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Reward talent when it’s due

Most of us work Monday to Friday to deliver results and get paid for our efforts.

The fact is that people generate results. Someone first designs even new technologies that increase production, shrink communication barriers and boost a company’s bottom line.

However, in a rapidly shrinking global skills market how do you identify, manage and reward talent to stay ahead of the game?

A recent global talent management study undertaken by Talent Edge revealed several common misconceptions about talent management, and made recommendations to help address the issue.

Misconceptions included:

• The definition of talent management: too many organisations limit their talent management focus to ‘high potential candidates’, when in fact talent includes an organisation’s entire human capital.

• The loyalty factor: organisations assume that having a ‘big brand’ equals talent management.

A high profile brand can attract talent in the short term but doesn’t grow and develop people’s potential, nor retain them in the long run.

• The leadership factor: organisations assume employees are motivated to work for the company. Employees work for leaders. Good people expect good leadership, and will leave within six to 12 months if they don’t get it.

The study, pooled from the feedback and recommendations of more than 40 academic and frontline human resource (HR) thinkers, made the following best practice recommendations on how HR workers can retain control of the strategic side of their function:

• Look at talent management as a business strategy. Establish a business case: align systems, communication and talent pools with the business objectives.

Address the factors an organisation can control, how it attracts and recruits new talent, how it develops that talent, how it builds a performance focused workforce, engages people at all levels and provides opportunities for learning and advancement.

• Establish a quality HR team with the capability and focus to achieve bottom line business outcomes as well as the ability to connect with business leaders.

HR workers also need to strive to become well-rounded management advisers, who have a strong knowledge of all company functions.

• Create an all-encompassing talent management platform, including accurate and objective ways to select talent and rapidly bring these people on-board and provide core skills training.

By applying a systematic framework, which evaluates employee attributes at any stage in their career, organisations can build a real time snapshot of the overall capability of its workforce and tailor business and HR strategies accordingly.

• Align the organisation with best practice external partners in areas where you need support.

In the case of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand, we introduced a new category to our annual awards last year to recognise and reward the work of younger HR practitioners.

I’m reassured to know that talented young professionals will take organisations forward as we strive to deal with some of the toughest talent challenges we have faced in the past 30 years.

• Beverley Main is chief executive of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand.