Is Talent Management All Talk?

New post from Don Taylor on talent management

What is Talent Management?

I like Don’s definition –

“Talent Management is making capability match commitments”

– and it got me thinking about this subject.  I used to sell talent management solutions and it is definitely HOT.  Everyone is interested in talent management – but when you finish describing what it takes to do it – they get cold feet.

The initial pitch on talent management is usualy to Sr. Level HR team – of course this make sense because it is their domain.  But TM quickly gets hard.  If an organization  is really going to have a strong TM ethic – there will be consequences.

To guage talent you need  goals and objectives.  To be effective G&O must be aligned top to bottom.  Of course you will have to measure performance against these cascading goals and objectives.  To get employees to pay attention to all of this something obvious must be at stake (pay, glory, promotion, etc.).  Most like the idea of TM, but may be less comfortable when it gets down to pay-for-performance.

Reminds me of a meeting I had with a Global 100 company on this subject.  There had to be 20 HR people in the room, and I had a team of about four.  We started in on the TM pitch and everyone was fine, aligned goals were OK, performance evaluations sound good, development plans, great, succession planning, excellent.  But then we mentioned pay-for performance.

All of a sudden they were all just looking down at the table.

Some (many)  companies just don’t want that level of individual accountability in the  organization.  It isn’t that the CEO doesn’t want it.  But the employees don’t.

“hey, we got a nice thing going here – don’t screw it up!”

And in such an organization TM will fail absent a heavy, sustained push from top management.  But, if you don’t get all the way down to differential performance reviews and pay-for-performance – then you won’t get TM done.

Going back to Don’s defitnition “PM is making capability match commitments” I think there is an implied discipline in the word “making”.  Making is an assertive word, and it means that you will not just *encourage* capability to match commitment – but you will force it.  Force will be used.  People will be held accountable.  Some will fail – and that is OK.

Telling this story reminds me of one more thing related to TM.  The “Afraid to Fire” syndrome.  But I guess that belongs in another post.


2 Responses to Is Talent Management All Talk?

  1. […] Tom O’Brien noted that there is a focus on action in the word Making. He’s right. Talent Management is not something that will happen by itself. It needs coherent, focused effort in three areas: […]

  2. Basanta Raj Sigdel says:

    I do agree with Don Tayler. Talent Managmenet must begin with the objective assessment of human potential of the organizational members and the performance parameter with clear cut goals and objectives. Any management that is reluctant to identify what their people can do and, only focuses on the end results, is far from the basic philosophy of Human Capital Management and Talent Managment. Therefore, a strategic perspective is required in applying TM in a particular organization. Organizational assessment is needed to unveil the potential of Human Resources and training may prove beneficial in making capability match commitments.

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