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The Talent Dilemma Published: Sunday, May 24, 2015 12:01 am By: Ramón Rivera, CEO

Last month we were facilitating a strategic planning session with a group of executives form a local company.  During the lunch hour we were seated in a round table discussing in an informal way some of the events of the morning. Seated at the table were the CEO, the CFO, VP of Sales, Senior Vice President of Marketing, VP of Operations (newest member of the group) and the Director of Human Resources.  As a senior management team they have been together for seven years.  All but one has more than ten years working for this company.

At one point of the conversation, the CFO said that the opportunities for growth that were discussed in the morning where exciting.  He really believed that if they positioned themselves correctly the company could capitalize on these.  Then the Human Resources Director presented an important concern.  She understood that the company will have a talent dilemma it they do not attract and retain the people necessary to facilitate growth and remain competitive.  She said “we have a talent shortage,

At this point the Senior Vice President of Marketing said, Better yet, My friends, My Contemporary friends, our salt and pepper hairdos say a lot.  There was a moment of silence. Then a laugh, a hysterical one that quickly turned into a strange sober laugh as reality kicked in. You see, everyone seated in that table was in their early to mid-fifties.  They realized that they were not prepared as an organization to have their whole management team retire during the next 10 years.There was not a formal process to make sure that the knowledge of key players was passed to the next generation.

These stories seem to be increasing throughout organizations.  The question they ask is, have we identified and prepared the talent necessary to operate successfully in the coming years? Various factors are accelerating the need to establish formal programs to manage talent. (Identifying, recruiting, developing and retaining of high performing employees).

In this age, where knowledge, not land, labor or capital goods own the means of production, companies are competing for the knowledge and capabilities of talent.  The ongoing retirement of baby boomers will peak during the next 10 years.  This group has vast amount of knowledge that must be transferred to the next generation of leaders and skilled workforce.

Organizations today operate in complex and dynamic environments.  Talent in all the sectors of the economy is a source of value.  There is a correlation between the increase in highly talented workforce and an increase in organizational performance.

The mobility of talent can make keeping employees more challenging than recruiting them.  Employment search engines have made opportunities for growth more accessible to everyone.

Today talent management is about managing the demand, supply and flow of talent across the organization to insure you have the right person and the right place at the tight time achieving differentiating performance that creates value.

Our research of literature identifies six elements that are important in creating a Talent Management Culture.

The first is to develop a Talent Management Mindset throughout the organization.  Having the right talent throughout the organization is a critical source of competitive advantage.  Support for talent management needs to flow from those at the very top.  Every manager is responsible for attracting, developing, exciting, and retaining talented people.  Every manager is explicitly accountable for the strength of the talent pool he or she builds.  This is not a HR thing.

Second, create a differentiating and unique Value Proposition to employees.  We think of our people as partners and volunteers and know we have to try to deliver on their dreams now if we are to keep them.  We have a distinctive employee value proposition that attracts and retains talented people.  We are different place to work at.

Third, the Transformation of Recruitment.  This is more like marketing and selling; every time we are out in the street, in a conference, visiting a supplier or a competitor and in a convention,  we are always marketing and selling, it is a key responsibility of all managers.

Forth Creating the Conditions for people to grow.  Development happens through a series of challenging job experiences, and candid and helpful coaching and mentoring.  Development is crucial to performance and retention and it can be institutionalized.

Fifth Reward, Affirming and Differentiating.  We shower our top performers with opportunities and recognition.  We develop and nurture mid-performers.  We help our lower performers raise their game or we move them out or aside.

Sixth The Strategic Perspective.  Shapes the way in which the talent system is viewed, implemented and put into operation.  This perspective evolves over time, so must the talent management process.

Finally we could conclude that could it be that critical talent is not really scarce, it might just be waiting to be discovered, nurtured, grown, picked and released.


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