Thursday 14 June 2012

#ECTalent - Doug Baillie, Unilever on talent and the business

But today I've got a full day of 'next gen talent' at the Economist's annual talent management summit.

We're kicking off with a keynote from Doug Baillie, Unilever's fairly new CHRO (and new to HR) sharing his secrets of aligning the development of high-potential talent pools with overall business goals.

So Doug's starting off talking about Unilever's business strategy - and how they place HR in the middle of it.

It's another early mention for social media - which we'll be talking more about in the panel on 'next gen' that I'll be chairing later.

And there's a crisis of leadership too. Doug's talking about this in the context of social responsibility but I'd extend this to the social media agenda too. (Eg - without me and just a couple of others - the general lack of social media stuff taking place at the conference.)

The question which keeps Doug awake at night is where does he find the talent to double their business? A critical element of this is having a strong employer brand - especially in the emerging and developing world.

But leadership development is probably the most critical thing they need to do - helping their leadership to lead in a very different way - engaging everyone working in the organisation. They spend a lot of time putting people into boxes and ranking them.

That's it - so maybe talking about 'secrets' was overselling the session? That's probably unfair as it was a very short presentation and I would have loved to hear more about 'leading in a very different way' and the following slide (which links to my focus on creating value):

But as the session is finishing I'm experiencing the perception of a gap between the size of the business challenges Unilever is facing and what they are doing to develop their talent. There's got to be more...

Eg Doug's talking about the next gen wanting fast change between consumer products, investment banking etc etc. Well OK then, which investment banks is Unilever talking to to share some of their next gen resources?

It'd be great to hear from other attendees at the summit (and other readers) what you felt about this...

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