People Problem in Talent Management

Organizations globally are one in their view that managing people in a strategic priority. Yet something somewhere seems to be going wrong and research has it that it is the human factor that is big impediment in talent management processes. Is it something in the implementation or lack of people participation at the top level? Let’s try to understand.

McKinsey conducted one research in this direction in the year 2006 and found out that the obstacles preventing talent management programs from delivering business value are too human! Either the top management holds business line managers responsible for not giving enough time to the issue of people management or the executives blame the top management for failing to align their business strategies with talent management strategies.

Senior managers blame the apathy of the top management towards the issue and also that the line managers are not sufficiently committed to people development. According to the survey it was found out that 54 percent of the respondents believe that senior managers don’t spend enough high quality time on talent management. Perhaps the senior managers fail to recognize the strategic importance of the process in their business and therefore don’t see the point in spending so much time on talent management or maybe they are not managing their time well.

Business line managers, according to the survey are equally responsible. Fifty two percent of those interviewed contributed that line managers were not sufficiently committed to people development. Understandably because lower the organizational hierarchy the focus remains more on the present than on the future; additionally it was also found out that line managers do not want to differentiate their employees are top, average and underperformers. Add more to it, forty five percent reasoned that the managers failed to deal with the underperformers.

Another forty five percent people in the survey believed that some part of it could be attributed to silo thinking i.e. focusing on the interests of only one part of the organization. Silo thinking results in immobility of talent across the organization and also hinders knowledge sharing across various departments.

Apart from the above mentioned factors succession planning and lack of understanding of critical jobs in the employees is another impediment to talent management.

The Solution

We may begin from the bottom or start from the top, because both have a stake. Beginning from the bottom would mean performance management for line managers and employees with self service convenience. Performance management systems with superior user experience will increase the use of the system. Business line managers need to be trained on various aspects of delegation and dealing with underperformance and reporting the same. Employee rotation within the organization may help and this needs to be conveyed.

Similarly a top down approach would mean aligning talent management strategy to the business strategy. Intelligent reporting system has some answers perhaps because the results are seen immediately. If the problem is of conviction and belief in talent management as strategic tool rather than a mere cost center, perhaps intelligent reporting may solve it for the organization. For talent management to be successful a though participation and belief in required up and down the organization hierarchy.


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