Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Strategic talent management

The session was started by Emily Lawson of McKinsey who started by saying that the company had been engaged with talent management for over 10 years and that approaches to talent management are very different now and will be different in the future. Lawson drew our attention to a raft of research that they had been undertaking, looking into what would make talent management more effective, she then followed this by asking us not to be disappointed in that they do not yet have any definitive answers... yet.

Through an array of diagrams Lawson showed us models of talent management programmes and highlighted that many of the most successful approaches did not limit talent management to senior levels, but to strategically important parts of the organisation. She also drew our attention to the importance to looking at talent in the 'indirect workforce' rather than just in the traditional hierarchy.

When organisations do have talent management strategies she said that in a significant percentage of firms, HR was not involved in the development of talent management strategies - a scary thought. Lawson showed that no single model would work for all organisations, but that using diagnostics and OD a unique strategy should be developed for each organisation. One area she did highlight that is often overlooked or misunderstood is that of EVP - Employee value proposition and how this was identified, managed and communicated to relevant populations.

At this Point Lawson handed over to McKinsey colleague Matthew Guthridge.

Gutheridge indicated that the EVP was particularly important as more and more generation y employees hold key positions. Many organisations in the past 20-24 months were starting to wake up to the fact that they need to have a different proposition for this population and the strategies that did work simply do not function effectively for this population.

After highlighting a number of research based graphs he highlighted one key point and that is about accountability for talent management - research shows that HR think they are responsible - yes Operations also think they are - this is an area for organisations to explore and develop clarity and ownership.

Scott Hobbs from Amey

After a brief overview and introduction to the Amey company, Hobbs took us through the steps and programme they undertook in the recognition, identification and implementation of the need and application of a talent programme. He demonstrated how they achieved senior commitment from the beginning.


The management of this session was not good, at the allotted starting time we were not even allowed into the room. then when the front of the cabaret style room was full the session started, it was a full 10 minutes into the session before everyone was seated - most unfortunate. The slides from all of the presenters contained way too much data (I think the presenters need a presentation skills 101 course) and the house lights were so low that we were unable to follow the detail on the small handouts. Why the session started late I do not know, but participants should have had the opportunity of taking their seat before the session started. Matt clearly overrun leaving little time for Scott. A case of attempting to get three presentations into one session - it doesn't work!

Scott was the most engaging of the presenters but the others were of an average quality and clarity, not what would be expected at an event like this.

The session contained a lot of research with little tangible application, I did speak with another person after the session and while they disliked the challenges of the presentation (they were near the front) they found the content valuable.

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