As companies continue to focus more on retention of top talent, CEOs have become even more dependent on their HR organizations to help develop and execute a winning talent strategy. This strategy includes the acquisition of top talent in the market as well as the retention of the firm’s top employees. Many of the more successful firms have gone “all in” on creating an integrated talent framework.
Your integrated talent framework must begin with answering the question, “What talent capabilities do we need to win?”. If you do not know what a handful of capabilities are the most important, then each of the activities that you conduct to develop talent are simply creating haphazard capabilities that may or may not be supportive of your strategy. This issue has two parts: One is focused on leadership, the other is focused on technical depth, or function. Here is the deeper content for each of these elements.
The Success Model
The Success Model defines a small number of differentiated capabilities that will enable your business to succeed in the next three or four years. The Few Success Model statements are defined in the language of your business, are aspirational, and only include differentiating capabilities. The conventional leadership competency models conflate behaviors of being “good citizens” with the ones that actually distinguish effectiveness. Both are important, but the former is expected, while the latter takes significant effort to create.
The success model provides a clear goal of “productivity” to guide the talent management. Your executive team has declared these the most desired capabilities, and now your talent team can align your companies hiring, development, coaching, succession, and compensation practices around reinforcing those capabilities. When we asked about the most critical functional capabilities, again, we saw a set of skill models that had been meticulously created.
There is one for every function, and these are multi-page, multi-level descriptions, fully covering all of the elements involved in doing a given job. We found that those models are right, but they are not useful. In other words, they have a lot of verbiage, but the verbiage is not easily understood, nor applied in a faster way, in a talent-development process.
The Experience Map answers the capabilities question by explaining which experiences are the most important for building functional expertise in a specific domain. It is created by experts from your company who are experts in the function, and it is presented in a way that shows the experiences that matter the most, described with concise yet precise language.
You can think of this exercise as focusing more on the competencies needed to accomplish your goals versus job roles or qualifications. This has a tremendous effect on widening your talent pool and refocusing how you evaluate the talent needed for the organizational transformation.
Creating a plan focused on both your leadership function/strategy and the technical depth needed is a great way to create a balanced approach to your talent strategy. It’s a bit of a mindset shift from how companies normally approach workforce planning so be prepared to spend a lot of time educating your teams on the process and desired outcomes.
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I joined the HR industry in 2004 after working as a sales leader in the Financial Services Industry for eight years. After spending his first couple of years in HR trying to fit in, I found my voice. Now I leverage all of the things I once hated about HR to become a consultant and invaluable partner to the businesses I support. I contribute to the HRGazzette and to DataDrivenInvestor on Medium. WARNING: my writing style is raw and in your face, not what you would expect from an HR executive.
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