Talent Management speaks to the strategic role that companies are now taking to maximize the value of their employees.
If we look back over the past 100 years in business what we see is that we have gone through three major transitions in how the workplace has dealt with people. The first was the industrial age. In the industrial age employees were expected to be obedient and diligent. They were expected to do their job, keep their mouth shut, and follow the rules and regulations. This was actually a critically important phase since products were being produced and specific parameters and guidelines had to be followed to ensure proper manufacturing. Additionally, employees were seen as a cost.
In the late 20th century we moved into the knowledge era. In the knowledge era what we saw was that knowledge and intellect was vital. We were relying on our people as an asset to take the information they possessed and to create new ideas that would increase profits. During this period, businesses moved from. manufacturing things, to creating ideas. Employees are seen as an asset to the business and not just a cost.
Today we have entered the talent age. In the talent age what is important is creativity and passion. People are seen not as costs, not as assets, but as talent that brings value to the organization. Employees engage with the organization and their focus on bringing their best to the workplace creates greater efficiency and effectiveness.
Unfortunately, many companies haven’t made that leap to the talent management era and most employees have not made the leap to recognizing how their talents can create a better and more effective workplace. Both parties oftentimes still operate in either the industrial age era or in the knowledge age era and so both sides tend to think of themselves as just being there to get a job done rather than as a key element of their workplace strategy.
Whenever you talk to leaders in the workplace and ask them, “What is your most important resource?” Most companies will say, “Our people.” But when you ask the follow-up question such as “what strategic role do your employees provide and how do you garner them most value from them, they have no idea. Employees are seen as a tactical resource. Here are a couple of questions to ask related to how you are seen in the workplace:
• Involve the people who are doing the work to find out what makes their job critical to the company and what they can do to increase value.
• Keep your organization’s business objectives front and center and remind everyone about these goals as you determine the best ways to deploy your employees.
• Communicate and educate your staff about the strategic role they play in the organization. Make them create the definitions of how they contribute to the success of the company.