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Talent Management: The C-Suite’s Secret Weapon
by Paul Loucks


Traditionally, employee performance and talent management was viewed as a highly tactical HR function involving job ads, occasional training and employee appraisals. For the most part this was done on spreadsheets or paper documents, and the information gathered was filed away and not really looked at by executives — except perhaps to justify a raise.

Faced with mounting pressures, including the aging workforce and increasing skills shortage, smart executives in all industries are recognizing that their human capital is a true competitive advantage. In recent years, leading organizations have started to adopt new strategies and technologies in an effort to streamline these traditional HR processes.  This has in turn created a wealth of information that supports decision making and better business results.  Talent management provides the C-suite with a powerful tool to change the direction of their business, gain a competitive advantage and drive performance to new heights.

Talent management strategies and technologies enable organizations to attract, retain, evaluate, compensate and promote employees in a way that better supports the business. But more importantly, these processes help identify and develop key personnel — as well as help organizations align corporate vision and goals. In a highly competitive marketplace, instantly understanding the competencies, strengths and weaknesses of your workforce – and having a system that not only helps to align and focus employees on corporate strategy but also enforces accountability—is a very powerful management tool for any executive.

As a result, employee performance and talent management is no longer just a tactical HR concern. The C-suite and boardrooms are paying attention.

Talent Management Challenges and Issues Impact Business Performance

North American organizations are faced with numerous issues when it comes to their talent. One of the most prevalent is the aging workforce and the need for succession planning. For organizations to ensure they have the skills, knowledge and leadership to fill key positions, they need to analyze their current talent, fill any gaps, identify individuals for future roles, and so on.

Even in the current economy, companies of all sizes are squeezed when it comes to finding the skilled workers they need to get the job done and reach corporate objectives. Companies need to attract the best and brightest workers, while creating an opportunity for them to grow within the company so they can retain them over the long term. The functional areas within talent management are designed to foster the ongoing investment in employees, with an eye to retaining workers for years to come.

Well-executed talent management programs can take many forms, but the most successful programs are conducted online to streamline processes and gain actionable insight into workforce performance. Web-based systems enable companies to save both time and money, while providing executives with the power to take HR to the next level by making it into a highly effective and dynamic management control system.

Often organizations rely on accounting systems to assess corporate performance, but this is really a look in the rear view mirror. Talent management systems offer a more forward-looking approach by providing a whole new level of visibility into how individuals, teams and the company as a whole are performing on a day-to-day basis.  Instead of waiting to report and analyze results at the end of the month, quarter or year, talent management is an ongoing day-to-day process.

Why the C-Suite Needs Talent Management

Here’s some compelling evidence as to why the C-suite should take talent management and goal alignment seriously. A recent study from The Hackett Group found that companies with more mature talent management capabilities reap strong business benefits, including earnings that are 18 percent higher than typical Global 1000 companies. These same talent management leaders outperformed their average counterparts across a bunch of other efficiency and effectiveness metrics. Leaders showed better ability to increase overall employee engagement, faster recruiting cycle time, and a tighter link between talent management and business strategy.

With talent management systems, executives have unparalleled insight into their workforce — who is performing well, who should be rewarded for outstanding work and who is at risk. This enables the executive team and the organization as a whole to take action, keep high performers happy and retain their best employees. A company can also gain an understanding of where it is positioned from a skills and competency perspective, so that it can constantly improve employee performance and advance the yardstick of success. Executives are then able to assess whether they have the right people doing the right things, and who they need to attract or train in order to meet tomorrow's strategic objectives.

Talent management is no longer just an HR function. Any organization that wants to keep pace with workforce trends and be ready for future growth, should take advantage of the opportunity to track and manage the performance of its people, and drive overall performance to new heights.


The Author

Paul Loucks

Paul Loucks is the CEO of Halogen Software, a provider of talent management systems.

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Copyright 2010 by Paul Loucks. All rights reserved.

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