The high cost of poor Talent Management
When he talks about higher costs, Hallstein Mørk is not just talking about money. The pain of choosing the wrong candidate for a position has a strong impact on the individual, in addition to slowing down the organisation. “If you hire someone for a position that doesn’t suit them – as the HR manager, you have failed at your most important task,” he explains.
When we talk about Talent Management, we usually start by focusing on “attracting, developing and retaining the right employee”. In this article, we are referring to Hallstein’s take on management talents within the organisation, but as he says, “It is just as relevant for key personnel and specialists in all areas of an organisation.”
When a person in a key position resigns or becomes ill, their successor must be ready at the drop of a hat.
Make sure you have shortlisted few names and categorise them as “ready now”, “ready in about a year” or “ready in 1–3 years”. If someone in a key position resigns or is off sick, you need to know right away who can take on that role. Good succession planning ensures that you will have the right person in place within a few days. “This is risk management at a high level, it is business-critical and it is expensive to ignore – and HR is in the driver’s seat,” he says.
How do we find management talents from within the organisation?
Identifying talented candidates for management positions in a large organisation is demanding and it is important to define a management model that is reflected in the positions to be filled. Employees in turn need guidance and mentoring to help them come up with a realistic vision for their career path. “I love situations where everybody wins,” he says. “The employee wins, the company wins, and society wins – I hate the opposite.”
Put Talent Management on the agenda at all performance appraisal interviews
During appraisal interviews with their manager, every employee must be prepared to have an opinion on who should be his or her successor based on the management model defined by the organisation, and discuss this as an important aspect of the appraisal interview.
Establish a Talent Management Workshop
During a Talent Management Workshop, managers are invited to present candidates based on important predefined criteria as a basis for discussions about the candidates. Information and data from the appraisal interview is also consolidated as one of several topics for discussion.
When a manager has presented his or her talents, the rest of the group provide input that could lead to a different result than the manager had envisioned. This type of process reduces subjectivity and brings greater nuances into the debate about the leadership potential of the individual.
During a Talent Review or workshop, you can discuss a maximum of 20–30 people, then you delegate down the line and make each manager responsible for developing talent and identifying their own successor.
Thoroughly assess prospective candidates
In HR, we must set goals for our “hit rate”. How well should you aim trying to find the right candidate – knowing full well that a miss will be expensive, regrettable and demanding? Be ambitious when you set your goals. In addition to your own internal assessments, have each management candidate take a reputable and certified evaluation/assessment test.
What do management talents need to learn?
What do they need to learn based on their intended role? Which positions, tasks and projects must the person have the opportunity to perform and learn from along the way? HR and managers play a part in this context in ensuring that vacant positions are used as “learning opportunities” so that the candidate can develop and grow into his or her future role.
Support from the CEO and middle management
Like any other HR and management processes, it is important to gain support from and assign ownership to the CEO, senior executives and middle management. The difference from other, more general processes is that succession planning is all about risk management for the company. If you lose key individuals, you lose momentum. If you lose momentum, you lose money. So how do you get people on board? Be a seller, highlight the win-win aspects, draw up a business case and communicate with everyone to convince them of the value of this approach up, across and down the line.
Invest in Talent Management – it is worth the effort and money. If you choose the wrong candidate for key roles, everyone will suffer: the “successful” candidate , HR and the company. How you as an HR manager prioritise talent development and succession planning is critical for the enterprise.
“Yet the best is still to come: it’s wonderful to see how people in the right position prosper and grow, and that’s what makes investing in Talent Management the best investment we can make,” concludes Hallstein Mørk.
- CHRO Roundtable in Norway on behalf of HR Norge.
- Coach for CHRO’s and consultant in selected HR assignments
- Chairman of a Global HR Roundtable for CHRO’s of 80 of the largest companies in the world
- EVP, Human Resources, Nokia Cooperation
- Managing Director – Hewlett Packard
Minutes from Hallstein Mørk’s presentation “Why are we not investing in Talent Management?” HR Norway Competence Days 25 May 2016
Text: Berit Bjerknes