The Indian market is witnessing an exponential increase in the Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the direct rise in global opportunities. The contemporary SME sector is sifting through a mode of being an economy based to knowledge intensive business systems. Business leaders need to accelerate and rework their talent retention strategies. And as the TM specialists believe, this initiative would help employees continue in their careers for a longer time. Also, these experts believe that the purpose of such strategies should be to identify, engage, develop and mentor talent.
Earlier, talent strategy was all about protecting existing competitive advantage but currently it is about finding continuous advantages that address business realities of tomorrow. The changes are as a result of a non-linear shift that helps sustain leadership and talent, in its long term.
An effective illustration of this non-linear change (or an unpredictable change) is the history of the high-jump event at the Olympics. It has been observed that there are four distinct ‘business models’ in this event. Each of the models has enabled athletes to achieve breakout performance.
Formerly, it was the ‘scissors’ style (a hurdling style) that was dominatingly used. Most high jumpers used the scissors approach as the style helped them win the game. Should we have to compare these athletes to business individuals then the latter would have been competing on cost, market share, and margins.
The approach was religiously followed by the other high-jump players until one of them decided to change the rules of the game, some day, by inventing the ‘western roll’ (style - high jumpers launched and landed on the same foot and faced their back to the bar).
The western roll was the style for 25 years until the next out-of-the-box-thinker introduced the ‘straddle,’ also called the ‘eastern roll’ (style - high jumpers launched and landed on their opposite feet and then faced the bar).
In the 1968 Olympics, former gymnast Dick Fosbury broke the Olympic record by three inches, creating the third discontinuous change – ‘Fosbury Flop.’ (The ‘Fosbury Flop’ was a straight approach where the player jumped with both his feet and twisted the body at 180 degrees, like a gymnast, looking away from the bar.)
These nonlinear shifts exemplify innovative thinking. . Each transformed the high-jump ‘industry’.
Business leaders are still recovering from their conservative ideas on talent management. There are many myths associated with the term which needs to be replaced by facts and analysis. TM strategies require almost constant reinvention because old assumptions are no longer valid.
The cliché that 'people are the greatest assets' is no longer true. The ‘right talent’ is the phrase used. Many such myths needs to be unlearned and re-understood by the respective ‘realities.’
Myth: Talent management is non-strategic.
Reality: TM is business imperative, which needs to be capitalized and rewarded to expect returns (financially). It is very important to improve the quality of talent resources in order to face the competitors’ market.
Myth: People make organizations ‘smart’.
Reality: It is very necessary to work the other way around the myth. Organizations that deploy TM as their prioritized approach and also create an environment to engage their talent make their people smart.
Myth: The size of the organization matters. Large organizations hold a mindset that says, “No one can compete with us”” and smaller organizations adopt a mindset saying, “We can’t compete with the big guys” attitude.
Reality: Both of these varied sized companies would fail in their approach. It is not the size of the organization but it is the ‘effort to scale’ and ‘perception of their strengths and challenges’ that matter. The main reason that the employees leave the company is because of their relationship with the manager and not the organization.
Myth: Talent is inborn.
Reality: “One can achieve world-class performance through ‘deliberate practice’.” Talent development is the key driver to success and competitiveness in a scenario where demand and supply for highly skilled and adaptable talent are not in sink and are out of proportion.
Leaders Are Vital…
Business leaders must think differently to source and engage their right talent. It is essential to build on ‘Employer Brand’ to attract the best candidates. It helps in simple recruitment steps and an effective ‘on-board experience’. Leaders should also replace the myth of South Pole theory which is to hire candidates who have achieved a top score in their academics. Instead, leaders must understand that in reality, grades are not the only indicator of success in the real business world.
Myth: Employees (mostly managers) do what they are expected to do.
Reality: The right (adaptable) employees/ managers understand the need to tackle the lower level of work even if it is beneath their job responsibility. They understand that their success in the past has always been in performing the station work, accurately. They should address the problem by layer and provide clarity strategic solutions that can act as a guide for people in the lower levels. Each layer of work requires different skills, time and value.
Myth: The future leaders are the current high-performing managers
Reality: Current high-performing managers are effective for the present days of an organization but may not be potential for its future days. The right combination of engagement, ability and aspiration builds a high performer and a successful employee. While a right employee is in the making, an organization’s responsibility is to provide him the aid to develop his skills. Investing in learning and development (L&D) helps rebuild and redefine high performance.
Leaders/ High Value Specialists are a vital part of a successful organization. While their technical and professional skills add to the organizational success, it also becomes important for this rank of employees to be engaged through organizational culture and practices.
This brings us to the topic of organizational ‘Culture’.
Culture Myth: Just because your strategy demands, it doesn't mean your culture will allow it
Culture Reality: Lack of culture or the wrong culture can kill business excellence. Workplace freedom and bottom line discipline can co-exist
Workplace freedom and bottom line discipline that co-exist, determine an organizational culture. A culture gives organization an edge. Influencing culture in an organization is based on values, beliefs, decisions, behavior, and practices. An organization’s personal, social and structural culture is based at both motivational and ability level of influence.
Culture Myth: Shifting organization culture: You Do It ‘Down Up’.
Culture Reality: An organizational culture should be a ‘Top Down’ approach. We do not change an organizational culture. We only manage or shift it.
The growing industry needs to unlearn these predetermined myths and base their understanding on relevant facts and insights as their business advances. As a progressing business, one must create high levels of engagement to endure the intensifying industry prospects. In return, what does a talent expect from the organization? How can one lead an organization better and improve efficiencies to create a better workplace? Investing in talent management is the answer to create a better workplace.
Talent Management, a part of every organization’s learning needs investment and learning. Right employees, employer brand, accurate approach, leaders, culture and values determine an organization’s success. It is important to redefine and redesign the leadership and management plans to break through the benchmark of high-performance To ensure financial returns, it is important to capitalize on the support system of the organization. A strong support system that consists of talent and talent-driven processes makes an organization and its culture effective. These futuristic organizations will be able to create and develop leaders at every level who will have the ability to manage talent.