Strategic Talent Management

Three big words. Put them together, and you’ve got a topic for an article. I’ve always taken a simple approach to management theories. Call a “spade” a “spade”.

Try talking to the HR practitioners in today’s market and you’ll find that the term “Talent Management” is grossly misunderstood and misused.

In some organizations, we often find the Talent Management function focusing mainly on Training and Development. Maybe a little pinch of succession. Perhaps a bit of recruitment.

In other organizations, we would probably find an over-elaborated version of the “Buy-Make-Sell” model. Ok, let me clarify. “Source-Acquire-Develop-Retain”.

Is “Talent Management” really that complicated?

We often hear comments like “It’s a Talent War out there”, “Talents are scarce”. Take a step back, if they’re aplenty, than the bar would have gone up! Albert Einstein’s law of relativity at play here.

So, let’s just call “Training” “Training” and “Recruitment” “Recruitment”. Moving on.

“Talent Management” should be about the business, not the organizational structure. We are talking about “people” here. The beauty is in the uniqueness of the individual, not the conformance in entirety.

If you need to hire and “stock-up” a team of employees to perform a set of operations, just go out there to recruit. You don’t need to fill these vacancies with the Einstein-s of the world.

We acknowledge that the business paradigm changes and if the business’s ability to maneuver this new environment is paramount to its survival. To put it simply, “changing slower than what’s changed is regression and changing faster than what’s changed is progression”.

This means, we need the creative, innovative, thinking, and maybe crazy “talents” to add the unknown “X” factor into the equation. If you get it right, you lead the pack. If you get it wrong, file for Chapter 11.

So, what exactly is “Talent Management”?

Well, it’s the Management of Talents!

Ok, I’m sure you did not read this much for me to tell you that.

Talent Management should be about the strategic deployment of “Special Talented Individuals” within or outside the organization to maximize the chance of creating a winning formula for success.

In simple, proper English, the following must be observed:

1) A good understanding of the business and its directions. (You read it correctly. It’s directions with an “s”. How many times have you seen organizations change its focus and directions? Shouldn’t the Talent Manager be aware of the different potential directions?)

2) Knowledge of which function and role matters.

3) Ability to visualize the impact of the different type of “Talents” under different circumstances.

4) Know who matters in the organization and who matters outside the organization

5) Build a strong network of talents within and outside the organization. (Talent-Pool is a thing of the past.)

6) Track. You can’t own the world. Let your competitors train, develop and maintain your talents. Why can’t we apply the J.I.T (Just-in-time) concept in Human Resource?

7) Understand that a career path can be “In the company” – “Out of the company” – “Back into the company” – “Out again” – “Back in again”. We all know that it’s healthier to have a “wider gene pool”, so why are we making it so hard for employees to return? We should even plan and facilitate employee’s move out of the organization for him/her to further his/her development in a different environment before returning.

Basically, “Track”, “Track” and “Track”. There’s always a time and place for a deployment to achieve best results.

You need to hire when you need to hire. The key is: “Knowing where that Talent is will win you the race”.

Good Night everyone.

Eric Wong.