees, customers, suppliers, or partners, the business does not exist without their active participation. Creating a successful business involves capitalizing on your people. To take it a step further, successful asset management can be defined as effectively selecting, developing, assigning, and retaining people in your organization.

The primary problem with doing this effectively lies in the disconnected solutions currently being deployed by most organizations. The human resources department hires recruiters or headhunters to add to the human capital pool. The training department identifies knowledge and/or skills gaps and sets up one-time classes to fix the employees. Supervisors, Managers, and Directors manage the performance of individuals through assignments and feedback. Human Resources then posts vacancies for individuals to take the initiative to locate and apply for or the buddy system leads to a promotion. Of course, nowhere have we mentioned the critical competencies needed by the organization for employees at different levels. Hopefully those just happen to be present in the people who move up the organization.

The solution begins in accurately defined vision, strategic initiatives, and organizational values. If an organization knows where it wants to go the other pieces more easily fall into place. From the goals, the executive team can derive the critical knowledge, skills and abilities of the leaders required to direct the company. These can be broken down into their core competencies. The leaders then complete the same process for their direct reports down through the organization. This creates a road map for management to identify up and coming stars and for employees to identify areas for development that could allow them growth opportunities inside the organization. This also creates measurable performance metrics and facilitates the creation of hiring qualifications.

The other side of the solution involves the organization's culture. The culture must be quantified as accurately as possible. The necessary organizational values to realize the vision must be drawn up and cross-referenced to the current situation. From this document a list of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors can be extrapolated that define the most likely people to ensure the success of the organization. Of course, an organization's culture matures and cycles so significant diversity should be promoted. This process must be repeated over time to keep up with changes.

If the organization is young or reinventing itself this process can be implemented without too much resistance. If the company is established or extremely stable this process must be introduced as part of a change initiative. In either situation this process must be thoughtfully planned and organized. Driving and restraining forces must be identified. Action plans must be devised and implemented to tackle each restraining force and to reinforce each driving force.

These plans must include:
  • Methods for creating a need in the eyes of the current employees
  • Methods for communicating the objective to current employees
  • Methods for securing commitment from current employees
  • Process steps that create necessary change through elimination of anticipated restraining forces and how the elimination steps will be specifically implemented
  • Process steps that create necessary change through modification of existing restraining forces and how those steps will be specifically implemented
  • Process steps that create necessary change through reinforcement of existing driving forces and how those steps will be specifically implemented
  • Process steps that create necessary change through creation of driving forces and how those steps will be specifically implemented
  • Observable milestones to measure the levels of success that describe what will occur along the way
  • Timelines that target deadlines for each milestone
  • The format for reporting against milestones and to whom
  • Resources required to implement each process step (people with their roles and responsibilities, capital, tools)
  • Contingency planning meetings to evaluate progress and make course corrections if the organization is dysfunctional (moving against the changes) or nonfunctional (moving away from the changes)
  • ‘Next Steps Meeting’ after the process steps have been implemented
  • Create incentive by planning how success will be celebrated and rewarded

No comments: