Valuing Talent

Most of us readily agree that our organizations perform as well as the quality of our investment in talent.  Clearly, the last two decades raised awareness among executives regarding the importance of employing the “right” people with the right skills.  While more recently, leaders transitioned from simply recognizing that the quality of employees matter to acknowledging that proper alignment of talent accomplishes even more.  Jim Collins in Good to Great summed it up best:

Most people assume that great business leaders begin change initiatives by setting a new direction and articulating a fresh corporate vision. In fact, leaders of companies that go from good-to-great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.”

His bus analogy has become a key part of the business vernacular.   It captures the essence and importance of managing talent: having the right people in the right seats.  Nevertheless, realization does not equate to reality.

A recent KPMG survey of 400 senior executives found that only 17 percent felt that their talent management function does a good job demonstrating its value while only 15 percent felt that the same function produced something insightful or predictive on a regular basis. The findings indicate we recognize the importance of talent management, but most of us feel we are not maximizing its value.

Among US respondents, more than 34 percent indicated that data analytics and cloud computing technology would comprise their next big human resource investment.  What do they hope to gain from investing more in analytics and great computing capacity? Determining how best to close the talent gap.    Respondents emphasized that the most important role for the human resource function is to retain “crucial skills and experience.”

What might shock some readers is the approach that a large portion of respondents intends to adopt in near future to address their talent needs. As we have discussed before, the age of traditional employment seems to be waning with many organizations utilizing a hybrid approach to talent acquisition that minimizes cost while maximizing value.  In other words, organizations are opting for multiple employment arrangements that mix traditional, temporary, and contract employees.

The real value of your talent relates directly realization of your organization’s desired business outcomes. It is nice to be the bastion of exception people, but most of us would rather be the exemplar of results.  A sound talent management strategy and method of analysis provides that interactive tool set for attracting, retaining, and maximizing exceptional talent through creativity, flexibility, innovation, and responsiveness.


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