Talent Management – enhancing chances to withhold our talents

The development of talent in a company is a dynamic process, a course from practice to knowledge, then to further practice and deeper knowledge. The best method to discover and culture talent is to let it work. – Liu Chuanzhi

[otw_shortcode_dropcap label=”T” font=”Dancing Script” background_color_class=”otw-blue-background” size=”large” border=”border” border_color_class=”otw-silver-border” shadow=”shadow”][/otw_shortcode_dropcap]hree dancers were going to a famous dance school for their last lesson, all of them lost in their thought.
The first dancer thought, “I love my hips and my legs. They are gorgeous. No other dancer is like me. When I get to the ballroom, I’m going to show off my beautiful legs and all of the other dancers will be jealous.”
The second dancer thought, “I love my legs but I need to protect them. I can’t afford for them to get damaged, so I’m going to preserve them during the lesson. I know that I can do more, but it’s too risky.”
The third dancer thought, “I love my legs. They are fantastic and I’m going to push the limits and get the most out of them. I’m going to become the best dancer ever seen. I’ve been given these legs for a reason, so I’m going to work hard and become a famous dancer”.
We’ve all been given unique talents, experiences and attributes for a reason.

  • Not to show off that we have them.
  • Not to do the bare minimum with them.
  • But to fully develop them and use them to their maximum capacity.

We are each here to make a positive difference to the world around us and are all equipped for the task.
This is the talent from an employee’s viewpoint; we, as entrepreneurs, recruiters, HR professionals and so on, should keep in mind that every new employee seeks a challenging and fulfilling career, a game that creates livelihoods.

The Talent Game

But what is this game?
It’s what we could name “The Talent Game” and what companies could call “The War for Talent”.
We all know that “talent” is a critical driver of corporate performance; that definition is so true because the right person at the right place does the right thing instead of only doing the thing right – that is also the real difference between a leader and a manager as Warren G. Bennis said in 1985.
TopPressuresforOnboardingA 2013 report by the Aberdeen Group noted that organizations face intense pressure to efficiently onboard more new talent to meet company growth objectives (49%), address the shortage of critical skills in the market place (44%) and innovate their new hire programs (29%).
According to a survey by human resources consultancy NorthgateArinso, nearly 90% of leaders said that they believe “securing the right people at the right place at the right time” is critical to delivering their organization’s vision. And 85% said the organization’s success would depend on “identifying and retaining top talents.”
Effective talent management leads to satisfied staff and, more importantly, better results. Employees who were most committed to their organizations gave 57% more effort and were 87% less likely to resign than employees who consider themselves disengaged, according to a study by the Corporate Executive Board.
Just think over it; in this context, what’s the role of the HR department?
It has always been seen as a mean to find the right candidates, qualify them based on interviews and train them. After that, HR representatives usually cross their fingers in hopes the talent will stay and contribute to company growth.
Is it good news? Of course, remaining passive during the evolvement of this process is always the worse thing to do; so what could we do to enhance the chances to withhold our talents within the company?



Have you ever thought about gamification as a mean to reach that goal?
gamificationLet me clarify. Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to enhance users’ engagement; Gamification offers new ways to align candidate behavior with organizational goals.
Just think over it; instead of telling a professional that he “doesn’t meet expectations”, isn’t it better to say that he did not clear the second level of the game? Instead of creating performance ratings, HR representatives can create transparent leaderboards with badges attached to each level, so that an employee knows how he or she is doing in his business unit, region, country or globally.
Some examples of this application can be found at SAP that uses games to educate its employees on sustainability; at Unilever that applies them to training; at Hays that deploys them to hire recruiters and at the Khan Academy that uses it for online education.
gamificationAccording to the Aberdeen survey, organizations with gamification in place improve engagement by 48%, as compared to 28% with those who do not, and improve turnover by 36% as compared to 25%.
Gartner predicts that by 2014, more than 70% of global organizations will have at least one gamified application, which can range from mastering a specific skill to improving one’s health.
However, Gartner also says that 80% of gamified applications will fail if not designed correctly and that means that gamification applications are most effective when they are customized to various industries and their specific needs.
Of course, gamification is only one of the options at our disposal.
Let’s return to “The War for Talent”. We know that the company’s ability to attract, develop and retain talent is the key for that company for winning its “war” on the market. I used this word “war” a couple of times because its really a “war”, being competitive on the market has always been a sort of battle that a company could win only with the most talented people aboard.
The war for talent started in the early 1980s but will continue going on in the next future and this for:

  • talented people have a great propensity to switch from one company to another, until they find the right place for their talent being promoted the right way;
  • talented people make a great difference for every company in terms of productivity and hence in terms of higher profits; John Chambers, CEO at Cisco System, said “… a world-class engineer with five peers can outproduce 200 regular engineers”.

Let’s deepen the last one. Though the job of project managers isn’t the only field in which talented people make a great difference, let’s concentrate for a while on that kind of job.
As globalization, deregulation and technology change advance, the job of PMs, especially the one of the high-caliber’s, becomes really challenging.
Companies need risk-takers, techno-savvy professionals, leaders who can inspire other persons.
“Leadership is the biggest single constraint to growth at Johnson&Johnson” said Ralph Larsen, CEO “and it is the most critical business issue we face”.
In these circumstances, it’s definitely valuable the saying “hire the best and avoid the rest”.
Every company that wants to occupy niches in the market winning its “war” for talent, has to invest a great amount of time in valuing their talents, creating the right environment for their growth within the company as Cox Communications CEO, Jim Robbins, said “We spend four months per year on the budget process, but we hardly spend any time talking about our talent”.
The “PMI – Pulse of the Profession – In-Depth Report: Talent Management” reveals that high-performing organizations are more than twice as likely than low-performing organizations (69% and 31%) to have talent management programs aligned to organizational strategy.
Organizations in which talent management is aligned to organizational strategy have an average project success rate of 72%, while organizations in which talent management is not effectively aligned to organizational strategy have an average project success rate of 58%. The difference of 14 percentage points in project success rates equates to risking 50% more project dollars when talent management is not effectively aligned with strategy.
Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, said about valuing talents: “The essence of competitiveness is liberated when we make people believe what they think and do is important – and then get out of their way while they do it.”


Developing top-tier talents does not happen overnight. Organizations must invest time and resources to identify high-potential talents and give them the training and opportunities they need to advance. That process works best when it begins early and continues throughout the individual’s career.
“It takes a decade or more to build a great senior project leader,” says Fluor’s Mr. Gilkey. “The first three to 10 years of a person’s career is when you can get them on the right trajectory.”
When companies invest in professionals at the beginning of their careers, those individuals will more rapidly increase their skills and experiences, bringing value to the company in the present with the promise of even greater returns in the future.



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