Talent Management

By William A Guillory, Ph.D.
Innovations International, Inc.
Salt Lake City, Utah 84117

Talent management is an initiative designed to source, attract, recruit, develop, advance, and retain highly competent employees. It’s also designed to target their development to leadership and management functions critical to the organization’s continuing success. Therefore, talent management is inextricably coupled the organization’s strategic objectives.
Global Business (Societal) Paradigms

This initiative is in alignment with the progression of global paradigms. We are on the leading edge of a serious human potential movement that occurs after the Age of Connectedness: The Age of Human Potential; where Power is based on Human Capital. This movement will begin in earnest about 2010.

Business Motivation for Talent Management
The business drivers for talent management include:
1.   Cost of recruitment versus attrition or retention.
2.   Cost of retaining the critical people who drive success versus those who partially contribute.
3.   Cost savings of creating a critical mass of highly competent employees for continuing and future success.
4.   Cost savings of retaining a critical mass of highly competent employees for continuing and future success.
5.   Cost savings of creating a diverse multicultural leadership and management to be successful in a diverse, multicultural world.
6.   The results of changing work force demographics (the feeder system) and the critical selection and development of that potential talent.
7.   Fundamentally, the assumption (or fact) that a competent, high-performing work force is the only sustainable advantage for future success.
Sourcing refers to establishing criteria, sources, and a feeder system for identifying a cadre of highly motivated, multicultural individuals for potential employment.
1.   Criteria
  i.        Since performance is defined as a combination of motivation and competency, or   Performance = f (motivation)x(competency), a major focus should be on identifying the drive or motivation of an individual for success; in addition to the technical skills or potential to learn the technical skills necessary to perform a given job or responsibility. (As the NFL expanded, notice where they recruited new talent.)
 ii.        Motivation encompasses cognitive skills which include commitment, dedication, intention, responsibility, accountability, persistence, and a willingness to continuously learn.
 iii.        It’s vital to recognize that cognitive skills comprise the engine that drives competency resulting in performance.

   i.        Demographic composition based upon customer base (U.S. and Global), work force availability, and desired creative and innovative composition.
  ii.        Design and administer an instrument that measures the motivation factor in performance (paper and online).
   iii.        Expand specific competency criteria to “cast a wider net” of potential high performing employees. Particularly, since most employees’ initial job changes within three to four years.
  iv.        Traditional competency-based criteria are well-known and need not be recommended or repeated here.
    v.        Design an instrument to measure both cognitive and functional skills of a potential employee.
Attracting refers to presenting a sufficiently compelling case to potential recruits that are interested in and excited to experience a recruiting visit.
1.   Criteria
         i.        An organization that desires diverse composition in proportion to its customer base.
          ii.        An organization that desires to have a reputation as a stimulating work environment.
         iii.        A work environment that encourages creativity, innovation, and future-oriented thinking.
          iv.        Publications and online website that feature diverse marketing materials and messages (subliminal messages in pictures and writing content that communicate diversity).
           v.        Advertises its desire for highly talented individuals, backed by a visible Talent Management Program.
Recruiting refers to the collective effort of an organization to sufficiently convince a potential employee that his or her future is best realized by their employment. The focus of this effort is viewed through the eyes of the recruit.
1.   Elements involved in successful recruiting include:
         i.        Visible examples of an inclusive culture—by diverse composition, leadership and management, and a recruit’s experience of a diverse environment; not only in composition, but also in freedom and thinking.
       ii.        Confirmation of (i) above by interviews with the recruit’s counterparts as well as a diversity of employees in the work force.
      iii.        The promise of a uniquely designed development program.
      iv.        The promise of a stimulating and attractive work environment.
      v.        The availability of the latest information technology.
      vi.        Visible examples of success that mirrors one’s self.
      vii.        And ultimately, successful hiring based upon the criteria above.
Developing refers to being provided the opportunity and support necessary to perform to one’s continual expanding potential. Development is often about keeping promises that are made during recruitment.
1.   The elements involved in developing include:
       i.        Having an assigned mentor (or buddy) upon entry to learn the cultural nuances of the organization.
        ii.        A career development plan involving the systematic process of identifying key skills and learning necessary for early career development.
       iii.        Assignment of visible projects in proportion to potential competency and proven performance—with coaching and mentoring.
       iv.        An accountability tracking system of performance that is specific, measurable, and definable (assessing performance over time by record keeping).
       v.        Participation in a formal or an informal High Potential Program, based upon publicized criteria.
        vi.        The continuing experience of these key elements throughout one’s career by the person recruited and ensured by the organization; with sign-offs.
         vii.        The development of basic talent competencies: Technical; Interpersonal; Cross-Cultural (Cultural Competence); Self-Management; Management, and Leadership skills.

