Talent Everywhere (HR Trends 2017, 13)

Talent Management Trends

End 2015 we published our article “10 Talent Management Trends for 2016“. Most of these trends are still very actual.

talent management trends

In this article, we want to focus on number 9: internal and external talent pools are considered.

Internal and External talent pools are considered

Talent can be everywhere

The focus of talent management in organisations is often on the internal talent pool. Succession from within is considered to be better than external succession. Key question: how can we detect, develop and retain the talent we have? If you broaden the view, there seems to be talent everywhere! A new key question for talent management: how can we connect the right talent, wherever it is today, to projects in our organisation, when this is required?

  • There are people who do not want to be on the payroll of big organisations. They are interested in challenging projects, and if you have a challenging project they might want to get involved.
  • There is talent in other organisations whose potential is not fully utilised. By sharing talent between organisations, fulfilling potential might be easier.
  • There are online intermediaries who can help you to find the right talent in the global talent pool.
  • By funding and supporting start-ups, you can connect to innovative entrepreneurs.
  • And there tends to be a lot of talent hidden inside organisations who are not detected by the traditional talent identification processes.

Talent identification: a waste of time

In my career, I have wasted a lot of time with the traditional talent identification process. In many organisations, this is still one of the focus points of HR: let’s detect our talent, put them in a talent management system, so that when we have an opportunity we just push a button and the short list with suitable candidate is presented. The highlight of the process is the presentation to the Board of the 9-Box (see below, courtesy Karen Caruso).

9 box

Generally, the traditional process is too slow and very biased. It is biased because the talent definitions tend to be based on gut feel and common sense, and not on the outcome of thorough people analytics. It is also biased, because often the view of senior management plays an important role in the talent identification process, and their line of sight is limited, and their views on what good looks like are usually very biased. It is also biased because almost always only the people on the payroll are in scope. With Dave Ulrich’s business partner model, the 9-box is certainly in the top 10 of HR models that have done a lot of harm. The good news is that HR and senior management can save a lot of time by redesigning their talent management processes.

How to detect hidden talent?

Today there are many online intermediaries that can help you to find talent everywhere. Anna Johansson has made an excellent overview, but there are many more than the ones on her list. Future talent identification tools are powered by artificial intelligence. Jessica Miller-Merrell recently published a list with organisations that provide AI based tools. The developments look very promising, and finding hidden talent will become a lot easier. Using AI will also help to increase diversity, as machines tend to be a lot less biased than human beings.

Illustration: Studio Fee Overbeeke

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