Managing talent is a critical tool in enabling a company to achieve its business goals. Investing in human capital to develop skills, capacity, flexibility and adaptability creates a solid foundation for long term competitive advantage. By managing talent effectively, companies can both speed growth and amplify results. But whilst many organisations have expressed their commitment to developing a sturdy pipeline of talent, many are failing to make this happen in reality and generate the results desired.
It makes financial sense
Strong talent management makes business sense. On average, companies with superior talent management practices generate up to 26 per cent more revenue per employee than their counterparts. Whilst the return on investment is not to be denied, making a company’s talent management programme a success does not come without its challenges. In an effort to define the key priorities and outline some of the dos and don’ts, we spoke to our team of advisors, all of whom are current and former CEOs of leading multinationals, to gain their personal insight and perspective. Rolf Stomberg, Bernard Attali, Ed Hanway, Sheila Bair, Allen Morgan, Frank Feder, Ray Wilcox, Gordon Peeling and Alfredo Ovalle’s contributions were invaluable in identifying certain critical success factors, including:
- Leading from the top: With growth a priority, managing talent is not something to be delegated to HR or elsewhere. Successful talent management requires a co-ordinated top down approach. Attention needs to be given to defining and developing the skills required to be successful in the years ahead alongside those needed for companies to compete effectively today.
- Time to get creative: Much as we dislike the overused piece of management- speak, “think outside the box,” never was there a better time to do just this. Evidence suggests many organisations are mistakenly placing the emphasis on traditional development programmes such as classroom training. Given the imperative for the right skills, companies need to be prepared to bold and creative in their approach. We suggest some options.
- Retain your existing talent pool: The severely restricted talent pool is an issue across multiple markets and sectors, but management’s responsibility is to ensure the focus and drive of the highly skilled is on using their unique skills to maximum value.
- Retraining and re-skilling current resources: The current emphasis is broad based, incorporating more than executive-level employees. One additional group sometimes overlooked is a company’s first real tier of management —its supervisors. Investment here is more than amply rewarded in terms of improved productivity.
Given the stresses in labour markets globally and the scarcity of quality talent available, executives recognise the pressing need to grow talent internally. Identifying and developing talent plays a an increasingly important role in a company’s future and the smarter, more forward- looking companies will take steps now to make this critical area a strategic focus for their business in the year ahead and beyond.
Further read: Addressing critical shortages in skilled expertise