Is your talent management inclusive?

Do you find it hard to attract, motivate and retain the right talents? A new study from ISS and Copenhagen Business School (CBS) shows that you might simply be looking for the wrong ones.

Since the late 1990s when the“war for talent” was declared, talent management has represented one of the fastest-growing areas within Human Resource Management (HRM). Talent Management in its definition forms part of the broader field of HRM and embraces an organization’s ability to attract, select, develop and retain key employees.

Within Talent Management, highly talented individuals are identified by organisations based on a variety of characteristics, such as competencies, skills, abilities, experience, knowledge, intelligence, character and drive, or the ability to learn and grow within an organisation.

Talent Management is meeting criticism

Critical scholars, however, have slated Talent Management for its tendency to show exclusionary interest in “superstar” talent while being unaware of other key organizational stakeholders such as front-line employees and middle managers.

This means that talent management strategies remain exclusionary and elitist, employing practices that deliberately exclude and separate staff into categorical groups of high and low value.

In practice, an elitist, performance-driven approach to Talent Management excludes individuals who are in the lower ranks of the organisation, such as technical or operational employees and middle managers, whose ability to advance receives little attention in the organisation.

Consequently, businesses might lose out on opportunities to develop people who could have played key roles in areas such as process and product innovation, technical expertise, and management.

Nevertheless, performance-driven Talent Management might be inclined to look externally for talent instead of paying greater attention to internal talent: disregarding, how leadership or specialist talent is just as likely to be present in those employees working their way through the organisation as managers hired from outside the organisation.

We must work towards Inclusive Talent Management

Instead of focusing on exclusive-elitist Talent Management that only targets high-potential and high-performing employees, who often are recruited externally – the inclusive talent management approach targets all potential employees, based on strength-based approach to talent management.

Inclusive Talent Management is linked to opportunity via participation – rather than meeting a preset threshold that reflects an organisations vision of talent – which also marks a shift from performance-driven to learning-oriented talent management.

It perceives talent as including everyone in the organisation, seeing every employee as having his or her own strengths (and weaknesses), and has the potential to create added value for the organisation.

Inclusive Talent Management is believed to benefit the organisation by bringing about a more pleasant, collegial and motivating working climate by treating everyone as equals, striving for more equal distribution of resources and possibilities across all employees rather than a subset of elite performers.

Inclusive Talent Management put into practice

With the mindset that every employee possesses a potential, and to cater for the need to identify, motivate and develop diverse and talented employees at all levels of the organisation, ISS Denmark has established a holistic talent agenda that unifies existing Talent Management initiatives and the new Inclusive Talent Management Initiatives to ensure that ISS Denmark will always have a pipeline of qualified candidates.

The graphic below illustrates the Inclusive Talent Management initiatives of ISS Denmark.

Talent-management-initiatives

Grow your potential

Grow your potential offers training through participation. It builds on the philosophy that talent is not a trait of a few privileged “superstars” but something that can be nurtured and developed in every employee.

The programme is relevant for all employees at all levels of ISS Denmark; however, the need to create a pipeline of successors is most pressing at the front-line managerial level.

In addition, existing leaders must be motivated not only to lead employees but to lead future leaders and their successor: leaders must be made aware of their responsibility to nurture, develop and motivate talented employees to pursue a career in ISS Denmark.

Through its dedicated focus, the programme enables more transparent careers, more advancement from bottom to top, efficient use of internal competence and leadership development, employee satisfaction, attraction and retention of first-line employees.

Mentorship Programme

Employees, who get promoted and face new challenges can benefit from advice and guidance from experienced leaders. Grow your potential is therefore supplemented by the offer to get a mentor, who can provide guidance about career changes and new opportunities. The mentors are leaders and in a different business unit than the employee, to broaden the mentee’s network.

Transparent career paths

The last initiative within Inclusive Talent Management is to make career paths more transparent in ISS Denmark. Making career paths transparent and visible is especially important in ISS Denmark, as more than 95% of employees work in a customer location. This means that access and daily exposure to corporate information is limited due to the geographical distance to the ISS office.

Transparent-career-paths

 

The formulation of performance demands and making career paths visible is supplemented by the circulation of internal career stories, to motivate and inspire employees to make cross-organisation and even unconventional careers.

Want to learn more about Talent Management? Download the new ISS White Paper developed in collaboration with Copenhagen Business School here.