Competencies seem to be one of the central things in Talent Management. Everyone wants them, needs them, but few master them well.


A common mistake is to be so ambitious that you never reach any goal. You end up with half a competency catalogue, some requirements profiles and a bunch of disappointed employees. 


Start small, and build it step by step. Think agile. 


1. Identify company core competencies. And those are not 200, it’s probably less than 10. Keep it simple. Less is more.

2. Let everyone map against that. Now you have a basis for first round of self analysis, and development. 

3. Look into some important roles. The ones you have a gut feeling are the ones needs attention. Specialists, management. Identify the core competencies for these roles. Not the nice to haves but the required, maximum 12 per role. 

4. Let people in these roles do competency assessments, plan development. Be transparent so people in other roles see what is happening. Keeps moral up and also shows expectations.

5. Roll it out on more and more roles. Do continuous assessments and development planning. All out in the open. People whose roles are not fine will see it done. 

6. Do NOT forget development for those in roles not done yet. 

7. When you have identified a number of roles start mapping career paths. That makes it possible for more and more employees to participate. Maybe their role is not done yet, but their possible future one is?


Just keep it going and cover more and more of your organisation. Make it step by step and make every step be a goal that gives value back. That way you won’t end up not getting there. And by being transparent people will see it happening and be able to participate. 


And that builds engagement. 

Most vendors offer a subset of talent management processes and then integrate the rest. Most common are recruitment and learning. 
But with every integration comes choices and trade offs. You need to decide what data to integrate. How to map different data structures, and sacrifice analytical reporting abilities across your whole talent management landscape. 


With all in one database that is not longer so. You get to do analytics. All data is connected​, and data gathered in recruitment can be used in performance, even offboarding. You can truly do employee life cycle analytics. But what is the sacrifice in that case? Yes there is always a sacrifice, anyone telling you otherwise is not telling you the truth.


You don’t get best of breed functionality in every single sub process. But do you need that? Let’s look at learning. With a learning module built together with development, succession and performance you get an awesome ability to get a system that identifies learning based on input in other processes. But it will be as part of the learning module. A module often with limitations in how to make appetizing portals and maybe give externals access. 


So then you go for a state of the art learning module, and loose some of that awesome powers from the learning module being able to peek into the whole employee to suggest learning. But you can build awesome appetizing portals. 


So what to choose. And all things being equal. Go for one database. Unless you export it all to a data warehouse is that the only way to make sure you have the full power of reporting and analytics. And you want that. The data is your possibility to learn about your employees and their behaviours. That way you can develop them better and also decrease retention. And that is pure gold. 


So whenever someone suggest integration ask what is the cost in analytics and predictive behaviours. And unless you have a clear case outlining the upside  that is bigger than the loss, don’t. 

So you got yourself a learning management system and that is talent management, right?
Well yes and no. Learning is part of Talent Management, but all by itself it’s just a cost saving device. Deliver content, get approvals in place and so on. 
But in order to be talent management we need to have some order and what learning we use how do we identify the need? Without trying to organise those parts learning is just a caralog where we browse in random. 
True, identifying a need without action it is almost as bad. But fixing a need that is not there is worse, it’s a misuse of time and money. 
So make sure you do both. Get your learning in place, and the process of selection what to learn. 

Performance management is about performance, Individual or team performance. Not revenue and bottom line. That is called financre, and is a result if performance, but it is not performance.
A lot of organisations end up setting financial goals, and then reward employees based on that. Well that is nice. But it’s not performance management. If you don’t agree pease define an EBITA goal in terms of a SMART goal. 
Employees should be rewarded on what they do. Then it is reward based upon performance, the other kind is just profit sharing. Nothing wrong with that, your employees will like it, but if you want to foster a performance culture. Please don’t cheat. 
We go back to the SMART GOALS.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time bound

If your goals are not SMART then your employees will ask themselves why do they bother. If a goal is not based upon what the individual does, why should the individual care. If they influence just 0.5 % of the goal it’s probably even worse than not having a goalal at all. It’s just demoralising. 
If you can’t make meaningful for the employee it’s probably best to don’t do it at all. Call it profit sharing and be done with it.
If you however want motivated employees make it meaningful. Make it being employee driven. Ask them to not just participate, but to own their plan. Your employees are a great asset, but only if you treat them that way.

