They are all myths. While there may be a few organizations that truly hire and develop talent, most organizations still approach hiring and training based on long-used – and shortsighted – recruitment processes.
The term Talent Management has been around for years. Google “What is talent management?” and you’ll get over 48,000,000 items. Hitting a few of the early choices produce information from the early-2000s and I’m confident I could find plenty of articles prior to that.
Generally, these articles define talent management as an integrated HR process that attracts, hires, retains, and utilizes the most talented workers, thus helping the organization enjoy long-term and sustainable business success. Organizations that actually implement that integrated people approach will outperform their competition and enjoy extraordinary, long-lasting performance.
Unfortunately, most organizations are missing some key words in their Talent Management process such as:
Integrated: too often, hiring is simply an event rather than a process.
This hiring process starts with building a brand and culture that
attracts top talent. It also includes a candidate-friendly hiring procedure
and system. Once hired and on-boarded (with New Hire Orientation
being a process as well rather than an event), the employee is now
released to a specific supervisor or department with little consideration
about their professional development. And thoughts about possible
positions in other parts of the organization? That rarely happens.
Talented: “Talent” sometimes comes from outside a company’s industry
and may have a wide range of job titles and experience. Unfortunately,
most Applicant Tracking Systems simply look at those past positions,
kicking out automated “Sorry but thanks for your interest” emails to
some very talented people who happen to come with a unique work
Long-term: most recruiters have numerous positions they are trying
to fill and dozens or even hundreds of applications to review. Being
measured on a “Time To Fill” basis adds to a recruiter’s pressure which
is why, according to TheLadders.com, recruiters spend only six seconds
scanning a resume. Can we really find the best “talent” in six seconds?
Might there be more talented talent that can help the organization years
from now rather than just closing that job req in the shortest time
So why do I say Talent Management is a myth? No, I haven’t done any deep research into the subject. And as stated above, there are surely some organizations that do a great job of finding, developing, and keeping truly talented workers.
But even after all these years of Talent Management services, products, articles, and seminars, I still have too many conversations with frustrated “talent” trying to find a great opportunity. I have also consulted with companies that admit “Talent Management” is not much more than a buzz term. While they want the best talent, they have a hard time getting away from “fill this position asap” and still post traditional job descriptions based on past experience rather than searching for the skills, abilities, competencies, and professional passions necessary to do the job.
There are endless examples of both frustrated recruiters and frustrated job hunters who lament the lack of Talent Management. The following LI post is a great illustration of an exasperated candidate who looked for months to apply his talents in a new industry:
“I applied for many positions where I might not be an exact fit but I
had many of the skills needed. . . .For the position I [finally] accepted,
I stressed that I had 90% of the skills that they were looking for and
that I could learn the other 10% on the job. I also pointed out that at
my previous positions I came in not having every single qualification
and I was still able to excel and be quite productive.”
From personal experience, I can say the best employee I ever hired did not match the stated job description. I needed an Event Planner to design and deliver various corporate events and interviewed a number of people who had great event planning experience. But I ended up hiring Ruth Ann who did not have a formal event planning background. What she did have, though, was a great attitude, the ability to communicate well, and a creativeness that would allow her to create and direct some amazing corporate events. I selected her abilities rather than her experience and she went on to be a rock star in the organization.
I’m not saying past experience is not important. It is. But intellect, passion, work ethic, people skills, and being an agile, continuous learner are also characteristics of talented people and should be considered when trying to hire “talent.”
So how do you define Talent Management? What suggestions do you have for finding talented workers with passion, vision, people skills, and a desire to learn new things?
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.