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Talent Management should not be delegated to the HR department

Effectively identifying, developing and retaining leadership talent is very important when it comes to any organization’s long-term success. That’s why the majority of them, especially the largest ones, rely on full-time talent management professionals who can work in coordination with other parts of the HR department.

These talent management professionals can create processes for assessing leadership capabilities and set the strategy for boosting leadership talent over time. Talent management professionals can help fill in important positions, ensuring smoother successions, create tools that managers can implement to direct their own careers and drive company-wide review processes.

This approach makes sense on paper. Having a great talent pool is a strategic must, so giving the job to  a centralized group of experts can make sure that this process is done right. A centralized function also allows a comprehensive and objective view of the company’s talent possibilities and makes it simpler to implement solutions like leadership training that can cut across the organization and can be delivered cost-effectively.

But the investment in centralized talent management over the past few years have given mixed results. According to a study, only one in four HR organizations have successfully integrated their talent management practices with the company’s strategic objectives. There are two main reasons for these mixed results. The first reason is the advent of talent management as a stand-alone specialty that has resulted in an extra complicated talent process that is difficult to understand and is confusing to managers too. Whenever a function becomes a profession with an association, certification, conference, etc, it starts taking its own language, which only insiders really understand.

The second problem is that the rise of central function makes it too simple for managers to forfeit their personal accountability for acquiring and developing the right talent for the company. In the majority of companies, how managers handle talent has no impact on their personal rating or compensation. All they need to do is to fill out review forms, attend meetings and believe that HR will take the necessary steps to ensure that the people’s issues are addressed.

And when things don’t work out and start going downhill, the blame falls on the HR department – despite the fact that they’re in a better position to assess and develop their own people. Countering these habits and tendencies is not an easy task, but doing so can make a significant difference in organizational performance.

 

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