Talking point

What
is the most important thing that HR should be doing to optimise the
contribution of talent in an organisation and to accelerate its growth? Experts
and senior HR practitioners sum up their views in a few words.

Lucinda
Charles-Jones, HR director RAC, on engaging the board and colleagues.

HR
has a key role to play in any business by getting the discussion on talent on
to the business agenda.  That means that
we have a responsibility to drive both the debate on talent and the actions
that come out of this.

This
is best achieved by being pragmatic in how we approach the discussion. Put the
debate in the context of the challenges and priorities that our business faces
and be clear on our talent management process – how we review talent in the
business and where the key skill gaps are. 
If we engage our fellow directors/line managers in this debate, they
will then both input to and own the outcomes.

We
then need to facilitate the discussion around the board or senior management team
to get both the issues onto the table and the actions debated and agreed.

Our
final responsibility is to take personal responsibility for developing talent –
whether that be in great business-focused development programmes or in the role
that we play in bringing new talent into the organisation.

Lucy
McGee, Marketing Director, Development Dimensions International (DDI) on giving
ownership to the line

HR’s
most important mission is to educate an organisation’s leaders that business
plans for growth and change simply don’t stand up without a serious
commitment of their time and energy – and the organisation’s money – to
developing people.  HR needs to be continually challenging the thinking of
finance, marketing and R&D peers as to how a company can grow profitably if
the people remain only as good as they were yesterday.

HR
can facilitate the processes around identifying talent, diagnosing development
needs and proscribing solutions, so long as this is owned by the business, from
CEO down. Through strong relationships with the senior team, HR needs to help
leaders engage as coaches, mentors and, critically, arbiters and auditors of
development activity. HR can help create systems which measure progress, but
accountability for spotting, accelerating and retaining talent needs to reside
with managers at all levels.

HR
can and should be experts in initiatives – a coaching programme, culture
change, performance management – which create the skills and embed the
priorities around talent management. But it has to learn to let go and get
managers to see and love these activities as business drivers – and part of
‘the day job’.

Dr
Phil Smith PhD, C Psychol, FRAeS, TalentWorks, on clarity in the leadership
team

The
most important thing that HR can do to optimise talent management is
to make sure that the leadership and key decision makers are crystal
clear about the human capabilities needed to differentiate them through the
invisible barrier between competitive differentiation and competitive
leadership. The broadside "War for Talent" is not a differentiator
any more, if it ever was. Everyone wants the Best People working for them. The
key is to have a strategy for pinpointing the specific capabilities and competencies
you need for competitive differentiation, the costs and benefits of making
versus buying them and the resources to fulfil the plan that results. Talent
Management in the first instance is about creating the internal resource and
momentum needed to think strategically about what Talent really means to your
organization. It has to start with the leadership team – they are both the
potentiating and the limiting factor in the success of talent management
initiatives.

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