Creating Excellence from Talent Advantage: A Talent Management Primer
Talent management refers to a suite of human capital solutions that span the entire Talent Life Cycle from Talent Acquisition through Talent Assessment to Talent Deployment and Talent Performance before returning to Talent Renewal which would regenerate and refresh the organization by feeding the never-ending talent life cycle.
The key strategic leadership focus in the Talent Life Cycle is to manage the continuous alignment of capacity and capability for impact results. The human talent is the basis for ultimate competitive advantage and therefore the alignment of talent and excellence would form that critical foundation for a uniquely exceptional organizational capability.
At the core of the Talent Life Cycle lies the Talent Expertise. The Talent Expertise refers to the human characteristics of the employee embedded with his/her values and personality – needs, passion, motivation, self-actualisation, ambitions – that provide the tensional force driving desired performance empowered and emboldened by the skills/knowledge/attitude triad towards varying degrees of effectiveness and success in accordance with personal talent objectives.
Decision-making and problem solving opportunities during the Talent Life Cycle cultivate the necessary innovativeness and imagination so critical for identifying emergent opportunities to invent the matching resources needed to engage them in a sustainable and responsible manner for the interests of stakeholders - investors, employees, suppliers, customers, community and the environment.
The human talent is dynamic during its life cycle as it relentlessly learns, relearns and unlearns when negotiating and navigating across the corporate Talent Landscape through various tasks and career experiences at different levels of responsibility.
Organisations who consider human capital as their core competitive advantage have reservoirs of leadership succession candidates from well-nurtured Talent Retention gardens which underpin an unshakeable knowledge management base. They manage their companies as learning organisations to transform Talent Expertise into Talent Advantage as shown by the Talent Landscape Matrix.
High performance organisations (HPO) choose to develop their Talent Expertise continuously and systematically through an articulated Talent Development framework supported by coherent career experiences along navigable Talent Pathways. The dual impact outcomes are both a ready source for Talent Succession, which refers to a gold mine of candidates for leadership renewal, and a strong core proprietary knowledge multiplier captured and embedded within a high density Talent Retention pool.
There is numerous research supports for the concurrence of high Talent Retention in the presence of systematic vigorous Talent Development efforts. Without a high level of Talent Retention, it is daunting and extremely difficult to nurture and cultivate a ready pool of suitable leadership candidates so essential to drive corporate expansion and re-creation into emergent marketplaces with new value-laden innovations.
Talent Advantage refers to that exceptional human capacity and capability that have become for their organisations its core sustainable competitive advantage achieving outstanding world-class corporate excellence from the dynamic alignment of human talent and corporate mission. Unique Business Performance is created from a foundation forged by the triad relationship of Talent Advantage, Process Excellence and Customer Relationship to obtain the critical continuous Strategic Talent-Excellence Alignment as depicted here:
The Corporate Brand is the “persona” of the products and services of the organisation to its customers. While a good Corporate Brand can be obtained from a Unique Business Performance with great Customer Relationship, HPOs with a sustainable Corporate Business Excellence have consistently credited their Talent Advantage as the indispensable source of enduring sustainability.
The winners of the US-based Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award are great examples of sustainable HPOs with outstanding strategic talent-excellence alignments. They include Motorola, PwC, Boeing, Xerox, STMicroelectronics, Ritz Carlton Hotel, 3M, Solectron, Corning, IBM, Texas Instruments and several hospitals, schools and non-profit organisations.
Internally, the Talent Brand is strengthened by Unique Business Performance and the fusion of Talent Advantage with Process Excellence. The Talent Brand or Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is a summative aggregate of the entire Talent “experience” from their acquisition and orientation to rewards and benefits satisfaction, through the opportunities of career experience and development, including the intrinsic elements of management style, safety, work environment and organizational Culture.
The Talent Brand (or EVP) must be grounded in authenticity. Incorporating aspirational elements into their Talent Brand, HPO leaders are empathic in their communication strategy when describing the action pathways from visionary visualisation to eventual material reality. The Talent Brand interprets and embodies these elements into an identity that personifies the Corporate Brand to achieve exceptional and outstanding Corporate Business Excellence.
The Corporate Brand also has both practical and emotional elements as well as aspirational attributes. When the Corporate Brand and Talent Brand (or EVP) are misaligned, the disastrous outcome is employee cynicism which directly impacts productivity and suffers leadership credibility. When this happens, the Talent Advantage will fade and dissolve to reach the limit where Talent Retention becomes particularly challenging as the Talent Expertise bleeds to complicate the task of Talent Acquisition, and drives the talent management momentum of its Talent Life Cycle crazy for all the wrong and costly reasons. Overall, business excellence suffers as the HR function and its talent management effort re-calibrates for the daunting task of putting Humpty Dumpty (talent advantage) back together.