Friday 26 September 2008

Talent management in Central Europe


    I've previously posted on two of the geographies which I think are particularly impacted by the war for talent: China and the UAE.  What I hadn't fully understood before chairing this week's conference in Prague, is the extent of this battle within Central & Eastern Europe.  It certainly didn't seem to be of the same magnitude when I used to visit the region regularly while being based in Moscow as an HR Director (87+ years ago now), or even in more recent trips to South Central Europe as a lecturer.

But it's clear that there is a war there now.  Many of the speakers spoke of 0% unemployment, and in my business meetings before and after the conference, every single person discussed the difficulty, or impossibility of growing to take advantage of opportunities in the business marketplace, because of the inability to grow from the talent marketplace.  Talent is a key business constraint, or put another way, access to human capital, not financial capital, is the key driver for business success.

So I was particularly interested in some of McKinsey's comments on talent management at the CIPD conference last week (I didn't go, but followed the conversation as best I could via Personnel Today's and other blogs).  In what I gather wasn't seen as a particularly good presentation, Matthew Guthridge explained that differentiated employee value propositions (EVPs) need to be developed for different talent groups, for example, for gen y (I couldn't agree more).

And Guthridge's colleague, Emily Lawson explained that talent management also needs to apply to the indirect as well as the traditional workforce (HCM does yes, but probably not TM - it's rare that talent groups are not employed by an organisation).

But despite these complexities in talent management, HR is not involved in the development of talent management strategies in a significant percentage of firms.  And in others, although HR may believe they are responsible for talent management, operational departments often believe that the responsibility lies with them (I explained my views on this, which I think deal with this confusion, here).

McKinsey's recent Chart Focus makes an even stronger point (repeating the points and the graph produced in 'Making talent a strategic priority' produced earlier this year), linking the failure of talent management programmes to: "the declining influence of the human resources function".

I'll come back to this issue in my next post...



  1. Jon

    Agreed, however there is a problem. Much talks about War on Talent have focussed around the HR, and not about business.
    I intend to post on this next time.

  2. Jon, what is the difficulty exactly?

    Talent is not elastic. That is, we can't get it at the snap of one's fingers NO MATTER how much we pay.

    When we identify a business opportunity it is based on market, captial and talent being available.

    It seems to me that the talent shortage is a circular idea. Either we identified our talent needs when we defined our business idea and we set about growing our talent accordingly, or we didn't. Either the business is sufficiently profitable to pay Czechs to stay at home, or it isn't???

    Would you like to get involved in an HR2.0 meetup on Sat Dec 13 at I've booked a slot for noon. Reg free; lunch we spring for ourselves.

  3. Thanks Amit, thanks Jo.

    I agree this is circular - I just think that traditionally the cirlce has flowed just in one direction - from the market opportunity to talent.

    I'm suggesting that talent can also create the market opportunity too.


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