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Fri, April 12, 2024

CREATING TALENT NURSERIES – I

Basant Chaudhary
Basant Chaudhary August 6, 2023, 5:34 pm
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  • Companies developing talent can combat most challenges

What does your company do? This is a question which people are often asked. In reply, we usually mention the products or services which our organisations offer to the market and customers. Simple and straight!

But how often does our response refer to the talent managed and developed by our companies? How often do we talk about employees whom our companies managed and developed to create shining stars in the business cosmos? Rarely! Indeed, there are not too many earnest creators and nurturers of talent in business. No wonder, companies, which are committed to long-term talent development, have to hardly face such queries. Thanks to the spectacular performance of their talented employees, including managers, these companies need no introduction. Their reputation precedes them far and wide.

So if you are being asked about your company’s business and performance too often, you have reason to worry. It is time for a reality check. The world’s business scenario is changing indescribably fast. Only ‘talent factories’ can deal with the future. Mere talent management will not do. It has to be dovetailed with talent development. In fact, both are two sides of the same coin. The coin turns into much sought currency when talent management and talent development remain together.

It is more than self-evident that promoting talent can be only beneficial for a business enterprise. Also, there is no dearth of knowledge and expertise for implementing talent development. What is missing is the realisation by most top management that their companies need to create talent – regularly and consistently. But promoters lack ambition and are complacent. Exponential growth does not occur to them. They also find it difficult to believe that refusal to nurture new development may push them out of business one day.

The Harvard Business Review had in an article titled ‘Make your company a talent factory’ offered some pointers to evaluate the overall capability of a company, which, I feel, is the first step to assessing the need for recruiting talented persons, managing and retaining them and developing new talent from the existing human resources. Though the article was penned by Douglas A Ready and Jay A Conger more than a decade ago, its recommendations seem to be as relevant today. Here is the version paraphrased by me.

  • Do you know what skills your company needs in a particular area or domain and what you should do to help the company reach its growth objectives?
  • Does your company have a process for developing its next generation of leaders in this area?
  • Do you have specific development plans for your high-potential leaders?
  • Are you able to promptly deploy the right people when emerging opportunities arise?
  • Do you have diverse and plentiful pools of talented employees who are ready, willing, and able to be deployed to new opportunities? How will you ensure this can happen?
  • Do you offer your managers and employees developmental experiences to meet unique challenges?
  • Would the people around you consider you actively engaged in your company’s talent management initiatives?

Dear readers, please notice that the last point in the paraphrased part questions the top managers about their engagement in boosting talent management. (Notably, the term ‘talent management’, which was in vogue when the HBR article was authored, is now interchangeably used with ‘talent development’, the latter being more contemporary). 

Engagement is the key to talent development in an organisation. HR pundits are finding that compensatory benefits alone are no longer able to satisfy today’s talented employees. A multi-country survey conducted by Glassdoor, shows that 70% of employees gave precedence to a company’s culture before joining and 56% valued culture over remuneration.

Employees remain in a company when they find the organisation valuing their contributions and investing in their growth and development. According to LinkedIn’s 2019 workplace learning report, companies can retain 94% of their employees by doing this.

But how many companies care to put their talented employees in the driving seat? By ignoring or neglecting to do so top managers deprive their talented employees of a vision or career plan. Being more ambitious than their peers, the talented employees start feeling disengaged and unmotivated. They lose a sense of purpose in their work and eventually head to more caring and enlightened enterprises. Have we not witnessed bright employees leaving their steady jobs in established companies for risky, uncertain but challenging positions in startups? They find the work in their new organisations more in sync with their extraordinary abilities that have been crying for expression in a more engaging environment. Forget the risk that the gifted employee may face in his new company; instead focus on the fact that your company has lost an asset. If promoters and top managers continue with their lackadaisical ways, they will be left with third rate and mediocre human resources.

HR leaders in the USA were horrified by ‘The Great Resignation’ during 2020-2022 when they abjectly failed in retaining high-potential talent, millions of whom quit.

Creating Talent Nurseries – II will discuss how companies can avert such crises by investing in talent developments.

 

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MARCH 2024

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