Talent Management: Choose to be Proactive or You Will Be Forced to be Reactive

Talent Management

Talent management is a very broad term in the HR world. It’s an organization’s commitment to recruit, retain, and develop the most talented and superior employees available in the job market. So, you can see how this would be a useful term when describing an organization’s HR goals to hire, manage, develop and retain talented employees.

The Story Made Me Cringe….

A large company leader recently shared a situation with me that their company encountered, as an HR professional, the story made me cringe. This company had to make the tough decision to ask a C-Suite leader to leave. This left two qualifying VP’s remaining under the open position. The company’s top leadership couldn’t decide what candidate should move into the position and both contenders believed they deserved it.  After a couple weeks of spending money on outside assessments and taking the time with internal interviews, one of the VPs was finally selected for the role. Unfortunately, this led to the other VP, who was not selected, to quit only a week later because he was so upset with the decision. So now, the company had to start all over in their recruiting process to fill the now open VP role.

In this situation, the initial removal of the C-Suite leader was the right move by the company. When your leader doesn’t match the company’s values and most of the employee base supports the transition, you know it is the best move for the company’s future. However, because the company hadn’t had meaningful and courageous conversations with its middle management before the move, employees who were interested in moving up in the company didn’t have their expectations set appropriately.   I understand these conversations aren’t easy, but they are necessary for any business. In a situation like this, would the results have been different if these kind of conversations would have taken place earlier? Would the VP not chosen have stayed? Who knows, but what I do know is that communication to set appropriate expectations is a must if you don’t want to run into these issues.

As an HR leader, I have three important takeaways from this:

  1. Ensure your high level leaders are able to immediately identify their successor on their team. If they can’t, I would question if you have the right team or the ability to grow their direct reports.
  2. Having conversations with your team member about their future and what YOU see for THEM is essential to setting their expectations.
  3. Lastly, refresh your top company leadership succession plan every year. I will follow up with a blog in the best way to do this, stay tuned!

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