Talent is actually pretty tricky. We seem not only to have problems defining talent and talent application components, but we seem to not know what some of those components even are. I’m no making sense yet? As anyone what are the components of a talent suite and you’ll get different answers – even though we’ve been buying and selling talent applications for years now. Performance, compensation, succession, talent acquisition… All of these are wonderful, tactical, and transactional processes. But talent strategies were supposed to bring us to a “seat at the table” but all of these components that people naturally associate with talent are just the core activities behind the strategy.
I think that most people are not actually getting to understanding and executing on the realities of the strategy yet, but hopefully we’ll be there in the next few years. Certainly there is an increasing surge of corporate thinking around this, and one of the first things that HR is talking about is mobility. Unfortunately, we don’t really know what all this is yet – and many people erroneously think it’s just around moving people around. Well, actually, it kind of is about moving people around.
When I think about mobility, I start thinking about employee career plans, and performance plans, and succession plans. These are all just components of data on the employee record, but they are all linked to employee development and learning. They identify where employees want to go, but conversely where corporations what their employees to go. Not only are employees planning for themselves in career paths, but we are also planning for them in succession plans. Everyone in contributing in multiple directions to identify possible growth scenarios for each individual employee.
At some point, there is an actual event. Some business unit needs a new GM, or a new organization/store/plant is opening somewhere and we need to fill it with leaders. This is where mobility comes to the front of the talent process. Where the transactional processes that occur within the traditional talent application modules stop, talent mobility takes over as an execution arm to actually move people into the previously theoretical development opportunities. Talent mobility is where the rubber meets the road. If you don’t have a mobility strategy and process, all of your development plans, succession processes and performance transactions are for naught. In the end, if you didn’t do anything but post a requisition and hire someone from outside because you didn’t have the visibility in talent to run cross functional queries around internal needs and fit skills to requirements, you completely failed in your talent practice.
HR talent applications are great. But as with core HR applications, they help us store data and execute transactions on data. They don’t replace the inner workings of making strategy come to life. Operational staffing plans and projections don’t always link up to HR’s position management or talent acquisition’s forecasts. We need our own tools to integrate with talent suites and keep us on the path to realizing the practice of talent’s full potential.