Consider this: “A 21st-century company should put as much effort into developing its talented employees as it puts into recruiting them.” A fine sentiment indeed. Not many of you I imagine would disagree, though some would be surprised to learn that it came from a McKinsey Quarterly article entitled ‘Making a market in talent’ from way back in (any guesses…?) 2006. OK, so it’s not exactly beyond living memory, but ponder these nuggets: Twitter had just started up, the iPhone wasn’t a thing for another year, and it was that cheery time before the global financial crisis.

To summarise the article, the authors describe a market in talent as a mechanism for employees to find tasks and projects that they would be suited for and the company needs to fulfil. They refer to ‘push’ and ‘pull’ approaches to talent deployment: traditional hierarchical models push resources to where companies deem them to be needed most, whereas an approach that pulls knowledge and talent to the right place is far more efficient in deploying and developing talent. They don’t advocate the creation of a marketplace where individuals try and attract the highest bidder, but rather an exchange mechanism, brokered by HR, that binds the interests of the individual to the interests of the company.

An approach that pulls knowledge and talent to the right place is far more efficient in deploying and developing talent

What then does a 12 year old article tucked away on the McKinsey website teach us now well into the 21st century? Think back to 2006 and recall where you were working then, (check on LinkedIn – launched just 3 years before, by the way). Perhaps you can remember how you felt about how much effort your employer was putting into your development. How about your current employer? Not much difference? Consider then, how you got to where you are today, 12 years on. Perhaps your current situation is a culmination of well-structured, time-bound and incrementally rewarded projects and roles for which you were handpicked. Perhaps, like air traffic control for corporate talent, the succession planning overseers in HR carefully curated career experiences on your behalf to facilitate a steady, planned progression towards your next destination.

Or perhaps that’s not quite what happened, and your career is actually a series of opportunities, loosely stitched together that you sought out, and that you weave a narrative around when you interview for the next opportunity. Maybe it was somewhere in the middle, but I wager that not a great deal has changed for the vast majority. And that majority is getting bigger. In the 12 years since 2006, we have seen a net gain of over 3 million people in employment in the UK. That’s over 3 million more people who have been sold the dream of talent management who can probably only assume they aren’t talent because they haven’t been managed (I’m not even going there with the whole GenX/Y/Millennials in workplace thing…) They find themselves in a working environment governed by the principles of the Industrial Age: Taylorism, hierarchical authority, command and control, standardised workforces and product sets, and other management models upon which the successes of the past have been built.

Perhaps, like air traffic control for corporate talent, the succession planning overseers in HR carefully curated career experiences on your behalf to facilitate a steady, planned progression towards your next destination….or perhaps that’s not quite what happened.

Surely then, in these enlightened times characterised by disrupted business models, digital disintermediation, agile development, and personalised customer experiences we should be seeking out and harnessing the capabilities, ambitions, motivations and potential of our teams, and deploying the sum of such strengths in the pursuit of business performance. Now more so than in 2006, more so than ever in fact. After all, people are your business. They develop products, deliver service and support, and are talking to your customers, and they’re doing all those right now. Knowing how your people can achieve, excel and enjoy their work and lives allows you to get the most from your people’s performance and motivation. Up until now talent management has been a employer-driven affair but now the technology exists to approach talent management in a far more collaborative way, amplifying your company’s one true competitive advantage: its people.

Dan Herbert is an independent HR transformation consultant and an industry advocate of Optunli

 

Consider this: “A 21st-century company should put as much effort into developing its talented employees as it puts into recruiting them.” A fine sentiment indeed. Not many of you I imagine would disagree, though some would be surprised to learn that it came from a McKinsey Quarterly article entitled ‘Making a market in talent’ from way back in (any guesses…?) 2006. OK, so it’s not exactly beyond living memory, but ponder these nuggets: Twitter had just started up, the iPhone wasn’t a thing for another year, and it was that cheery time before the global financial crisis.

To summarise the article, the authors describe a market in talent as a mechanism for employees to find tasks and projects that they would be suited for and the company needs to fulfil. They refer to ‘push’ and ‘pull’ approaches to talent deployment: traditional hierarchical models push resources to where companies deem them to be needed most, whereas an approach that pulls knowledge and talent to the right place is far more efficient in deploying and developing talent. They don’t advocate the creation of a marketplace where individuals try and attract the highest bidder, but rather an exchange mechanism, brokered by HR, that binds the interests of the individual to the interests of the company.

An approach that pulls knowledge and talent to the right place is far more efficient in deploying and developing talent

What then does a 12 year old article tucked away on the McKinsey website teach us now well into the 21st century? Think back to 2006 and recall where you were working then, (check on LinkedIn – launched just 3 years before, by the way). Perhaps you can remember how you felt about how much effort your employer was putting into your development. How about your current employer? Not much difference? Consider then, how you got to where you are today, 12 years on. Perhaps your current situation is a culmination of well-structured, time-bound and incrementally rewarded projects and roles for which you were handpicked. Perhaps, like air traffic control for corporate talent, the succession planning overseers in HR carefully curated career experiences on your behalf to facilitate a steady, planned progression towards your next destination.

Or perhaps that’s not quite what happened, and your career is actually a series of opportunities, loosely stitched together that you sought out, and that you weave a narrative around when you interview for the next opportunity. Maybe it was somewhere in the middle, but I wager that not a great deal has changed for the vast majority. And that majority is getting bigger. In the 12 years since 2006, we have seen a net gain of over 3 million people in employment in the UK. That’s over 3 million more people who have been sold the dream of talent management who can probably only assume they aren’t talent because they haven’t been managed (I’m not even going there with the whole GenX/Y/Millennials in workplace thing…) They find themselves in a working environment governed by the principles of the Industrial Age: Taylorism, hierarchical authority, command and control, standardised workforces and product sets, and other management models upon which the successes of the past have been built.

Perhaps, like air traffic control for corporate talent, the succession planning overseers in HR carefully curated career experiences on your behalf to facilitate a steady, planned progression towards your next destination….or perhaps that’s not quite what happened.

Surely then, in these enlightened times characterised by disrupted business models, digital disintermediation, agile development, and personalised customer experiences we should be seeking out and harnessing the capabilities, ambitions, motivations and potential of our teams, and deploying the sum of such strengths in the pursuit of business performance. Now more so than in 2006, more so than ever in fact. After all, people are your business. They develop products, deliver service and support, and are talking to your customers, and they’re doing all those right now. Knowing how your people can achieve, excel and enjoy their work and lives allows you to get the most from your people’s performance and motivation. Up until now talent management has been a employer-driven affair but now the technology exists to approach talent management in a far more collaborative way, amplifying your company’s one true competitive advantage: its people.

Dan Herbert is an independent HR transformation consultant and an industry advocate of Optunli