A non-scientific study of CEOs that I’ve recently spoken to indicates one consistent concern; Talent Management. Fortunately, at the same time, the good people at the Harvard Business Review have provided the slightly more scientific back up indicating the same.
Which is good news for HR, right?
Because we’re all over talent. Aren’t we?
It was 1997 when McKinsey first uttered the phrase “war for talent” and whether you agree with it, or not, that’s almost 20 years to get our act together. Yet here we are, still unable to assuage the concerns of our CEOs.
So why is that?
Well it certainly isn’t due to a lack of “human resource”. During the period between 1997 and today, the UK population has increased about 6% and if you extend this to the global population, the increase is greater. So, theoretically, more talent available. Plus, if you look at increased global mobility and broader labour pools on top of this, then that should also help.
And yet not.
HR has singularly failed to address talent management and we’ve done so because of an inability to address the culture of the organisations that we work in.
Instead of tackling the underlying challenges we’ve developed process. And charts. And portfolios. Because talent management calls out for a portfolio more than anything else, that’s well known…..
When the reality is that only line management can truly manage talent and all we can do as a profession is encourage the organisational culture that allows this to happen. Which requires us to focus on the barriers that exist:
- under resourcing of teams
- focus on short-term goals
- unwillingness to take risks
- narrow perceptions of talent
The fact is that most CEOs could start to deal with their “number one concern” tomorrow, if they really wanted to and understood what the issues were. And that’s where we come in. We need to take the conversation away from the process, away from the god awful 9 box model and start talking about the culture of our organisations and empowering and incentivising managers to grow and develop talent.
Talent management and development happened long before 1997. Maybe we just need to take a look back and work out how we broke the system, rather than measure how broken it is.