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Strategic Talent Management: Take Action!

As you know from past posts, I am a fan of's articles.  Toward the end of last year, there was a wonderful article entitled Why Not Start the New Year by Doing Something Strategic in Talent Management? (see  What is interesting to me is that the conversations we are having with our clients have started to move to the strategic as well - starting late summer/early fall.  Three themes have emerged:
  1. Companies are starting to invest in their business again.
  2. Organizations are beginning to take actions to 'fix' managers that are not performing well.
  3. Succession Planning and Retirement Planning are becoming more common topics.

The article suggests actions to consider.

Actually - the article suggests 15 potential actions to consider.  I am a list person so this article was especially appealing.  That said, you can find the full list by following the above link to the article.  There are a few items that I found especially noteworthy - and worthy of repeating here.
  • Reward great people management - people will do what they are incented to do.  Performance management should be ongoing conversations, not the once-per-year dreaded conversation that managers and employees put off.  Make developing, leading and promoting great employees part of the management scorecard.  Reward managers who put their best people up for developmental assignments rather than hoarding them.  Again, people will do what you incent them to do.
  • Identify and fix bad managers - while recent studies show that engagement is highly impacted by the confidence employees have in their company's senior management, a bad manager (who employees deal with daily) will take a toll.  Organizations know who these people are.  Take action.
  • You need to prepare for a leadership gap - this relates to some of the themes referenced at the start of this post.  The economy is slowly improving; the predictions of pending turnover are growing.  And we finally have demographics to think about - people are using the 'R' word (retirement) openly in conversations.  Companies cannot wait any longer.  The need for robust succession planning is staring companies in the face.
  • Update your retention approach - we focus way too much on recruiting and way too little on retention.  Retention programs have been shelved due to the recent economic trends.  It is time to take them from the shelf and make them part of our daily mantra.  What if we re-recruited our current employees?  Interestingly, that would make recruiting that much easier.

My favorite of the 15 is the least expensive!

  • Improve non-monetary motivation - according to most studies and as reported in the article, a significant portion of employee motivation comes from (1) recognition, (2) praise and (3) feedback.  These items are low or no-cost.  Managers do need to be trained to do these things properly and sincerely.  (And providing training to employees is motivational as well - you are investing in them.)

It's a new year - the time for action is now!