The Evolution of Talent Management

The Evolution of Talent Management


See if these comments from an article about the real costs of poor people management practices sound familiar:


No one knows better than HR professionals that an organization’s human capital is its most important asset. The positive impact made by a single motivated manager, an innovative thinker or a newcomer with an ambitious new project can reverberate positively within businesses of any size. Conversely, the burden of people performing below par — the hours spent correcting mistakes, the money wasted on unproductive performance, and the costs of having to recruit and train replacement staff — take a powerfully negative toll on the bottom line.

Yet, far too many executives today continue to regard HR as a non-strategic cost and to under-invest in hiring and employee development solutions. Why would astute executives take this position? Organizations have long had a difficult time connecting human performance costs with their root cause. Underperformance, and its associated costs, results in large part from having the wrong people in jobs. Until the person-job match connection is made, organizations will continue to under-fund proactive investments to ensure that the right people are filling jobs in their organizations, and to over-fund reactive investments in dealing with employee performance problems.

As the world merges into one global economy, human capital is, more than ever, the key driver of profit and innovation. The advantages will go to those who can redefine skill sets, reconcile cultural differences, and match the right people to the right jobs through intelligent and objective assessment.


For those who follow current trends in human capital, this excerpt may sound very familiar. Would it surprise you to learn that this was taken from an article published in 2004?

In 2004 Facebook was founded, blogging was named the word of the year and George W. Bush was re-elected President. The Dow Jones Average closed at 10,783 and the stock price of Valero Energy had risen 93%. The top grossing movie was Shrek 2 and the top selling book was The Da Vinci Code.


The world has changed dramatically in 12 years. In business, marketing/advertising is done on social media. Purchasing and distribution is now supply chain. Cost reduction is focused on sustainability. Tightly controlled corporate data has moved to the cloud and is accessed via BYOD. Yet for many organizations, people practices have not evolved nearly enough.


What will HR and people practices look like 12 years from now? Will business executives in 2028 look back and be amazed that managers did annual performance reviews? Or that companies ran job postings to attract talent? Or that people relied on employers for their health insurance? Or that workers commuted every day to an office? Or that US employees only received an average of 2-3 weeks of vacation per year? Or that quarterly profits drove corporate behavior? Or that pay rates were based on tenure? Or that Human Resources was called that?

Given the amount of disruption in every aspect of business, HR and people practices are unlikely to look the same as today (and 2004). What will it look like? How will HR evolve?


For help shaping the future of your people practices, please contact us.


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Answering Tough Talent Questions

Answering Tough Talent Questions

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with a few business leaders who sought my counsel regarding talent issues. The first was an owner of a rapidly growing business. This person had experienced tremendous success in developing a scalable business based on the demand for his products, but was struggling with managing the growth. He was handling too much himself and needed help. His board of advisors had suggested he develop a talent plan in order to determine how he would attract and retain the talent needed to manage the growth of the company.

The second person I talked with was an HR leader for a global manufacturing organization. The company had struggled with a decline in demand in major sectors of the business, and had hired a new CEO. The new CEO immediately turned her attention toward keeping the best people in the company before they “abandoned ship”. The HR leader was asked by the new CEO to provide data regarding employee engagement and leadership development efforts for the top talent and high potentials in the company. He called me to ask for help since his previous CEO had never asked for that kind of information.

Business leaders are often asked to deal with challenging issues and questions like these. Talent shortages, under-engaged employees, under-developed leaders and other talent issues are well publicized. CEO’s and Boards of Directors have a heightened awareness of these issues, and will seek answers for their organizations. Here are ten talent-related questions every business leader should be prepared to answer:

  1. Do we have a vision for our future and a talent plan to support the vision?
  2. Do we have the right leaders and talent to reach our goals?
  3. Do the best people (ours and others) want to work for us?
  4. Do we know who our best performers are now, and for the future?
  5. Are our people equipped to get us to our goals?
  6. Are our people maximizing their strengths?
  7. Do our people know what top performance looks like and how to reach it?
  8. Are our people excited about our vision and understand how they fit?
  9. Are our people committed to our vision?
  10. Are we tracking our people progress in these areas?

If you answered yes to all these questions, congratulations! You are prepared to address talent questions from your CEO or Board of Directors. If not, join the club. Most organizations do not have the answers to all these questions. How can you get there? With a talent strategy. A talent strategy supporting your business strategy can help you develop a strategic advantage with your people.

Want to learn more about how a talent strategy can help you be prepared for tough talent questions? Here are a few other organizations who believe in the importance of having a talent strategy (click on the name for links to articles and websites):


McKinsey & Co.

Harvard Business Review

Korn Ferry


Bersin by Deloitte



CEB Global

Right Management

Talent challenges will not get any easier. Now is the time to get strategic about your talent.

Want to get hands-on with talent strategy? Here at Future State Talent Solutions, we have created a tool to help you. Our talent strategy framework is part of our Future State Talent Management Model. Using this model, you can develop your own talent strategy. We also have experienced consultants who can help.

For a confidential conversation about developing a talent strategy for your organization, please contact us.


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