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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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News: ‘Best practice’ damages talent management efforts


Focusing on ‘best practice’ rather than business needs is preventing organisations from finding and nurturing staff that can drive progress.

This inflexibility is also killing organisations’ ability to manage talent effectively, according to Anna Marie Detert, Head of People & Talent at KPMG.

She argues in a new whitepaper that organisations are failing to take into account their own unique needs, leaving executives frustrated and concerned.

In the whitepaper, ‘Tune in to Talent,’ [PDF, 1.3MB] Detert asserts that the tendency to adopt the latest fad or fancy must be challenges if businesses are to understand the staff they need to succeed.

She identifies four key groups of questions HR teams should ask, before scoping a talent strategy. These are:

  • strategic talent requirements: revolving around what kinds of skills will help the business succeed, how many staff are needed and where they should be based
  • talent risks: based on an assessment of what the key talent risks are facing the organisation, and including analysis of succession planning, key person dependency and mobility risks
  • return on investment: exploring what the business has learned about which kind of ‘talent interventions’ deliver the best RoI and examining whether success is better achieved through growing talent or buying it
  • talent governance & infrastructure: identifying what infrastructure exists to manage data on talent and the culture and governance in place to encourage and enable career moves and secondments.

Detert said: “All too often, companies dive straight in, implementing the latest best practice recruitment, development or performance system or process. Instead, they need to stand back and ask some searching questions about what talent their particular business needs now and in the future.”

Businesses must, in all areas, ensure that techniques and processes are suitable for their own company. ‘Best practice’ may seem like a shortcut to efficiency but what’s best practice for one industry or company will be completely inappropriate for another. Knowledge is key to knowing what is appropriate and what’s not – knowledge of the business, the culture, the employees, the management, and the firm’s long-term goals.

Author Profile Picture
Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence

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