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Louis Carter, speaker at Talent Management Asia
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Are your talent decisions driven by business strategy?



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Leading authority on succession planning, Louis Carter, writes about aligning all talent functions to the organisation’s greater goals, in order to build the framework for integrated talent management.

Corporations that are succeeding in integrating their talent management functions are beating the competition in recruiting the best talent, getting the most out of the talent they have, and preparing today’s talent for tomorrow’s challenges.

The talent management process at most companies includes workforce planning, talent acquisition, learning and development, performance management, succession planning, and compensation and benefits.

Each piece of this puzzle affects other functions. For example, workforce planning should be a major driver of talent acquisition, and learning and development should focus on needs identified in succession planning.

Integrated talent management (ITM) seeks to connect these various talent activities into a seamless, synchronous whole.

Getting started with ITM

ITM is achieved when some or all talent management functions of an organisation support each other and share talent data, forming a holistic approach to talent management aligned to the organisation’s strategy.

In some companies, recruitment amounts to little more than filling vacancies with warm bodies or, even worse, hiring the people the company needed 10 years ago to meet the needs the company will face 10 years from now.

A much more productive approach is to make sure corporate strategy is driving every talent decision. Achieving this requires an integrated organisation.

In some companies, recruitment amounts to little more than filling vacancies with warm bodies or, even worse, hiring the people the company needed 10 years ago to meet the needs it will face 10 years from now.

The ITM model, developed by Best Practice Institute, graphically represents these principles in the form of a wheel.

The hub is business strategy. The spokes connect each talent management function to the strategy. And the rim is the HR/ITM technology linking the many talent functions and making shared data possible.

Making ITM work for you

What does ITM look like at a corporation that has achieved it? Here are the two essential qualities.

All talent management functions are aligned with and driven by corporate strategy.

Before integration, business unit leaders made talent decisions based on that unit’s needs, with little consideration of the organisation’s greater strategy and goals. That remains the present reality at many companies.

Meetings, memos, and walking around are insufficient ways for senior executives to promote strategy.

What really makes the difference is driving strategy through talent decisions. Who are we hiring? Who are we promoting? How are people being assigned, assessed, and rewarded? The answers should all be tied directly to corporate strategy.

Meetings, memos, and walking around are insufficient ways for senior executives to promote strategy.

All talent management functions and data are linked through robust ITM technology.

However, many companies have a startling lack of knowledge of their own team members. Before a talent executive’s company underwent sweeping changes in how it does talent, he confided that LinkedIn knew more about its employees than the company did.

Many other corporations collect a wealth of personnel data, but those data are held hostage by the incompatible technologies of various business units and departments.

A five-point strategy

Here are five steps to lead your organisation into the 21st century through ITM.

1. Leadership. Select a team to champion the integration. Harmonising talent management across multiple business units requires leaders with authority, diplomacy, and technical savviness.

The team should include someone from the C-suite, and will likely be driven by someone from HR.

At CDW Corporation, integration was led jointly by the company’s senior director of talent acquisition and its senior director of organizational capability.

At E.W. Scripps, it was led by the HR director and the vice president of talent management. A successful ITM team will be cross-functional, be composed of genuine change agents, and have full support from the top.

2. Diagnosis. There are many great reasons to integrate talent management, but it is essential to know the particular rationale why your company needs ITM and what it expects ITM to accomplish.

Meaningful conversations with key leaders across the organisation are a critical part of forming the diagnosis.

3. Technology. One reason diagnosis is important is because it guides your selection of ITM software. Will the solution you choose deliver in the areas your company especially needs it to?

CDW used a questionnaire to identify critical features of the desired ITM software; the responses became a list of criteria the company used in comparing products and suppliers.

Destination Hotels & Resorts identified three supplier “finalists,” and then asked to interview customers of each.

Many companies choose to develop their ITM technology in-house. In 2012, Best Practice Institute surveyed eight large corporations that had attempted to achieve ITM. About one-third of those are using internally developed ITM systems.

4. Buy-in. The previous steps are all crucial to achieving buy-in. Training and communication also can help with the reception during rollout.

Destination Hotels pulled out all the stops to spread the word about its new ITM technology, including classroom sessions, webinars, memos, and internal web portals.

5. Implementation and evaluation. Integrating talent management does not happen overnight. It is a continuous process of keeping talent activities connected to corporate strategy and to each other.

Successful implementation includes systematic evaluation. Is your ITM system producing the desired results? Microsoft, CDW, and Amway all use employee surveys to evaluate their ITM success.

Don’t forget about results

In a survey conducted by Best Practice Institute, companies with successful ITM processes reported these benefits:

• Improved use of existing talent through such ITM-facilitated methods as talent referral programmes and cross-functional moves
• Improved employee engagement; Microsoft’s employee attitude surveys revealed a more positive outlook after implementing ITM
• Improved succession planning
• Better employee retention.

Integrating talent management does not happen overnight. It is a continuous process of keeping talent activities connected to corporate strategy and to each other.

Becton Dickinson-Japan, a medical equipment company that was an ITM pioneer in the mid-2000s, reported a 130% increase in revenue since integrating its talent functions.

It is no surprise that when a company’s corporate strategy is driving its talent decisions, and its various talent functions are supporting each other harmoniously, productivity can skyrocket.

One of the world’s leading leadership development specialists, Louis Carter is the President & CEO of the Best Practice Institute, a think tank and research institute devoted to leadership development and excellence. He is also a headline speaker at Talent Management Asia 2015.

TMA banner press release

Talent Management Asia is Asia’s biggest conference on talent management and human capital strategy, attracting a large audience of senior HR generalists and specialists as well as other C-level executives involved in their companies’ HR strategies.

To increase your knowledge and skills across the talent management spectrum, don’t miss Talent Management Asia in April. Review the topics & agenda, check out the stellar speaker list and reserve your seat before it’s sold out.

For more information please contact Carlo Reston on +65 6423 0329 or carlor@humanresourcesonline.net.

 



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