Staffing Management

Dear Workforce How Do We Practically Explain Talent Management?

By Staff Report

Jan. 18, 2011

Dear Defining the Jargon:

Talent management’s goal is to have the right people in the right places at the right times. In other words, it means having fully competent people in every job throughout the organization—right now and in the future.

There are 10 components of an integrated talent management system. Each should be aligned to an organization’s strategies, mission, vision and values and integrated in one smoothly functioning system:

• Workforce planning
• Competency mapping
• Branding and recruiting
• Onboarding
• Learning and development
• Performance management
• Coaching and mentoring
• Career paths
• Succession planning
• Leadership development.

I once was a consultant to an organization starting a new plant that included self-directed work teams. The entire workforce would comprise new employees and managers.

Just as the engineers planned the construction and installation of the assembly lines, we carefully constructed a workforce plan. We considered: who needed to be onboard first to help install, test and maintain the assembly lines, conduct selection interviewing, lead training, etc. The workforce plan had to support the production plan from Day One and into the future.

Self-direction required new competencies. Employees had to make group decisions, resolve conflict, attain consensus and do more by themselves. New competencies had to be added to job descriptions and new performance expectations were created for everyone. They also had to learn about the job, their team members, the culture and so on. That’s the role of onboarding: the time spent helping new people fit in and become productive. Talent management involves a lot of training. It is ongoing and transcends all levels of the organization. Everyone at the plant mentioned above had to learn new jobs, new processes and more.

Establishing performance measures was important, too. Outdated performance appraisals were replaced with data-based performance results and multirater forms that provided employees with specific information about what they were doing well and what they needed to improve.

Coaching and mentoring programs were created. Experienced team members received coaching training and were assigned to watch new people work and give feedback. Experienced leaders from other parts of the company were assigned to mentor the plant’s managers and help them deal with self-direction. The mentor program was also responsible for identifying high-potential leaders.

The plant became a breeding ground for leaders at all levels. We had to keep our best in place for as long as we could. We created career paths to do that. But, still, people left and had to be replaced. A succession plan, not just for the people at the top but also for all leadership positions, was part of the program.

Talent management is an ongoing, just-in-time process that finds or prepares qualified individuals to fill vacant or emerging positions before needs actually exist. It is a strategic process requiring a support structure to ensure people have what they need when they need it so they can move into new positions with minimal downtime. Finally, talent management is responsible for continually expanding the breadth and depth of leadership and putting the best talent into leadership roles. When you are doing these things, you are doing talent management.

SOURCE: Alan Landers, FirstStep Talent Management, Chula Vista, California
LEARN MORE: Please read how some major companies are staying the course on talent development even amid recession.

Workforce Management Online, January 2011Register Now!

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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