Importance of a holistic Human Resource (HR) approach to your Talent Strategy


Author: Douglas Tan (Group HR Director)

Article first appeared in HRMAsia (April 2016 issue)

“HR folks have great ideas but seldom deliver”. Quoting a senior executive I am quite sure many operational and business leaders will agree. Being a member of the HR profession I have some misgivings with this statement but it is worth a second thought why some people have this perception. What has this got to do with the topic above? I promise I am not going off track.

We all hear a lot on talent related subjects; especially HR practitioners would have encountered new HR ideas relating to talent-management: whether the wonderful tools or overarching Talent Management Framework that endeavours to address talent-related issues faced by companies. As the war for talent intensifies, companies might be tempted or even pressured to adopt a Talent Strategy or a Talent Management Framework in the hopes that these will provide winning Talent solutions. The problem is; most probably these are not the panaceas to your talent needs. You might have heard stories of high profile talent management projects that promise theoretically superb ideas but short on concrete deliverables, rendering a proverbial white elephant, i.e. expensive and ineffectual. The reasons could be because no one understands it fully or simply because the framework has no linkage with other crucial aspects of HR as well as to the business needs. It is such pitfalls that occur so often (in HR projects) that the maxim “HR folks have great ideas but seldom deliver” takes root in some people.

For a Talent Strategy to work, a holistic HR approach that links various aspects of the HR function is crucial. Having an expensive Talent Management Framework in placed without having an environment to support might not guarantee results.I personally make it a point to create an environment that supports the Talent Strategy. Each critical aspect of the HR function is designed to play a part in supporting the Talent Strategy, and the result is a holistic approach that addresses various needs (of the talent as well as the company). For instance, the staffing aspect looks at the source of talents, both internally and externally and bring in talents through various platforms. Thereafter, the talent management aspect kicks in and high potentials are identified by a systematic process. The treatment of a high potential involves various aspects such as the compensation and benefits framework to remunerate him at competitive market levels, performance management to administer KPIs that are tied to bonus to spur higher performance. While monetary rewards are taken care of, the talent management aspect ensures that the talent is being put on an accelerated career track and given developmental opportunities. All these show that the company is serious in the investment in human capital and helps the company in its succession planning. The above are just a part of the talent strategy.

Again, what works well for some companies might not be valid for others as every company is unique in its own right, regardless size, culture and industry. As such, it is imperative for the HR professionals to determine what defines a holistic approach that address the needs of the company in such challenging environment.

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