Advancing refers to earning greater positions of responsibility, as a result of mentoring, coaching, and visible opportunities, in proportion to performance.
1.   The elements involved in advancing include:
       i.        Successful developmental accomplishments.
       ii.        Diverse advancement in proportion to the work force composition.
       iii.        Diverse (successful) succession planning.
       iv.        High-level mentorship overseeing one’s career.
       v.        Technical leadership and management competencies (and performance) in proportion to level of responsibility.
Retention is the result of the proactive, professional development of an employee within an inclusive, integrated culture. Hence, one of the most critical factors relating to diverse employee retention is the inclusiveness of an individual’s cultural work style (authentic personality) within the existing practiced culture.

An Aside: This analysis is primarily discussed from the viewpoint of an inclusive, high-performance culture. Traditional factors for success, such as money, relationships, connections, and other well-known organizational development factors are not discussed in this document. These factors assume consistency between a Eurocentric culture and most majority individuals that have been traditionally the keys to advancement and success.
The Talent Management Support System
The challenges to institutionalizing (integrating) a human capital initiative into the culture is similar to other cultural transformation movements. These challenges begin with the commitment of leadership in terms of money, time, and sustained effort necessary to create cultural transformation. If leadership is not committed in thought, word, and deed, then the rank and file management hardly considers the effort a priority.  
Factors that are barriers as a result of a lack of leadership commitment include:
·     Lack of leadership practices that communicate the expectation of change.
·     Mid level managers that lack the skills and commitment to developing human capital; and a resistance to learn them.
·     Lack of collaboration across business units or cross-functional networking.
·     Management resistance to talent-focused evaluations.
·     Lack of alignment of the business strategy with the talent management strategy.
·     Management resistance to addressing chronic underperformance.
·     Success planning that is misplaced in terms of the right people in the right higher level positions.
·     Overall lack of a sustained process; particularly, when predictable resistance sets in, sometimes referred as “the moment of truth” for leadership.
The Diversity Perspective of Human Capital and Leadership Support
Most systems of expectation in Western-Oriented cultures are Eurocentric. That is, they are dominantly individually and task oriented. Whereas, the U.S. work force is fast approaching one third non-Eurocentric, people of color who are naturally group and relationship oriented. The population of people of color has already exceeded one-third of the U.S. population and will probably approach 40% by the year 2015.

The result is that it is not possible to fully tap the potential of people of color as well as a majority of women with a historically one-dimensional Eurocentric system of operation. In fact, until the early 2000’s, Eurocentrism was a way of operating that systematically excluded most of these populations from any significant advancement. At present, what has emerged is “inclusive participation” under the guise of cultural inclusion.
Inclusive participation is allowing the significant participation of people of color and women into the mainstream business activities—without changing the dominantly Eurocentric culture. The predictable result is limited success in proportion to a demographic cultural fit (more majority women culturally available than people of color); and an inconsistency in cultural leadership style and the dominant cultural values of an organization. The result is greater attrition of both persons of color and women at the higher levels of leadership and management as compared with majority males.

The solution is both a concerted effort of producing diverse human capital (Diverse Talent Management) as well as the creation of an expanded, integrated culture of Eurocentric and non-Eurocentric values for success.

This is today’s true competitive advantage.
Components of a Talent Management Support System
The two major components of a talent management support system are:
·     The visible, active, and unquestionable leadership support and
·     The visible, active implementation of the program by management at all levels.

