Friday 7 October 2011

#HRTechconf – meeting Kevin Oakes – and the need for integrated talent management


   Despite all the wonderful content, my favourite part of the HR Technology (as is always the case with conferences) was meeting lots of new people, and catching up with existing contacts.

Actually, I probably get a bit less of a buzz out of this than I used to – I remember the days in which meeting a solo blogger used to practically blow my mind.  But now, particularly with conferences like HR Technology, and unconferences like HRevolution and Connecting HR, I’ve got so used to seeing.. what, maybe 50 bloggers I know in the same room, that I’ve got spoilt.

But one chance meeting that did still give me that same high was the one with Kevin Oakes.  Kevin is CEO of the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) which is an organisation I highly respect (you’ll find lots of commentary of various research studies of theirs on this blog).  But Kevin is also the co-editor of the recently published book from i4CP and ASTD, The Executive Guide to Integrated Talent Management.

I’m a big fan of this book (and therefore of Kevin) for at least three reasons:

  • Integration is a big thing – for example, a lot of the conversation at HR Technology has been around integrated talent management technology which is great – I believe this technology can make a powerful difference to you, but you do actually need to integrate your talent management processes first.
  • The book is a great read
  • It includes a chapter from me (alongside others from eg David Ulrich, Marshall Goldsmith, Peter Cappelli, Noel Tichy and Ed Lawler).


The book starts of with a foreword from Tom Rath which I think you can skip as this focuses on Gallup’s ‘people leave managers’ thing which I think is 1. wrong, 2. irrelevant here.

But it starts to get going with an introduction from Kevin Oakes and Pat Galagan at ASTD.  This points out that the main challenges in integrated talent management has moved on from data integration, so that the required strategies now include:

  • “Make the whole executive team, rather than just a single HR leader, responsible for talent management
  • Ensure that your organisation’s talent management processes are coordinated before implementing technological solutions
  • When selecting technological solutions, proceed with intelligence scepticism (eg start with one or two components instead of the entire suite)
  • Finally, measure talent management, and make sure that these measures are aligned with your business goals.”


I also like the suggestion that each organisation’s version of integrated talent management will potentially involve different HR components, as each will face different talent challenges.  However the book focuses on learning and development as this has a critical role to play in integration: “the chapters that follow highlight how a particular silo or HR function is integrated into the whole of talent management and how it utilises learning and development to be more strategic and productive for the organisation”.  I’ll be reviewing these chapters over the next couple of months.




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