A shortage of skilled workers and the retirement of the boomers pose new challenges for companies of all sizes. It is becoming increasingly difficult to adequately fill important positions in the company. One solution that has been discussed and practised for about 20 years is talent management.
For successful talent management, it is purposeful to focus not only on “hard” factors such as knowledge, qualifications and skills, but also on “soft” factors such as motivation and personality. Companies that engage in talent management should therefore be prepared to anchor talent management in their corporate culture as a future-oriented strategy for more competitiveness.
Talent management as a leadership task
Decisive for successful talent management are the managers in the company, provided they have a positive attitude towards talent management. In addition they should know their employees and their hidden talents well. After all, it is not only the so-called high potentials who should realise their potential, but all employees. The HR department and service providers specialising in talent management are process facilitators.
An example from my professional practice
An industrial company, whose products had been selling themselves for years, decided to reorganise its sales department. They called me in as an expert. An initial analysis showed that the existing sales staff were only out in the field a few days a month visiting customers – definitely too few to increase the added value. For the reorganisation, we first looked at the potential of the existing managers and employees in sales. The result: the previous sales manager was given the position of Business Unit Sales Manager and thus a larger area of responsibility. Although everyone in the previous sales team was interested in a company car, only a few were willing to spend several days a week on the road visiting customers. What to do?
Talent Management and Performance Management – the combination for more success
The first step was to assign the best salespeople to the most important customers. Then we started looking for sales talent in the company. We focused on sales-related departments such as finance, logistics, purchasing or customer service. Luckily we found what we were looking for, but motivation and personality are of course not enough to work successfully in sales. Instead of lengthy and expensive training, we decided to buddy the new team members with experienced sales people who knew the benefits of the company’s products. They took over the technical management of the newcomers, while the administrative personnel responsibility was taken over by superiors who were interested in personnel development. A win-win situation for all involved.
Who needs talent management?
In view of demographic and technological developments, I believe it is becoming increasingly important for companies of all sizes to keep track of all their employees’ potential so that they can be deployed elsewhere if necessary. Job profiles and fields of activity are changing in ever shorter cycles, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to bring new knowledge into companies through new personnel. Companies that make targeted use of all the existing potential of their employees and offer them career prospects and development opportunities have the best chance of remaining competitive in the future.
And what about talent scouting?
Sectors that are looking for young talent should also look into talent scouting. This term is mainly used to describe the search for young talent in the final years of school and university education. Many people are familiar with talent scouting from football. Talent scouts specifically search for young players in the youth teams of clubs in order to be able to promote them at an early stage and use them profitably.
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