Talent Management Series – Part one

Do you have a lack of talent? It could be a reflection of the leadership culture

Often in my consulting work I am asked to help ‘fix’ the culture of a team, unit and in some instances, a whole organisation. So as I listen to leaders describing the unproductive behaviours, workforce issues and customer problems, I ask questions that help to uncover why these issues have arisen in the first place. The answers can be challenging as the cause can usually be drawn back to a lack of robust HR systems/practices combined with inconsistent leadership across the structure. While this process is confronting, it is not a blame placing exercise. Following a process is about being disciplined in identifying the root cause of organisational issues to ensure we have both single and double loop learning experiences and outcomes. Employing short term fixes that alleviate the immediate pressure is paramount and suits the pragmatic executive leaders that are in a hurry for a short term win. It is when these wins are coupled with longer term initiatives that we see true positive outcomes for the organisation as a whole.

So what are some of the root causes of failing to retain or develop talent?

I came across this list from Seek and my experiences in all three sectors can validate the following top seven reasons:

  1. No motivation
  2. Not challenging enough
  3. No development
  4. No trust
  5. No recognition
  6. Mismanagement
  7. No flexibility or fun

Notice anything?  There is not one mention of workforce supply and demand, nor any focus on negative employee behaviour. They are all focussed on leadership approaches and lack of HR development practices. So when you hear yourself thinking or even saying out loud – our employees ‘are just not the right people’, ‘don’t have the right skills’, ‘don’t have the capability’, ‘are resistant to change’, ‘complacent’, ‘don’t understand the commercial environment’ etc. etc., you may need to stop and reflect on the underlying attitudes that support these statements. Harsh?  Yes! Helpful? Not really!

So what are the robust People & Culture practices that will attract, recruit, develop and retain talent in our sector? Talent Management is not a stand-alone activity that can be ‘done’ to people.  It is the compounding effect of people practices, leadership and thoughtful execution.

Talent Management

Overall, Talent Management is having

robust P & C structures, practices and initiatives that when combined, they add value to the employee journey while enhancing organisational brand.

There is a sweet spot in the middle where both employee and employer needs are met.  However, there is one pivot point –  all roads lead back to the prevailing leadership culture and practices and the success or otherwise of these efforts will be out there for all to see.

Andrea Collett
Former Senior HR Consultant
Email: consulting@cbb.com.au

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