Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Lawler: Talent

 

   I've been feeling a bit uninspired over the last few days, hence the lack of posts.  So, finding I had a few spare hours between clients this afternoon, I decided to pop into the British Library, which always perks me up.  It was a bit more difficult than usual to get into my normal reading room, Humanities 1, as my card had just run out and I needed to get a new one, and because all of the lockers were full and there was a huge queue for the cloakroom.  But then I managed to get the last desk in the room, so it could have been worse.

I managed to get a look at Ed Lawler's recent book, Talent, which I hadn't got around to reading last year.  And I expected to be thoroughly re-energised by reading about my pet subject: human capital management (I remembered Lawler explaining on the Engaging Brand last year that the book really should have been called Human Capital, except that this would have meant that only academics would have bought it - unfortunately rather too late a lesson for me!!!).

Actually, I came away still felling rather flat.  Lawler makes some good points, but I don't think he gets to the heart of the issue as well as me (sorry, but it's true).  Amongst the points I liked (many of which I've made myself on this blog) were Lawler's definition of a human capital centric organisation:

  • Every aspect of the organisation is obsessed with talent and talent management
  • Performance management is one of the business' most important activities
  • The information system gives the same amount of attention and rigour to measures of talent costs, performance and condition as it does to measures of equipment, materials, buildings, supplies and fixed assets
  • The HR department is the most important staff group
  • The corporate board has both the expertise and information it needs to understand and advise on talent issues
  • Leadership is shared, and managers are highly skilled in talent management.

 

So this isn't about changing a couple of processes, it's about transforming every feature of the organisation.

Lawler explains that it is by making human capital this central that getting and using the best people can become a source of competitive advantage (ie in my language, can create value).

I agree with all of this, but I didn't learn an awful lot more.

 

Photo credit: Man vyi

 

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