Getting managers on board with Talent Management

Posted on January 31, 2014 at 08:27 AM

Meeting HR decision makers at this week’s Learning Technologies exhibition, it’s clear to us that one of the key challenges remains getting line or business managers to play their part in managing and developing talent.

The recent Bersin by Deloitte report - Predictions for 2014: Building A Strong Talent Pipeline for The Global Economic Recovery – emphasises the need to move forward and:

  • Replace traditional L&D with ‘integrated capability development’,
  • Rethink performance management,
  • Redefine engagement,
  • Redesign and reskill the HR function,
  • Make smarter use of talent analytics,
  • Embark on data-driven decision-making

Their outlook underscores the need for organisations to accelerate the expertise and development of both HR staff and line managers, “giving them the information, tools, and support to manage people well”.

The constant debate

We still observe some debate among managers as to how much of the responsibility for ‘talent management’ lies with the line – and how much of it sits with HR.  It probably depends on where your organisation lies on the ‘centralised to decentralised’ continuum and on your definition of talent management as to what the definitive answer is on this (if there is one!).

The Head Light definition of Talent Management

“A combination of interdependent, integrated and adaptive human resource management practices.  Driven by and aligned with the business strategy, collectively these practices ensure that the organisation has the right people, in the right place, at the right time, engaged in achieving optimal, sustainable organisational performance”

By this definition, we think we can split the responsibilities as follows:

HR responsibility for Talent Management lies in:

  • Ensuring that policies and processes around recruitment, training and development, assessment, performance management are both in line with the business strategy and focused on acquiring and development for now and the near future
  • Ensuring that the systems and processes involved in talent management are integrated; can speak to each other, are mutually supportive, make smart use of data and analytics and allow for a macro view to be taken across the organisation
  • Involving and consulting with the line in the development of talent management processes

And that line managers are responsible for:

  • Making it work; delivering talent management on the ground.  Applying processes and policies and practices within their immediate area of responsibility.
  • Ensuring they have the right people in the right place at the right time.
  • Ensuring that their teams are achieving optimal and sustainable performance, aligned with broader organisational and strategic goals.

What next?

With this delineation in mind, we offer our modular ‘Talent Management for Managers’ programme.

This is run across four half day sessions, focusing line managers on their specific challenges and talent needs within their team and offering them simple tools and processes which they can apply daily.

We focus on supporting managers, in a sustainable and practice-led way, to develop the skills and confidence to have critical conversations and to implement sound talent management practices that help them to manage their teams well.

If you want to see a change in the way that talent is managed, it’s not enough to create a strategy.  HR resources are always going to be stretched, but everyone has a line manager and it’s through line managers that the Talent Management strategy is going to be delivered.

Are your managers up for it? 

If they are get in touch with us now.

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