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The New Paradigm for Talent Management

September 10th, 2019

looking ahead to the future

The disruption of old school talent management practices is one of the hottest topics in human resources today. And, in truth, the scrutiny these practices are getting extends all the way up to the C-suite.

Any doubt that corporate leaders are taking seriously the old saw "people are our greatest asset" was dispelled by a new "Statement of Purpose of the Corporation" from the Business Roundtable which put customers and employees, suppliers and communities ahead of shareholders. It was signed by the CEOs of 181 of the largest companies in the U.S.

Part of the declaration says, "We foster diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect." That might not seem particularly remarkable, but it's a clear break from last century's command and control mentality. It's a signal to all that people management is changing.

But to what?

Dr. Steven Hunt, an industrial-organizational psychologist, offered some ideas in a recent article. He says, "The focus of talent management is steadily shifting away from managing processes to collect data used for control, and towards initiating events and behaviors designed to create outcomes... Talent management used to focus on filling out forms and tracking numbers. Now it is about creating effective conversations, positive work experiences and accurate workforce decisions."

In his view, talent management practices will come to focus on six objectives or outcomes: "assembling, adapting, producing, collaborating, including and complying." Hunt explains each of these in some detail. Briefly, what he means by each is:

  • Assembling is the pulling together of people with the talents needed to accomplish specific tasks, after which they disperse.
  • Adapting means doing what it takes to help workers cope with change.
  • Producing will require organizations to create "work experiences where employees know exactly what they need to do and why it matters and have easy access to tools and resources to get it done."
  • Collaborating will be promoted by having management practices to build a maintain high performing teams even given the range of competency of its members.
  • Including means a much broader concept of diversity that also "accommodate the unique needs of employees with different abilities and work-life situations."
  • Complying is just what it now means, except that technology will be a key part to help organizations "comply with regulations without negatively impacting workforce productivity and agility."

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