Customized, personalized and fit for purpose – sustainable talent management is precise work

Talent management needs to fit as well as a tailored suit

Despite increasing digitalization, human beings remain at the heart of business success. It is therefore all the more important that company-wide talent management systematically focuses on the needs of staff. This takes a change in mindset – among both HR development officers and managers.

Less than one in ten employees currently has ambitions of moving up into a management position. Instead, young employees in particular are looking for meaning, a voice and tasks that meet their skills profile. Companies therefore need to offer their employees tailored development opportunities – even outside of conventional career paths. As a consequence, HR experts must create tailored offerings with the goal of supplying unique experiences in line with the personal goals and individual life plans of staff members. This applies to the entire workforce. Talent management has to nurture all employees – regardless of position, duration of employment or hierarchy.

Talent management is not just for managers

However, this is precisely where many companies are falling short. According to a study by Kienbaum, talent management in almost 70 percent of companies is targeted exclusively at management-level employees and primarily facilitates vertical advancement. Two thirds of HR departments concentrate on filling pre-defined key and leadership positions in the long term by promoting “high potentials”. Only a third see every employee in the company as having talents worthy of development. Particularly in view of the current demographic change, however, it is all the more important to involve all members of staff and thus encourage long-term loyalty to the company. Employees themselves are also demanding a greater say in things. For example, 83 percent would like to play an active role in shaping their professional development. Yet only 42 percent of companies offer this opportunity. As a result, there is a level of dissatisfaction among employees about what they currently receive in terms of staff development.

  • Only one third find the existing talent management tools useful.
  • Two thirds feel their company’s HR development strategy is anything but innovative.
  • Only two fifths believe that their development needs are met by the existing measures.

This is precisely where the in-house HR experts have to start. Strategic HR work is required that identifies the specific career goals of every member of staff and sketches out a path to achieving them using tailored development concepts – in consultation with the employees themselves, in line with their own wishes and skills, and using advanced, meaningful HR KPIs.

Digital solutions deliver vital information in this regard. For example, regular employee surveys help achieve a clearer view of the workforce and plan individual careers in a more tailored way. At the same time, these solutions automate administrative tasks, providing HR experts with valuable scope to draw up new talent management concepts and further enhance the employee experience. In addition, HR analytics offer a transparent numerical base that reflects both the status quo and the development potential of individual staff members.

Cooperative leadership on the march

Future-oriented HR systems are just one side of the coin, though. In addition to the HR department, managers also have to redefine their role. Particularly in times of social distancing and remote working, supervisors are increasingly having to become coaches, following a cooperative leadership concept that above all offers ideas, motivates staff to take on more responsibility and encourages employees based on their individual strengths. This change has come not only because co-determination is popular among employees, but also due to the increasing proportion of experience-oriented learning formats available in many companies.

To ensure that “training on the job” and “learning by doing” become standard in professional training, supervisors must keep their eyes on two things.

  • They have to be close enough to their team to correctly assess the career goals and knowledge gaps of individual staff members.
  • On this basis and working in close coordination with the HR department, the next step is to develop personalized ongoing training concepts.

However, this is only possible when managers enjoy a high level of acceptance from their team. After all, players will only follow the advice of a coach they are on board with. Business is no different from sport in this regard.