In the movie Ratatouille there is a line spoken by Anton Ego: Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere. This is also true about employees. Therefore you have to be ready to discover talent. How to do it?
Talent management is sometimes only viewed as training managers or future managers, which is probably a limited way of understanding the situation. In a broader sense, talent management means that talent can come from anywhere and does not necessarily have to become executive material. For many companies the key to success lies in the implementation of gifted specialists in their main positions as opposed to the activities of the managers.Talent management contradicts personnel management where the focus is on recruiting. The rules of talent management state that new talent should be found from within the company – whether they become executives or specialists. This kind of practice enables the sustainability of the company. But this does not mean that new employees cannot be recruited from outside the company for certain tasks. One of the starting points for talent management is understanding that companies contribute a lot to recruiting new talented employees but contribute very little to maintain and motivate the existing employees to develop. As a result situations can occur where executives leave due to lack of challenges and motivation and it is too late to do anything once the letter of resignation has been handed in.
What does talent management mean for the company?
- Performance appraisal is a prerequisite for talent management
From the standpoint of talent management two main areas should be considered in performance appraisal: productivity and development potential. It should be possible to measure productivity by comparing it to existing assignments and projects. By evaluating potential it is possible to plan future assignments and jobs. In order to avoid performance appraisals becoming a formality you should always consider that there is a possibility that the employee’s competence would be better suited for another assignment in the same organisation.
- The organizations should have a strategy for employee development
This does not mean compiling training plans and participating in various courses. It means that the organization knows where the regular entry-level positions in the company are and what the opportunities for moving from one job position to another are. It is desirable that career paths are planned and acknowledged as well as described in the company. The development plan should be seen as two dimensional: firstly, outgrowing the current position – progressing on the career ladder in the classical sense – moving towards more important positions with bigger responsibility; and secondly, going inside the current position – learning the tasks in depth and moving towards additional assignments, which is usually connected with training new employees and the like. The results from performance appraisals serve as the basis for all such strategies. Talent development strategies could also lead to direct succession plans after every appraisal for every employee and position.
- Talent market
With global competition comes competition for talent. If employees with potential do not find activities that simulate their interest within the company, then they will find work elsewhere, or, even worse, with a competitor. ‘Talent market’ is an employee development method where talented employees to a certain degree have the opportunity to choose their own assignments and/or projects in their field of work. This requires the organization to constantly think about the question as to who are the best employees for certain assignments and as a result teams of suitable employees are brought together.
Myth – we are too small to concern ourselves with talent management.
International experience shows, that contrary to beliefs, talent management is something that is being addressed as a natural part of everyday work experience in small and medium sized organizations – no matter whether they wish to acknowledge it or not. Talent management is especially important in growing organizations. Growth makes it necessary to develop and use existing employees for handling new assignments.
Larger organizations with formal structures need to deal with the implementation of talent management systems separately.
A talent management system should not be too formal and there are simple techniques that can be used to implement it:
- Use performance appraisal systems in your organization and evaluate how employees manage different tasks;
- In appraisal systems and development interviews put the emphasis on finding out the development potential, opportunities and wishes of every employee;
- Discuss what tasks are best suited for the employee;
- Prepare a hierarchy of the positions or a career plan and try to fit your employees into it even if it is not done in written form;
- Provide employees with new opportunities and scope for development.
In conclusion I think it is safe to say that talent management is not rocket science. It is a series of methods which successful companies and executives implement naturally. Only a working system can be an effective one, therefore, it is not necessary to begin with written strategies if you want to implement a successful talent management system. It is sufficient to think through whether the right employees are working in the right positions are following the correct procedure, and how to ensure this.
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