Demystifying Talent Management: Unleash People's Potential to Deliver Superior Results

Demystifying Talent Management: Unleash People's Potential to Deliver Superior Results

by Kimberly Janson

NOOK Book(eBook)

$10.99 $11.99 Save 8% Current price is $10.99, Original price is $11.99. You Save 8%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now


Demystifying Talent Management offers practical advice for all managers, HR professionals, senior leaders, and other employees on how to work together to build a talented and motivated workforce. The book addresses performance, development, coaching, feedback, compensation, and other elements of people management. Using simple, straightforward language, Kim Janson tells you how you can avoid confusion and conflicts when engaging in talent management.

You'll learn: What performance is needed and expected: how to translate your company's strategy into individual performance; What it means to measure and track progress, simply and clearly; What you can and should do to help an individual's development; How to narrow your focus to improve a skill, knowledge, or experience; How to take both an individual's profile and the direction of the organization into account in career development and succession planning; How to make compensation (cash, public accolades, feedback, etc.) a true driver of results; How coaching and feedback are essential in bringing all the elements of talent management together.

This book will guide you to a deeper understanding of the mechanics of talent management and development success so that all the stakeholders can come together in a win-win-win-win scenario.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938548314
Publisher: Maven House Press
Publication date: 01/13/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 233
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Kim Janson is the CEO of Janson Associates, a firm dedicated to helping teams, individuals, leaders, executives and organizations be incredibly successful. Kim was formerly the Chief Talent Management Officer at the H.J. Heinz Company, a Senior Vice President at Bank of America, and a senior leader at Hasbro, BancBoston Mortgage Corporation, and Bank of Boston. While at Hasbro she won the Society for Human Resources Innovative Practice Award for her diversity work and she was featured in HR Magazine on the leadership development program she built in partnership with Tuck Business School. Kim is also an executive coach in the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. Kim lives in Berkley, MA.

Read an Excerpt


Almost everyone in your company sees a piece of the puzzle when it comes to managing and developing employees, but only a few see the whole puzzle. One of the challenges of talent management is that the people engaging in it view things based only on their point of view. This myopia can cause breakdowns in the process. People often shy away from talent management activities because they view them as separate from the important work of the business and trivialize them as "just another thing we have to do." Or sometimes these activities just seem overwhelming. Further complicating matters, most people don't understand how to do them well and, as a result, many are often fearful of these activities. Add company culture and dynamics to the mix and employees don't trust talent management activities and often disengage. If they do engage, and these challenges are still present, they often engage only superficially. But with a robust and comprehensive understanding of talent management from all parties involved, a better end result should occur (if the right levels of skill and commitment are also present).

From the CEO's and Senior Leader's POV

Many CEOs and senior leaders view talent management in terms of cost, and they're mostly concerned with its return on investment. For them, it's all about business results, the bottom line. It's particularly true if they're in a publicly traded company. They have a fiduciary responsibility to deliver superior business results. So, with this as their perspective, their focus is usually: how does talent management add value? Key questions they'll ask are: Do we really need to do it? What's the least amount of time and attention we can afford it and still make it worth our effort? These are great questions, ones that other stakeholders should be asking as well.

I used to work with a CEO in a company that was cash rich at the time. He would say, "The cash you're talking about using for talent management is sitting and earning 9 percent right now. It's doing that without us doing anything. So, convince me that it's worth pulling it out of that nearly sure thing to put into this project, and tell me how you're going to return more than 9 percent on that investment." That's how CEOs think, and rightfully so. But is this how managers, HR folks, and employees think when trying to get senior leaders on board when it comes to investing in people? Including spending time on talent management practices and processes? Most managers, HR folks, and employees don't think this way, nor do they present good business cases to substantiate their ideas. Therefore, most senior leaders aren't feeling the love for talent management that they could be. I happen to agree very much with the CEO's perspective. If you aren't going to get a big return in the short or long term, don't do it. (The fact that different people define long term differently adds to the challenge.) But, if you have the potential to get a big return (and have a great business case justifying this return), well then, not only should you do it but you should make sure you do it incredibly well.

A focus on people has always been necessary for success, but it's never received more attention than it does today. There's tremendous pressure coming from a variety of sources - external regulatory agencies, the competitive marketplace, the demands of a global economy, the speed of technology and information, a shrinking and aging workforce, company boards of directors - all of which makes a focus on talent essential. Increasing productivity, return-on-investment, shareholder value, and employee satisfaction and engagement are no longer an option but necessary for success.

Therefore the majority of the senior leadership team's focus should be on talent management. They should be running the business by enabling and developing great leaders. Someone I previously worked with at a consumer goods company put it well: "Judge your success as a leader by the success of your people. And don't underestimate the importance of your role in preparing them for the future - including to one day take on your role." For many senior leaders, though, talent management isn't the focus. They often lack the knowledge they need to manage talent well. And for those who are insecure, developing their successors is a tough concept to deal with. They might not engage in the right talent management practices for personal reasons as well as lack of knowledge. For many senior leaders in most organizations there's a significant need for improvement.

