Tackling Talent Management

Sept. 8, 2007
Organizations that excel in developing their people also tend to be high-performance businesses that dominate their markets.
But most industrial companies tend to under-invest in identifying, developing and training their people—even though people are the greatest assets for any institution. In fact, many companies have been forced to hire back retirees in an effort to compensate for the failure to identify, acquire and build the workforce necessary to compete in today’s marketplace.The good news is that the talent crisis also offers a whole host of opportunities to improve talent management practices. Accenture research shows that talent management success hinges on mastery of four core and interdependent capabilities:· Aligning the workforce with your business strategy· Attracting, developing and retaining key talent· Minimizing the loss of critical skills· Continuously challenging the enterprise.High-performance businesses understand that workforce constraints have a huge influence on successfully executing business strategy, so they have developed an exceptionally keen understanding of their particular workforce demographics and have developed programs that are aligned with their overall goals.By elevating human capital management to the level of a strategic function and aligning it with their overall strategic directions right across their organizations, high-performance industrial products businesses are able to focus on the development and pursuit of talent throughout their global supply chains—talent that can really improve their existing corporate gene pools. They clearly articulate a vision for their companies’ workforces and ensure that they understand their worldwide needs—present and future—as well as the resource pools that will serve those needs.The best workforce development programs address a wide range of areas such as compensation, performance bonuses, stock purchase options, work/life balance initiatives and career development opportunities. Further, there’s no surer way of losing the loyalty of a workforce than by failing to keep them informed about critical developments. Ideally, a company should solicit its employees’ assistance in tackling transition issues like realignments in today’s environment of global mergers and acquisitions. Companies with successful retention programs combine all of these factors in order to challenge employees and improve their overall performance.Many industrial companies are either trying to lure valued retirees back to work or entice older workers to stay on the job longer. As new talent joins the organization, it is critical that they have the opportunity to learn from their more experienced co-workers so that they understand the company’s heritage, business philosophy and operating model. This experience and knowledge transfer should be recognized as a vital component of a company’s business and employee development strategy.Flexible workforceDespite all of these efforts to attract, train, retain and minimize the loss of talent, the fact remains that companies are coming under increasing pressure to adopt a more flexible workforce model in order to turn “fixed” cost into variable cost as it relates to the cyclical nature of most industrial companies. Re-thinking shared services and outsourcing can help. Shared services and outsourcing—creating world-class support functions to perform processes that are highly dependent on business cycles—can trim operating costs as well as reallocate the time key employees spend on low-value functions.Getting talent management right requires a long-term commitment. But the effort promises to pay off. Successful talent management is a key to high performance—the ability to deliver consistently superior returns to your shareholders across industry and economic cycles, as well as changes of leadership. Now is the time to start seeing the talent shortage as an opportunity—and seize the chance it offers to create and nurture the sort of workforce that can outperform your competitors on every level. 

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