Moving from talent management to people management
When we think of talent, we think of bright young stars who can do anything they put their minds to. When it comes to work, we might not ask them to sing or dance, but we do want to find “talented” people who can drive our organisations forward.
This has been the mission of talent management initiatives for many years. However, it needs a rethink if organisations are only focused on finding the “right” people in a competitive talent marketplace. To achieve real success, they need to focus on the talent potential they already have.
The predictable post-war model
There was a time when businesses followed predictable recruiting models of a standard bureaucracy. After World War II, manufacturing industries mastered the art of slow and steady career progression. When they could plan their workforce 15 - 20 years in advance, it made sense to start someone at the bottom and increase their responsibilities in line with promotions and pay rises.
Organisations recruited “lifers” who’d stick around until they received their well-earned golden handshake on retirement.
The birth of talent management
This all changed during the 90s, as a faster paced business environment required organisations to recruit from outside to find the skills they needed immediately. Talent management began in this era, where people were:
- hired based on a clearly defined position description
- measured against that description every year
- required to add skills and qualifications to earn promotions
The logical conclusion of this approach is a relentless search for the “finished product”. Organisations now climb over the top of each other to get at these talented people. However, they ignore the fact that many of their employees’ “talents” were actually developed by another organisation.
The rise of people management
We’re now seeing the common denominator among successful companies - they develop talent internally. Organisations that specialise in developing talented people, are the organisations who provide development opportunities for their entire workforce. By moving away from a transactional approach to development, and adopting a people-focused approach, they recognise that every employee has great potential to be unlocked. The flow on effects of this are:
- overall skill development
- a greater focus on relationships
- people leveraging each other’s unique skills
- each employee feeling more valued
By focusing on developing all of our people rather than a few select individuals, you begin to create a holistic learning culture that develops and engages every employee. Continuous learning is the new linchpin of people management because it moves away from the traditional model of performance management.
Instead of asking people questions based on rigid position descriptions such as:
- Can you do this job?
- What do you know?
- Prove it to us
It asks questions that focus on developing the individual such as:
- How can we help you to do your job better?
- What skills do you want to develop for your career?
- How can we better leverage your skills to improve our team?
In these environments, learning and development programs need to be agile and responsive to both the organisation, and the individual’s needs. A one size fits all approach won’t deliver the best results.
How to implement a people-focused approach
Cornerstone believes an organisation needs a unified platform for navigating the new skills economy. The best results are achieved by using a platform that leverages:
- open technology for knowledge sharing and collaboration
- machine learning and AI for unlocking workforce insights faster
- automated processes and personalised functionality for enhanced employee engagement
With an open and unified platform, organisations can take advantage of data analysis to:
- gain full visibility of their workforce skill sets
- identify talented and highly skilled people
- provide clear and transparent paths for advancement
- build high performing agile project teams from their talent pools
By utilising technology for advanced workforce segmentation and skills mapping, organisations are able to take control of their long term destiny, while also providing career paths for their people. In some ways, it’s a return to the long range vision of the post-war model, but by utilising an agile data-focused approach, we have the flexibility to better navigate the future.
About the author
As the Regional Vice President for Cornerstone OnDemand, my team and I partner with organisations in every industry to help them realise the potential of the modern workforce through the world’s leading cloud-based human capital management system. If you’d like to discuss how you can start achieving your strategic workforce planning goals and creating a high-performance culture across your organisation, please feel free to contact me on 0415030073 or at email@example.com.