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By JESSAN DOTON
Colleen Durant, human resources strategist in Talent and Leadership for the Westpac Group, presented a thought-provoking expose on the human capital component as part of the opportunity in organisations.
She made the presentation during the Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress held at the Sheraton Fiji Resort, Denarau yesterday.
Ms Durant gave an account of a research 13 years ago which sparked the question of human resources as talent and asset to the growth of any business, and ultimately began the discourse on how to identify, harness and grow this talent.
Thirteen years ago, a global survey of executives by McKinsey put a spotlight on the increasing pressure to find and keep high-performing employees. The results of that survey were published in an article called the ‘War for Talent’.
The outcomes of the research influenced a significant shift in the thinking about people management around the world, with many organisations investing heavily in a range of people-related initiatives.
The article finished with the statement:
“You can win the war for talent, but first you must elevate talent management to a burning priority. Then, to attract and retain the people you need, you must answer why a smart, energetic, ambitious individual would want to come and work with you, rather than with the team next door. That done, you must turn your attention to how you are going to recruit great talent, and finally develop, develop, develop!”
She defined the war for talent as: “It’s a shortage of the right people with the right skills to take our organisations into the future.”
Notwithstanding high unemployment levels in some countries and growing pools of potential recruits in developing world; and the recessions of 2009 to 2010 which meant that the supply of skills labour now outstrips demand.
Ms Durant however added there were known factors to what was occurring and placed them down to:
l Changing nature of work.
l Globalisation has led to increased competition and drives productivity increases in countries like Australia. This drives the need for talented leaders who can understand what is required, personally adapt to the change quickly, engage their team quickly and turn out new results in an agile and effective manner.
The war happens on a global scale. Increasingly we will lose talent to those countries and cities which offer the most attractive jobs, compensation, career experiences and lifestyles.
l Changes in demographics and expectations of generation Y.
She said it was important to hear out and understand the views and expectations of generation Y, who were the current generation taking up the majority of employment and the would-be leaders in the future.
She added there were certain criteria that could be looked into when looking to hire or evaluating ones organisational pool of employees.
l Selecting the Right talent
“We approach selection as a bit of a shopping trip – browsing and looking for that person who can most quickly fill the gap that has been created in your organisation,” Ms Durant said.
“But some more in-depth thinking suggests we might move beyond the standard lists of knowledge and skills we are normally recruiting for and add to that the special X factor of talent – the difference that will make the difference – to your organisation.
“Recruiting new people allows you to refresh and re-invigorate your team or company culture and so be very aware of the uniqueness that you need in your new recruit and the difference that you are creating in the team and company culture.”
l Set expectations
“As leaders of these people we have an obligation to them – define the outcome you are seeking, agree the definition of success. And then get out of the way,” she said.
“Talent will find their own best route to the outcome; and new talent will often find ways to the outcome you did not think of.
“The only thing that is required of us as leaders is coach for increased effectiveness within the organisation and remove barriers when they appear.”
According to research, she explained the main reason employees stay in an organisation is because of (good) leaders, and the main reason they leave was because the same reason-leaders.
“What is the definition of talent for you and your organisation? What’s the uniqueness the distinctiveness and the specialness that makes talent effective in your organization? What’s the X factor? What’s the difference that makes the difference for you?” she said.
“Until you answer that question for your organisation, you will simply be recruiting and developing the same as everyone else.”