“Managing Talent” or “Encouraging People”?

Joanna Higgins discussed the divisive nature of talent management in a recent Bnet blog. Joanna poses a very important question on what, exactly, is the definition of talent management and identifies several large holes in talent management theory.

"Is talent management about identifying and nurturing high-flyers, or helping all of your people to develop their particular skills? Done badly, there’s potential for a massive rift to emerge between the ‘talented’ — the ‘hi-pos’ (high potentials) — and the ordinary, tellingly defined recently as ‘the po-pos –passed over and p***ed off’. It’s very dangerous to single out the stars in an organisation to the exclusion of all others. There are far more ‘utility players’ on most teams than standouts, for one thing."

This is why we at Globoforce advocate getting rid of the old-school elitist incentives programs that only recognize the top 10% of employees to allow up to 90% of employees to receive recognition for their efforts to advance the company mission. This aligns, too, with Jack Welch and GE's performance bell curve approach. Welch famously said it's the middle 80% that do the majority of the work -- and therefore where the majority of the recognition belongs.

For those in talent management, what type of programs do you have in place to manage your “talent?” How do you define that? Do you see “talent” in all of your employees – skills, behaviors, and actions that can be nurtured to the benefit of themselves, their teams, the company, and your customers?

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