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10 Tips for Establishing a Talent-Driven Culture

In Talent Management, contributor Nigel Paine paints a portrait of an exciting new world of work: "Most industrial economies will have extraordinary numbers of people working in areas that involve breakthroughs, are breathtaking, and are astonishing. Hundreds of thousands of employees will be working on projects that have no precedent and that, in their own small way, will change the world. And the only way that this will be possible will be to mobilize the brainpower employed and to understand talent, thoroughly and completely." Wow, I can feel the heady rush of history as I type this quote.

But, there's a problem. Organizations that fail to shift to a talent-driven culture are not likely to experience the exciting breakthroughs that such a culture can bring and are likely to fall behind their competitors. Paine provides 10 tips for moving toward a talent-driven culture:

1. Take a holistic approach to talent in your organization. All employees should be working toward the same organizational goals, and some individual goals should overlap.

2. Interpret the term "talent" widely. All staff has potential.

3. Think of talent as a companywide asset, not the prerequisite of a single manager.

4. Review your organization's overall HR strategy and goals systematically.

5. Check your processes. Do they align with the purpose for which they were created?


6. Get your organization's board or senior management directly involved.

7. Encourage knowledge sharing as an ethos in your organization.

8. Explore social networking in your organization, but make sure to establish some ground rules around these tools.

9. Make sure your leaders - all your leaders - know how to listen as well as talk, ask questions as well as give answers, and are willing to admit mistakes.

10. Leverage the data you gather about the organization, and be willing to act on painful results.

Note: This article is excerpted from Talent Management, edited by Larry Israelite.

Larry Israelite is the vice president of human resource development at Liberty Mutual Group, with responsibility for supporting the development of managers capable of functioning effectively in a changing, competitive environment and employees capable of sustaining a high level of performance. Before joining Liberty Mutual, he held learning management positions at Pitney Bowes, the Forum Corporation, John Hancock Financial Services, Oxford Health Plans, and the Digital Equipment Corporation. Israelite received a bachelor's degree from Washington College and an MA in instructional media and PhD in educational technology from Arizona State University.

2010 ASTD, Alexandria, VA. All rights reserved.

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About the Author
Larry Israelite was born and raised on a small chicken farm in Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania. Since moving to the big city, he has spent more than 30 years trying to answer one simple question: How can we improve business results through learning? Currently, Larry is a learning evangelist at Pluralsight, the leading provider of online learning for technology and creative professionals. He has held senior learning and talent management positions at several large organizations, including Liberty Mutual Insurance, Pitney Bowes, John Hancock Financial Services, and Oxford Health Plans. He holds a bachelor’s degree in theater from Washington College, as well as a master’s degree in instructional media and a doctorate in educational technology from Arizona State University. He also is editor of the ATD Press book More Lies About Learning.
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