2010 Trends: Get Your Talent Strategies Straight

Managing talent in the workplace is not an easy task during an economic downturn. Most companies focus more on survival strategies and cost efficiencies than on expansion and growth. As a consequence, HR has been working on redundancies, social plans and exit strategies, while salary increases and training budgets have been slashed. Talent management might seem like a far-fetched option in dire times, but nevertheless it remains and will remain one of the most important focal points for the HR professional in order to preserve talent for the future growth of the organization.

HR professionals must think about how to deploy staff once their organization gets out of the recession. Some companies have taken a beating in their employer branding as a consequence of redundancy programs, and that must be dealt with before starting new recruitment campaigns. Surely some companies will continue as before and hire new staff, but many will not want to enter into long-term commitments until they are relatively sure the crisis is over. This means that they will gravitate towards contractors and temporary arrangements with fixed-term assignments and a performance result, on which part of the rewards rely, thus maintaining flexibility in the make-up of their workforce. The introduction of new legislation around executive rewards, stock option plans and bonus schemes leads to different reward plans, especially in the financial sector. At the same time more people will freelance, and negotiate result-based rewards per project, thus ending the bonus discussion. HR must accommodate these changes and design new contract terms and reward policies.

Organizational development centers on getting the right employee with the rights skills at the right time and place, while personal development focuses on employees developing themselves based on their ambition and interests. Both are part of HR’s responsibilities and by successfully combining them, talent management has become a corporate competency. In the past, organizations tended to set up expertise centers on subjects like performance management, recruitment or leadership development, but also in this area we observe a more hybrid approach, combining all of these talent-related subjects into an integrated talent management strategy. As part of Hybrid HR, the focus of talent management lies on integrating the organizational and personnel life cycle: recruit and staff, manage performance, plan succession, learn and develop, reward and recognize in order to create maximum value for both business and employee.

The new HR professional must therefore not only possess a good understanding of the talent management processes, but combine this with an in-depth understanding of the strategy and (changing) business model of the enterprise. Fortunately, more providers are offering IT solutions that support talent management processes and thus create a consistent approach that can be measured and evaluated. It is therefore important to ensure that in addition to the basic HR processes, talent processes are also supported by the right combination of OnPremise, BPO and OnDemand functionality. A sound decision making process based on thorough analysis must be part of each talent management strategy in order to demonstrate tangible results. Only by combining all aspects of the business and translating them into an effective talent management strategy will the HR professional will be able to attract, develop and retain the right people at the right time.