How HR Can Develop a Total Talent Management Philosophy

August 31, 2020 Marinus van Driel

Geopolitical disruptions, economic changes, technological advances and the Covid-19 pandemic—  disruption in the labor market has become the new norm. Companies are faced with the choice to either become a disruptor or be disrupted. But to be a disruptor, you need talented people — and talent acquisition teams agile enough to prosper in turmoil. It’s past time for HR to develop a total talent management philosophy that embraces disruption as an opportunity for growth.

Recruitment and retention of high-impact transformational talent is probably the easiest place for human resources professionals to orchestrate its own transformation, but to succeed they will have to embrace agility and take new approaches to dealing with the chaos and disruption in the labor markets.

So how does HR develop a total talent management philosophy that embraces agile practices and transforms itself into a strategic weapon for the organization?

Give Good Ideas a Chance

The first hurdle to overcome is your organization’s culture; there has to be an openness to trying new things and a willingness to take risks.

Embracing disruption and an agile workforce means approaching change through experimenting  — and this applies to total talent management as well. Talent management and acquisition strategies and tactics that worked in the past won’t necessarily yield the same results going forward. By swiftly trying and testing new methods, we can create the processes of the future. And the best way to innovate and perfect new practices is by relying on an iterative approach of experimenting, followed by learning and adjusting.

Emphasize Innovation — Your Future Depends on It

...treating people like a number doesn’t account for their individual needs, desires or strengths.

An agile talent management philosophy requires an openness to and acceptance of new ideas, even if they’re completely without precedent. This also applies to the use of HR technology in talent management.

Technology is a key enabler of agility. If you don’t have a platform that allows you to execute a variety of complex talent management functions in a reasonable amount of time, and at a relatively low cost, your agile talent management approach will fail. But many recruiting teams are prevented from selecting fit-for-purpose technology and are expected to operate on core HR technology that doesn’t meet their complex needs.

In the past, many HR software platforms operated as though people were simply numbers. But treating people like a number doesn’t account for their individual needs, desires or strengths. Agile recruiting teams prefer to have candidate-centric platforms at their fingertips that empower them to approach hiring in a new, meaningful way. Deploying agile practices will help you to identify what you actually need in software and how you can implement it to the best effect.

Take a Nuanced Approach

Total talent management isn’t a one-size-fits-all process — there are differences in industries and markets that dictate your talent management needs. Often this requires allocating more time and resources to customization and matching the management process to the audience’s unique needs. There’s no doubt that these are complicated organizational challenges that require attention and resources, but victory in a turbulent labor market belongs to agile recruiting teams.

Agile practices can help in fostering customization and innovation. Rapid process deployment can give you a quick answer about a technique or a technology’s effectiveness. You can run these trials on a small scale simply to test effectiveness. Change on a small scale can have huge repercussions, so don’t discount these trials — agile-cultivated talent management can help turn talent management in an organizational strategic weapon.

Download our white paper, Does Your Workforce Have the Talent DNA for the Digital Future , to learn more about cultivating agility to build a workforce prepared for the future and ready to prosper in turmoil.

About the Author

Marinus van Driel

Marinus van Driel, Ph.D. is a Managing Director within the Talent, Rewards, and Performance practice at Aon. His responsibilities include providing strategic, expert advisory, and transition management services to clients related to implementation and maintenance of enterprise-level talent assessment systems. Marinus holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology.

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