If you cheat, they will notice and behave accordingly. So either do it well or not at all. Your employees are as a group a lot smarter than you are. Compare to gaming theory that says “all else being equal the one with most money will win”. And the players as a collective have more than the board. That’s why 0 was invented in roulette. Same applies to you and your employees. Don’t insult them by doing profit sharing and then call it performance management.

Go best practice

Save money and time, go best practice. You are probably not as unique as you think. And your process can probably be tweaked and thus save you a huge amount of money.

Implementing a talent management process is hard. And nowadays no one does it without support of a software. A lot of organisations have been through the process before and know it costs in software, changes to the software, creation if documentation and training of the managers. 

But is it worth all extra money just because you defined a process using different words or an evaluation that is slightly different from what everyone else is using?

Yes a couple of years ago the software were quite rigid, so any deviation had to be programmed. But today you can deviate a lot through configuration, but should you?
Say you want to.change a word. Yepp you can do it, but what’s the long term cost of changing it in all menus, error messages & labels. And keep changing it in new versions. You also have to change it in any documentation the software vendor supplies, over and over again. Is it worth it? Is really the wording the most important part of you talent management process?

If you go for best practice, keep to standard in terminology and processes. You will save money, but will it cost you so much in the long run? Yes initially the employees used to saying people appreciation instead of employee evaluation will be confused. But in the Iong run they will be used to standard and be able to appreciate it without having it to be explained over and over again. Invest in you employer branding and in how you do things, but do it in a wise way and not just to be unique.

Before changing anything ask yourself what the long term costs of doing it and if it is really worth it. Then check if best practice might just do the trick for you to a fraction of the price.

Recently I have come across two different companies who more or less both said that what the customers wanted was not going to happen because they did not want to.

Yes, that may be very valid, but sometimes it is used as an excuse to not have to implement change. Or even worse, used by customer services so they don’t have to talk to their own product, management. In the second case the product management have a real problem on their hand I would say.

Anyway, case 1. A company that is administering invoices when you shop online. They do a one-click app. Only that in the one click app money is drawn from your bank account NOW, not at last payment day. And no way of changing the date manually. A number of customers recommended that they add the possibility to change the date. So if you wanted to do it in one click, fine, but you could do it in two if you wanted to change date.

But not possible. You have to then manually pay through your bank, or wait to use the app until you want to pay. Just sheer unwillingness to increase customer experience.

Case 2: A Gym chain has the possibility to book classes, and they have the ability to add these to your calendar one by one, or by downloading a calendar feed. Its just that the feed has to be downloaded every time you book a class, so no real life sync to Google calendar. The customer support claims their developers can’t do it, and that it has never worked. Funny thing is a number of customer claims it has worked, and then stopped. A third party web site has it working, but not on the gym chains web site.

So what’s the moral of the story. Both companies are being ridiculed online because of this, for refusing to actually listen to their customers, and in one case just lying about that it has never worked (alternative facts?).

Listen to your customers, be honest, and be transparent. As a product manager, don’t hide behind customer support, tat is just cowardice.

The year of 2016 is at an end and is considered a bad year when it comes to the number of famous deaths. But for talent management it has been just another year.


Just one more year where countless of employees work without a good career plan, SMART goals or a development plan based on individual and company needs. Let 2017 change that.


It’s been to long now that it’s amazing that talent management is still not treated as it should. What other system would any company consider it’s ok to roll out in phases over 3 years. Payroll? Don’t think so.


Either it is important and we treat it as such. Or it’s not and we can stop bothering about it. 


Time for any HR-practitioner to step up and say. This is important. Finally claim that seat at the table and raise the voice. Show that with proper talent management the organisation can not only save money but get more out of the existing workforce and earn more money faster. 


So for 2917, let’s 

  • Make good ROI analysis on any Talent Management investments.
  • Follow up the plans and require managers to actually follow them.
  • Finally say that this is mandatory for all, not an option to say no.
  • Produce good analytics, and present them.
  • Produce predictive analytics and bring value to the table.

Let 2017 be the year we do all that.
Happy new year everyone

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