Training Magazine Middle East March 2015 - Page 17

For an average Fortune 500 company, such an improvement in performance means hundreds of millions of dollars.

- A study from IBM found public companies that are more effective at talent management had higher percentages of financial outperformers than groups of similar sized companies with less effective talent management systems or focus.

- Similarly, a research study from McBassi & Co. revealed that high scorers in five categories of human capital management (leadership practices, employee engagement, knowledge accountability, workforce organization, and learning capacity) posted higher stock market returns and better safety records—two common business goals that are top of mind for today’s higher management.

No talent management system? Relax; it is not that difficult…unless you want it to be!

Attracting, and indeed spotting talented people, engaging them, inspiring high performance, rewarding and retaining them is the key. Today’s leaders effectively need a tertiary degree in talent management.

The science of people leadership has escalated into a rather large pile of frameworks, tools, processes and systems – delivered through MBAs, DBAs, leadership seminars, forums, programs, technologies and networks – all designed to manage that elusive, slippery, challenging team of talented people working with you. Is it really that hard?

When instead of mastering processes, what if you honed your innate social skills to read someone’s mood, empathize with their highs and lows, have conversations, exchange experiences and communicate; even without words.

The first era of talent spotting has been around since time began. For thousands of years, humans made choices about one another on the basis of physical attributes. If you wanted to erect a pyramid, dig a canal, fight a war, or harvest a crop, you chose the fittest, healthiest, strongest people you could find.

Those attributes were easy to assess, and, despite their growing irrelevance to modern work placements, interestingly, it seems we still sub-consciously look for them: Fortune 500 CEOs are on average 2.5 inches taller than the average American, and the statistics on military leaders and country presidents are similar.

Time to go back to basics. If we stop over-thinking the business of managing talent and focus on some simple truths, we may find we are better at this than we give ourselves credit for.

The focus must shift to potential. In a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment (VUCA is the military-acronym-turned-corporate-buzzword), competency-based appraisals and appointments are increasingly insufficient.

What makes someone successful in a particular role today might not tomorrow if the work environment shifts, the company’s strategy changes, or he or she must collaborate with or manage a different group of colleagues, particularly in the GCC.

So the question is not whether your company’s employees and leaders have the right skills; it’s whether they have the potential to learn new ones.

The new era of talent spotting should be one in which our evaluations of one another are based not on brawn, brains, experience, or competencies, but on potential.

How can you tell if a candidate you’ve just met—or a current employee—has potential?

By mining his or her personal and professional history. Conduct in-depth interviews or career discussions, and do thorough reference checks to uncover stories that demonstrate whether the person has (or lacks) these qualities.

For instance, to assess curiosity, don’t just ask, “Are you curious?” Instead, look for signs that the person believes in self-improvement, truly enjoys learning, and is able to recalibrate after mistakes.

Talent Management Feature