Posted by Julia Colin, Global Engagement Lead
Talent management
Posted on June 25th, 2012 at 1:00 pm

A new talent analogy – shoes not sport

I’m feeling a little jaded by all the sports analogies when it comes to Talent.  I know it’s 2012, London Olympics and all, but hey, I feel we need diverse talent metaphors too.

Which brings me to my shoe audit.

I’m looking at a resource of approximately 500 – I’ve not been tracking key metrics and was somewhat surprised at this growth.  Fifty extremely expensive brand acquisitions – some more successful than others.  There is top talent throughout the hierarchy.  I’d say about 20% (100) have been well thought through strategic acquisitions and about 20% of that number (20) are due for retirement.  So how is my succession plan looking?

Where I’m strong is in my almost continuous market research (shopping) – both on-line and via more traditional methods.  This means I’m pretty clued up on the talent available on the external market.

Poor planning, however, has let me down in a number of areas.  A couple of absolute star performers have suddenly become eligible for retirement (a la Scholes and Giggs but now I’m mixing my metaphors). I haven’t properly anticipated this event and need to check if I have any internal resource that I can promote.  In the past I’ve been way too keen to recruit from the external market without ever really reviewing my internal pipeline.  And, in the new economic climate, this policy can’t continue.  Some resources have faded due to over exposure and others due to lack of regard and care.

Top talent remains recognisable but my selection criteria is sometimes a little fuzzy – some seem to be keeping their place due to nostalgia rather than current attributes.  Do I need to be more ruthless in my performance management – more focused on whether my resource has up to the minute talents?  Some would quite happily opt for voluntary redundancy as they could make a much bigger impact in another walk of life.  Redeployment (via eBay or my network) could be a cost effective option.  The key insight is that the way I had structured my teams – big box towers – obscured some really key players.  A thorough audit revealed some low visibility but high performing talent, box fresh talent.

End of audit, a streamlined, better managed resource with investment made in developing (re-heeling) core talent, with some budget from redeployment to secure a couple of new star players.

See, not so different from football after all.

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