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Zenas Kok, Head Of Human Capital, Fraser & Neave

It's All About Talents Now - So How Do We Avoid Going Down The Rabbit-Hole?Zenas Kok, Head Of Human Capital, Fraser & Neave

HR Practitioners all over will wonder who they will lose after the year-end bonus is paid. Even topnotch organization will have the same concern as they battle for talents with their fiercest competitors.

For HR in industries facing talent crunches, like ICT or even Consumer Goods, what do we do? Attrition is inevitable but one of the most effective counter-agents to an employee’s staying power, besides salary, is their growth; in this case both personal and professional.

So, for organisations with hundreds of employees, do we have the adequate resources and budget to be able to take care of every single individual? Of course not. So, how do we ensure our business is sustained by keeping the right people with us?

Who are your talents?

Using performance-data over a period of time to check for consistency, identify your talents and rank them in terms of strength. If you can, include an assessment in learning agility which is a great pre-cursor to potential and future performance.

Once you know who your key-talents are, what is next? Identify your critical positions so that you can match your talents to these positions.

Key positions typically have great impact to the Company if left empty and/or are hard to fill due to a lack of competent candidates. Tech companies will have many of these so guarding your key talents is crucial to business continuity.

Which talent for what position?

 Check each talent’s career aspiration which is a must-have starting point. That said, this is not enough. The immediate superior, who plays such a crucial role in developing and keeping our talents, must agree that the career aspiration of our talent is the right one for them. By knowing each other better, this accurate assessment can only get better until there is an alignment of the targeted role between the two of them for the talent to aspire towards.

But there’s never going to be a perfect fit of talents to critical positions? What then?

While that is true, it should not stop us from mapping as many right fits as possible as this match allows the Company to know what to do with their talents and which role requires external talents to be brought in to improve your talent bench-strength.

“Every Employee Can Be Called A Talent. But With Limited Resources, You Want To Invest The Most In Those Who Can Return The Most Back To The Company”

For talents aiming for the same position, this means you have back-up which is always a good thing. But also open your minds to consider some talents who may do as well or even better in a new role altogether. Have you yourself thought about moving from a technical role to a non-technical role such as Human Resource? With HR systems, AI, analytics, RPA, even HR has become highly technical and an ITspecialist will not find HR a strange place to be in.

What do we need to know from our talents?

 The answers here are pertinent to not only People Managers wanting to get a handle on their talents or HR facilitating the Company’s talent management & development, but also each and every one of us who want to progress in the organization as a talent.

First thing to ask is our willingness level to grow into the next level. Are we willing to move to another role, or take up additional responsibilities or even be based outside of our current location? Then ask, how able is this person to take up a higher role? Does this person have the necessary experiences, exposure, knowledge and skills to make him or her competent? Finally, ask when this person is ready to move up. Is it soon? Or does he or she require more time?

How do we actually make an investment in our talents?

Many of you have been introduced to the concept of learning by 70/20/10. For the uninitiated, 70 refers to learning by actually doing the work or Learning Through Experience. This includes project works, OJT and job rotations. 20 refer to Learning from Others which can be your immediate superior or Mentors/ Coaches. Finally, 10 refers to class-room training or attending courses/seminars and conferences. Of course, learning through experience is most effective.

Organisations should adopt a structured development plan which features heavy emphasis on project work and job rotations. The former may be easier to do than the latter but still require Management-teams to create the environment for projects to take place and for team-members to be rewarded for their extra efforts. For the latter, it’s even more difficult as superiors tend to not want to share their best people. In this case, the Management-team must work as one to allow for and make the rotations happen.

Wrapping up (and covering the Rabbithole).

 Talent Management& Development, in any Company within whichever industry is not so difficult to do. Sure, if you are a Manager or HR in the tech-industry where talents are actively courted, the situation is more precarious. But setting up a Talent Framework is relatively easy. Getting it as part and parcel of your critical, annual HR-calendar of activities is more challenging. More to the point, getting your Managers to be passionate about identifying and developing their talents are crucial to the success of any framework. Good luck in your efforts as a Talent yourself, or a Manager of talents or as part of the Management/HR-team looking after your talents. It is after all, a team effort!

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