Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Great Leadership is Key to Talent Development

If I could change one thing about talent management...

The Grapevine magazine recently asked Simon Hayward, CEO of Academee, what one thing he would change about the talent management industry...

“If I could change one thing about the industry, it would be to change the focus from 'managing' talent to leading and developing talent.

There is a strong emphasis in the talent management industry on attracting and recruiting talent, yet still too little emphasis on long-term talent development. The key to successful long-term talent development is great leadership. Talent development also needs to be closely aligned with the organisation's overall strategic aims.

Leaders need to develop talent by supporting individuals to meet their true potential. It is also essential to implement effective succession planning and to develop a pipeline of leadership talent to meet the future needs of the organisation.

Earlier this year, Academee designed a leadership development programme, 'Take the Lead,' for UniChem, one of the UK's leading distributors and wholesalers of pharmaceutical, medical and healthcare products. The company was keen to discover and nurture future leaders within UniChem, rather than relying entirely on external recruitment to fulfil key leadership roles. Although UniChem is a very people-centred organisation, there was limited formal succession planning or leadership development in place. UniChem's aim was to identify high potential managers within the organisation, and then provide challenging learning opportunities for them. This learning needed to equip these individuals with the capability to deliver the core requirements of the organisation and, in the words of UniChem, 'bridge strategies to outcomes.'

'Take the Lead' has succeeded in achieving its core aim of developing future leaders from within the organisation. The first cohort completed the programme in April 2007 and 80% of the participants have already been promoted to new roles within UniChem.

Another area that the industry needs to focus more on is 'talent enablers' - tools that support talent management and enable individuals to take control of their own talent development. For example, Fujitsu Services is meeting the challenge of talent management with a unique, innovative, user-friendly online career development solution, developed in partnership with Academee. The Career Mapping Tool is an interactive online application that presents career planning information in a clear, visual format. It guides employees through the various stages of planning their next career move by allowing them to see potential career paths and map possible routes from one job role to another.

For Fujitsu Services, this is a significant development in allowing its people to plan and steer their own careers. It represents a major contribution to overall talent management, taking the innovative approach of empowering individuals to take control. Fujitsu Services now feels confident that it is providing career development approaches to enable people to fulfill their potential and ambition - while at the same time supporting its talent development strategy and overall organisational aims.

Both UniChem and Fujitsu Services are taking a strategic, long term approach to developing and leading talent - an approach which brings lasting benefits as well as immediate results.”

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