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Rethink Talent Management to make a Bigger Splash

Source |  |  BY:Riyaz Aftab, Vice President Human Resources & People Strategy, Time Inc. India

Across the world, talent management today has become a major buzzword in the corporate arena with much importance being given to the subject. In my opinion, the concept of talent management is, at its heart, a philosophy to be imbibed before its mechanics can be considered. The revolutions that have occurred throughout human history, from the agricultural and industrial revolution to the conceptual revolution of today, have had the proper utilization of talent at their core, with the impact of the same being most evident in the conceptual age. Human ingenuity, along with innovation and creativity, are the most important components of talent and the enhancement of these factors leads to greater competence with time. Singers, actors and musicians possess talent at an individual level in their respective fields, a fact that can be superimposed to an organizational context by placing the employee in a similar category. As every STL business moves towards commoditization with work being demanded within limited time frames, it is necessary to create a unique identity to differentiate oneself in the market place. We are moving from managing assets to resources today and talent will come to be a key strategy in our effort to manage our knowledge asset capital.

However, the question remains: are we ready to have talent on board and do we know how to facilitate the pipeline of talent? Talent tends to require a high level of maintenance and often comes with its own set of challenges geared towards getting the best for the organization and themselves. Often, employees tend to express vanity in connection with their talent, a fact that requires a sound framework, policies and wherewithal to handle them in order to leverage success for the firm. I believe that the predominant talent requirements which can determine success in an organization are leadership, analytics, media, entertainment, research & development and innovation. The right kind of hiring processes and decisions can make all the difference to these functions as they determine the caliber of talent which is permitted. The talent in focus here does not fall under the bracket of the bottom 10% as organizations now expect 98% of the workforce to contribute to its proper functioning, allowing for a small margin of hiring mistakes. The approach is often ‘hire for the best’ rather than ‘hire from the best’, each approach requiring a restructuring in its own unique manner.

Talent management requires the use of design thinking more than any other vertical in HR, since a robust model/framework must be established to match with the organization’s business context. This is paramount as the assurances provided by top management/stakeholders are imperative to make the vertical successful in the long run and also in order to donate time and resources towards ensuring that the organization obtains the best possible solution from the marketplace. It also ensures that the organization engages and leverages talent to obtain and solve ‘complex’ and ‘challenging’ assignments with insightful feedback and organization learnings, helping improve the ability of the organization to be more preemptive and adaptive to the emerging VUCA (Volatility-uncertainty-complexity-ambiguity). These factors designate a definite path for talent management in general, with the approach taken being central to the efforts taken. A token appreciation approach does not work here and mere lip service with sugar-coated HR statements at town halls and boardrooms fall short of making any desirable impact. Hence, an approach where the means justify the end will not bring any value to talent management. Performing a deep dive in all functions and reflecting on their utility is a key practice, with a high level of congruence of feeling, thought and behavior of the board. Due to the importance of this activity, it must be performed by individuals occupying positions at higher levels of management in order to corroborate with the zeal of talent building.


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