In an era of managing costs in order to grow revenue, it’s not surprising that talent management software and other programs are so popular. These tools attempt to make all areas of human resources, from employee assessments to controlling labor hours, more efficient and productive. A problem arises when top management realizes that these quality-management programs lack the buy-in from participants that it had hoped the programs would engender. And that’s where talent development bridges the gap.
Imagine a professional baseball team that attempts to manage its players with a software program for efficiency. No matter how well staffed the team is, if team management ignore the talent aspect and put their best pitcher on first base, the team just won’t play at top capacity. What’s more, the pitcher is going to start looking for a team that lets him pursue his goal of pitching, or worse, he’ll do nothing and be an average or frustrated player. From that perspective, his behavior makes sense. Because they neglect the development of the talents of individual employees, many companies see the same scenario take place every day.
Employee Behavior Is Not Complex
When employees are not fully engaged in their jobs or careers, they are not willing to give 100 percent. Trying to motivate them with a yearly assessment or an occasional review (core components of many talent management programs) is not enough. While these program components certainly have a role to play, they do not induce genuine employee engagement.
On the other hand, psychological models like psychological type (e.g., Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®), temperament (e.g., Keirsey Temperament Sorter) and social styles (e.g., DiSC Profiles) are excellent examples of tools that can be used on a daily basis to solve problems, improve communications and create better relationships. These models are simple to teach, easy to learn and are supported by vast amounts of resources for long-term use inside organizations. They allow top management team’s to understand the skills and motivations of its team members so that it can align the team’s efforts with the goals of the company.
Employee Engagement Impacts the Bottom Line
A significant amount of research has been done that draws a strong correlation between employee engagement and its effect on customer behavior, revenue and profitability. In fact, companies with truly engaged employees demonstrate lower costs, higher income and higher revenue growth than those companies whose employees are less engaged. According to a recent Towers Perrin 2007-2008 Global Workforce Study, about 21 percent of employees are engaged in their jobs. Corporate-level executives should act on these studies that link talent development activities, like opportunities to learn new skills and career growth programs, with a greater number of employees who are willing to go that extra mile.
Talent Development Improves the Businessperson
In order to produce profound business results, executives must make the necessary capital investment in their employees. Developing the innate skills and strengths of a team requires more insight than filling out a form that rates follow-through on a scale of one to five. It requires focusing in on the potential ability of an employee, understanding his or her goals and desires and aligning those with the goals and needs of the company. That’s talent development.
With a diverse and mobile workforce, it’s likely that a staff of 200 employees is going to be comprised of different demographics with vastly different motivations. Keeping those top workers is essential, and losing them and retraining new ones is costly. Given the clear relationships between talent development and employee behavior, and between that behavior and company performance, it is obvious that managing your human resources is not enough. Talent development is required to keep businesses viable and thriving in this changing job climate.
©2009 Kris Kiler
- “Building the Global Village.” Gebauer, Julie. Synnovation: The Quarterly Journal of the EDS Agility Alliance: 1. no. 2 (2006): 24-33.
- Pallera, Maura. “Creating a High-Performance and Adaptive Workforce.” Insight Salary.com, (February 2008).