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5 Steps to Career Resiliency in Talent Management


Wed May 09 2018

5 Steps to Career Resiliency in Talent Management

I recently presented on the topic of career resilience, the ability to bounce back from any change. I have had the opportunity to work for organizations that have been recognized as among the best in the nation for talent development. I’ve also experienced unexpected career change, mergers, acquisitions, and changes in leadership and strategic direction that directly impacted my talent management budget, staff, and role. As talent management professionals, we spend a lot of time developing other people’s careers and leadership skills. It’s just as important to reflect on your own career path and develop a plan for moving forward in the midst of change.

There are five key aspects to consider as you manage your own career.

  1. Ascertain Top Management Support for Talent Initiatives. Talent management professionals have a passion for helping others advance their careers. They understand that having the right talent in the organization, placing them in the right positions, and engaging them at work has a direct impact on business objectives. It’s unfortunate, but not all executives see the correlation between a well-run talent management department and business success. While a lot of companies will say that talent is the most valuable asset or a top priority, one study found that only 17 percent of executives see the link between talent initiatives and business strategy.

You will be able to accomplish more in a firm that recognizes the value of your profession—it’s a simple reality. You will have more exciting and interesting career opportunities working for the 17 percent of leaders who already recognize the importance of the work you perform. When you are considering your next employer, ask about executive support for talent management. Pay attention to more than the words. Look for signs that key stakeholders are actively involved in talent initiatives. In some companies, the results of talent programs, like employee engagement surveys, are directly linked to management compensation. In others, executives introduce or teach portions of leadership development courses. These are the kinds of behaviors that demonstrate commitment. Some companies that have exemplified this level of commitment have won an ATD BEST Award.

  1. Measure and Communicate Results. In the last decade, a lot has been published about the importance of measurement programs to highlight the impact of talent management initiatives. There are a number of books and online sources available with specific examples of talent management scorecards that you can customize to fit your needs. Your ability to communicate about the business outcomes of the talent initiatives will have a direct impact on your career success.

Most executives won’t ask for this information. That means it’s up to you to take the initiative to gather data about the direct and indirect results of your programs. Then, present the information in a concise way that demonstrates a link to higher performance, better customer service, or improved products. When you are able to communicate a positive impact on the business, you will receive more recognition in your position.

  1. Establish a Professional Network. Build sincere relationships with a broad group of individuals inside and outside of your company that can support your development. There are a variety of professional networks related to talent management, including international and regional chapters of ATD. There are other organizations related to special interests, like personality type, organization development, industrial psychology, coaching, and human resources.

Every person you meet at work, whether a co-worker, supplier, or external consultant, is someone that can share knowledge, offer advice, or expose you to opportunities to gain new experience. Think about what you can offer to others and connect with them. The best networking relationships are reciprocal and nurtured over time.

  1. Own Your Development Plan. When the economy and business is performing well, your company may invest in development programs that will add depth to your professional knowledge. It’s a great benefit when it happens—but it doesn’t always happen. If you are willing to take the financial responsibility for your development plan the same way an external consultant or business owner would, you’ll invest in your long-term success.

Think through development programs and experiences that will add true value to your long-term satisfaction and success. There are many certification programs that can enhance your value as a consultant, when you move to a new position, or if you decide to start your own business. When company budgets are limited and you are willing to pay for a development experience, you can often negotiate for the time needed to attend it. In addition to formal certifications and training, there are opportunities to present at conferences, volunteer for nonprofits, and write about and publish your experiences. These kinds of channels can increase your visibility and credibility as a talent management professional. By developing your credentials and yourself as a brand, you help establish yourself as an expert in the field.

  1. Demonstrate Self-Awareness. One day you may be working for a successful company that has been recognized as having the best talent management practices with a highly engaged workforce, and then you may find the organization cutting back the department. The only thing constant in our ever-changing world is change. Acquisitions and changes in leadership happen every day. The key to career resiliency is self-awareness—knowing what unique talent you bring to an organization and the type of work that really energizes you.

I had a recent conversation with Beverly Kaye, author of Up Is Not the Only Way, who is well-known for her work in career development. She shared with me her perspective that people often worry too much about what they want to be. Your career is not about the next job title you will hold; it is about what you will do next. At the heart of career development is the desire to perform meaningful work.


Define what you are passionate about, your strengths, what you want to learn, what you want to do more of, and in what type of work environment you thrive. When you know these things, you will able to face any challenge and continue to make significant contributions to the field of talent management well into the future.

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