091316_talent management
ATD Blog

Make Talent Management Work for Your Company

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Although talent management (TM) has been around for the last decade or so, and many organizations have this function as a part of their HR team, few have truly integrated the various TM functions. Why is integrating TM functions difficult? Where do most organizations start? Most important, what can you, at your level, do to integrate the TM functions in your organization?

Why Is Integrating TM So Difficult?

There are numerous forces working against integration, including few resources, higher organizational priorities, and lack of time to do the work required to make the integration stick. Integrating TM begins with an explicit talent strategy for the enterprise. Without that strategy, functions are left to develop functional strategies, such as recruiting, learning and development, and compensation strategies, that aren’t linked to a broader talent strategy. With siloed strategies, the result is often siloed functions.

Where Do Most Organizations Start?

Organizations want efficient and effective TM processes that enable them to have “the right talent, in the right places, at the right time.” With an integrated talent strategy in place, organizations can align their processes to meet their objectives and get talent to where it needs to be.

Certain processes can be leveraged to start the integration process. Many organizations start with their performance management process, which often identifies the competencies, skills, and knowledge that employees need to successfully perform their jobs. These competencies become folded into training plans or recruiting plans. As these processes become more integrated, additional organizational needs, such as identification of successors, leadership development, workforce plans, and compensation plans, are affected, and can be integrated.

Sometimes people ask, “How should we organize our TM function? What processes should be put in that function?” I always say, “It’s not about how you are structured. It’s about the processes that touch the talent and ensuring that they are integrated. Start with defining the processes, and you’ll be able to take it from there.”


What Can You Do at Your Level?

The best thing all TM professionals can do is start with their own processes to ensure that they are efficient and effective. Next, work with those functions where there are overlaps or touchpoints with your processes. Are those processes aligned or are there big gaps in the process (think new hire assimilation programs)? What can you do to tightly align your processes with other functions?

Many TM systems are forcing more integration, but that’s not the answer. Don’t automate a bad process; streamline the process first and then automate it. The processes also need to have the right people in place who understand the other functions to a certain degree so that the talent strategy can be optimized.


One last thing you can do is spend some time participating in the ATD Integrated Talent Management Certificate Program. This two-day program has been converted to an online format, which will debut in January 2017. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about how to answer these and many more questions you might have regarding this critical topic.


About the Author

As principal of Barbara Goretsky Consultancy, Barbara provides consultative services to corporate clients in the areas of talent and leadership development, executive coaching, learning programs in HR-related topics, and team development and effectiveness. At her previous position with Northrop Grumman, she was responsible for supporting the corporate leadership development strategy, with particular emphasis on designing, developing, and running Northrop Grumman’s core leadership development programs. Additionally, she designed the CEO’s annual leadership conference, 360-degree feedback processes, coaching and mentoring initiatives, and various competency models.  Barbara holds a BA and an MA from the Pennsylvania State University in journalism and speech communications, and a second master’s degree in human resources from American University. She is also a graduate of UVA’s Executive Education Program on Management Development, TRW’s HR Executive Programs at Cornell University and the University of Michigan, and Northrop Grumman’s HR Leadership Program at UCLA, and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources and an Associate Certified Coach. 

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