Friday 1 June 2012

Innovative talent management – pharmaceuticals example


   Lovely day today for the first day of June – just the jubilee to get over (more on that soon) and then a busy and entertaining month ahead – including the Economist’s Talent Management Summit on 14th June.

I’ve been asking for innovative example of talent management in return for offering two tickets to go along to the Summit with me.  There are two leading entries to date – this is the second – from Keith Wilson, Global Talent / Change Director at Astra Zeneca (I know many of you will already know Keith as I suspect he’s the most connected HR person on Linkedin!):

“Great challenge Jon. I'll answer with a mixture of what we're doing and what we have plans to do.

But firstly my approach. I don't see the question that we're trying to address changing - i.e. balancing 'what does the organisation need', with 'what's right for the individual'. But I do see rapid change in the available toolset.

I try to triangulate (my favourite word of the moment) across the 'science', 'art' and external best practice in Talent Management to ensure that we continually evolve to have an agile approach.

The Science: we're making good progress on getting the right systems in place. I continue to be impressed by the likes of SuccessFactors and Rypple and we're seeing increased interest in what big data implications are for HR. For me this is about timeliness, accuracy and point-of-need; giving Line Managers actionable information at their fingertips, and reducing noise/complexity.

The Art: this gets to the heart of your question and I think this differs very much company-to-company (depending on that lazy c-word, culture). What is the common Talent language and how are decisions made?. I see a continued tilt towards the 'art' of talent management (as opposed to the science) in more relationship-based orgs, where perception/judgement and the subtleties of influence are more important. I wonder if we'll see roads towards the science of measuring that, perhaps an internal organisational Klout score? I'd also suggest that increased focus on building a truly diverse reflection of global footprint is accelerating the need to answer these questions. When it comes to how we think, the concept of 'unconscious bias' is proving a useful conversation.

Best practice: I've observed, recently, what I think is an interesting trend. The likes of Google & Microsoft have been saying that traditional leadership/talent development programmes haven't been working for them and that they're focussing on 'stretch-assignments', 'planning the next 2 roles', 'global mobility'. This has always been our approach (and has proved very successful from pov of succession/retention) and it's interesting to see other industries moving towards it...

So.... I try to THINK in 3-D (triangulation), ACT quickly, simply, based on timely information, and BEHAVE responsibly, confidently and with integrity.

I'm interested to hear others points of view...???”


Love it – and I definitely think there’s going to be a big focus on aligning talent management with organisational influence rather than individual contribution over the next few years.  More about that on this blog again soon as well.

Any comments for Keith, or me – do leave them here…

And if you think you can do better? – there’s still time to post your entry (the deadline has been extended till the end of the weekend).

But if you don’t make it you can still get a 15% discount by quoting SHCM when you book.


Also see


Picture credit: Picking up on Keith’s cue, I tried to use Twiangulate for him ( @kjw_hrd ), the Economist ( @EG_LeadershipTE ) and myself ( @joningham ) to analyse our relationships but it didn’t tell me that much – other than Keith doesn’t use Twitter as much as he does Linkedin!



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