From the Manager's POV

Some managers view talent management as an important part of their jobs, but many managers are unskilled at it. This is a harsh and unflattering statement but it's true. Managers (and adults in general) want to be viewed as competent. They often reach the status of "manager" because they were at the top of their function delivering good functional results, so they were promoted. On Friday they were promoted and on Monday they come to work, they're the manager, and they're expected to continue to deliver good results. What happened over the weekend to make them an effective manager, a good leader? Did they go to a revival meeting in the woods, get clunked on the head, shout, "I believe," and become enlightened? Of course not! However, when employees step into manager roles, they're often given little direction and little time to learn the job, but they're expected to be good managers from the get-go. This practice is common throughout the world. And super stupid.

Leading people is a discipline. The scenario above is equivalent to saying that on Friday you're a marketing person and on Monday you need to be an industrial engineer. Or on Friday you speak Spanish and on Monday you need to speak Mandarin. We wouldn't think of asking anyone to do these things. Yet the lack of respect often shown to new managers - by those responsible for their promotions who don't seem to realize the significant difference between doing the work and leading others who are doing the work - shows up in the low talent management skill set seen in managers throughout the world.

When faced with talent management activities, managers often don't do them or do them at a superficial level, all the while experiencing a high level of anxiety. You might occasionally have a manager who takes it upon himself or herself to read, go to training, and get a mentor in order to be a better manager. But they're the rare exceptions. Managers try to juggle a host of activities. And as the talent management activities come down the pike, they are pressured to quickly execute them and get them off their desk rather than to intelligently and thoughtfully utilize them to improve the business. It's no surprise then that time and time again managers are rated poorly in surveys by their employees.

As a respected peer of mine, Dave Mitchell, says, "Tools and processes are only as good as the people implementing and facilitating them." Dave is the CEO of The Leadership Difference, and he's helped many organizations by educating their leaders on how to raise their game. He's seen the fallout on the employee side when leaders don't learn.

There's a good book you should read called The Leadership Pipeline by Ram Charan, Steve Drotter, and Jim Noel. They expertly explain an important concept: As you rise in the organizational hierarchy, you need to change what you value, your skill set, and what you spend your time on in order to be effective at the next level. What often happens is that if new managers don't have the skills needed to manage, they remain or go back to "doing" the work. They even take pride in themselves for "being in the trenches" or "not asking their team to do something they aren't willing to do." Well, that's an admirable sentiment but a misplaced one. If a manager is doing the work of his or her employees, then the manager is just an overpaid individual contributor. It's a shame. And it can be easily fixed with the right commitment, instruction, practice, and coaching.

From HR's POV

You will often find that organizations follow one of two HR models. One is a generalist model in which the HR practitioners have a broad set of responsibilities - they do a little bit of everything. The other is a specialist model in which the HR practitioners are skilled in specific areas of human resource management - similar work is grouped and done by specialists. Both models provide challenges in terms of HR being a good partner to managers regarding talent management. The first and foremost challenge is lack of resources. Good talent management work takes time, money, and skilled people. In my twenty-plus years of working in corporations around the world, I've never seen an over-resourced HR function. I've seen a well-resourced HR function on a few occasions, but that was the exception. This reality often creates a "fire-fighting" approach to doing talent management work, focusing on taking care of short-term challenges rather than developing long-term solutions that will lead to superior business success.

Take generalists, for example. In a true generalist model, about 20 percent of an HR generalist's time should be spent on training. How many generalists do you know who train or do some training-related activity one full day every week? As for HR specialists, a compensation specialist for example, they often don't fully understand the end-to-end picture of the business, creating solutions to talent management challenges that are often not the best solutions for the business.

Add to this the fact that HR folks in general are often removed from knowing and understanding the intricacies of the business; the result is under-resourced HR folks who are isolated in their perspective. Ask them to implement or support the implementation of talent management activities (in large volumes) and you'll find that most HR folks will emphasize the task aspect of the work - getting the forms filled out - rather than putting in the correct thought and effort needed to manage these activities in order to realize the best return for the business. The final challenge is the fact that most HR people report into the line of business they support. This is the proverbial fox guarding the hen house. How are these folks supposed to push hard on the business to do the tough but relevant and critical work regarding people if their promotions, pay, bonuses, etc. are being determined by these same people? So from HR's point of view, talent management gets to be mostly about moving the workflow forward.

From the Employee's POV

Employees view talent management activities typically in one of two ways based on past experience. If they have been part of a system with capable managers and HR partners, they view these activities in terms of the benefits they can get out of them. They appreciate the value of talent management when it's done well (which means they're getting the support they need to be the best they can be at what they do). If employees have struggled or have been negatively impacted by these activities in the past, they too often see it as a challenge or a waste of time. Most organizations don't engage employees in the activities that would most benefit them. If managers or HR do engage employees, it's often using a hit and run approach, where employees are asked for information but then nothing is done with it. Or every year or so a new talent management program is introduced that has little or no staying power, no hint as to why it's important to the company's strategy, and no clear benefit to the employees. It's just the "flavor of the month." Employees get suspicious of such activities and find it hard to be engaged . . .

Table of Contents


Part I: Overview
1. What You're In For
2. Bring It On!
3. Stakeholder Points of View

Part II: Managing Performance
4. The "What You Need to Do" Conversation
5. The "How You Are Doing" Conversation
6. The "How You Did" Conversation
7. The "Money" Conversation

Part III: Developing Employees
8. The "How You Need to Grow" Conversation
9. Succession Planning
10. Career Development
11. Coaching and Feedback

Part IV: Additional Components
12. Motivation and Style
13. Diversity

About the Author

Customer Reviews