Critical leadership skills include:
1.   Vision – the ability to visualize future business and societal paradigms to guide the organization’s future.
2.   Inspiration – the ability to communicate the vision with such passion and conviction that the organization enrolls in achieving it.
3.   Conviction – the ability to prevail in the face of resistance (or opposition) to the change necessary to achieve the vision.
4.   Accountability – the ability (willingness) to hold one’s self and others accountable for definable, specific, and measurable results that characterize the milestones and final destination.
5.   Faith – the willingness to recognize that there are often forces beyond one’s control that intervenes in one’s behalf where there is conviction.
Critical management skills include:
1.   Delegating – the granting of authority is proportionate to existing and potential competency.
2.   Aligning – the ability to enroll and facilitate others to focus on achieving a common goal.
3.   Coaching – the process of facilitating an individual through a successful (behavioral) learning experience.
4.   Accountability – the ability (willingness) to hold one’s self and others accountable for mutually agreed to measurable performance results.
5.   Managing Change – the ability to facilitate self and others through a transformation in mindset to accept a new reality.
6.   Diversity – the ability to facilitate the development and advancement of a diverse, multicultural work force.
7.   Wisdom – an in-depth understanding, empathy, and compassion for the human experience, such as patience, tolerance, and acceptance of the shortcomings of others.
The Stepwise Process of Implementing A Talent Management Program
It is recommended that the Talent Management Initiative begin with a pilot program.
1.   A Pilot Program
  This program includes the following sequences:
1.   Identify a diverse pilot group of high potential employees; with composition based upon your projected desired leadership composition and/or the present composition of the organization. Use both interviews and diagnostic tests for final selection. Also use a diverse team for final selection.
2.   Design a unique personal and professional development program for each of the participants based upon a competency diagnostic of skills required for leadership in your present and future organization.
3.   Assist the participants in designing a career development plan; with specific, definable, and measureable accountability.
4.   Ensure that a unique support system for each participant is provided for his or her success. Create the mind-set among support leadership and management of having selected the person, success is ensured.
5.   Design a unique training program for this group to both become united as a team and experience personal and professional growth; so that are a collaborative team by the time they become successful leaders.
6.   Track the progress of this group with respect to the leadership needs of the organization, in the present and the future.
7.   Conduct conversations that involve retention and longevity of all participants by a competent facilitator. Focus your efforts on those you want as a career employee.
8.   Utilize the learning from this group for the establishment of subsequent groups that become available to all employees that meet the defined requirements.

Simultaneously, realize that the leadership support system is the critical factor influencing the success of a Talent Management Program.
High performance is the result of highly competent, self-motivated employees enhanced by a highly effective leadership support system. The leadership support system has been discussed previously.

Critical Talent Skills
In order to be highly motivated and talented, one must have both cognitive and behavior skills. Cognitive skills can only be facilitated (not taught) through personal transformation (second-order change). Behavioral skills and implementation processes can be taught and facilitated through behavior modification and practice.
A self-motivated individual with leadership potential has mastery of the following cognitive skills:

·     Dedication
·     Persistence
·     Commitment
·     Determination
·     Responsibility
·     Accountability
·     Compassion
·     Empathy
·     Understanding
·     Awareness
·     Wisdom
·     Etc.

It’s vital to understand that the cognitive skill set (or mindset of success) is the engine that drives the effectiveness and efficiency of behavioral or functional skills.

Critical behavioral and functional (“how to”) skills include the following competencies:

·     Technical
·     Interpersonal
·     Diversity
·     Cross-Cultural (Cultural Competency)
·     Self-Management
·     Management Leadership
·     Creativity and Innovation
·     Quantum-Thinking
·     Strategic Thinking
·     Etc.

with an attitude (mind-set) of continuous learning. Learning both sets of these skills are essential to developing a work force with a critical mass of human capital to ensure continuing and future success.
Talent Management and Strategic Planning
The fundamental idea of talent management is to develop the human resources necessary to achieve the organization’s strategic objectives. Whether a formal program exists to ensure such resources or not, we make our best effort to match the personnel with the strategic business needs. The two are in inextricably coupled. If such individuals are not prepared, we assume (or hope) they are quick studies. Often, they are not.

Based upon the business realities of today involving change in every conceivable way in shorter time frames, talent management or managing human capital is the only sensible approach to achieving performance objectives, remaining competitive, or simply staying in business. For example, the military is not only concerned with attracting and successfully recruiting the best talent from a multicultural, multiethnic population, but also with developing and retaining such talent as they rise through the ranks. The investment in such talent is immense. The same is true for practically every organization, corporation, or business enterprise—both locally and globally.

These demands begin with casting a wider net for talent (based on the assumption that everyone has talent worth developing); focusing on performance objectives rather than being wedded to traditional, possibly outdated methodologies; and treating employees as fully functional individuals, minimizing the stigma of terms such as disadvantaged. In other words, create high expectations within a framework of cultural inclusion. I define cultural inclusion as an environment where equity of opportunity exists for personal and organizational success. Equity of opportunity requires both greater participation in mainstream business activities and a level playing field, called inclusion. Such an environment encourages and nurtures “possibility thinking.” Developing this skill establishes the basis for strategic thinking and planning. Therefore, the major driving force for managing the development and deployment of human capital is to have the highest probability for success. The emerging global (business) paradigm of human potential establishes the fact that there is no foreseeable substitute for human intellect grounded in spirituality and wisdom.



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