Saturday, January 24, 2009

The New Talent Management Network's 2nd Annual State of Talent Management Report

Marc Effron, founder of The New Talent Management Network (NTMN), and a Talent Management VP at a Fortune 500 company, just released an interesting "State of Talent Management" report. NTMN partnered with DDI in 2008 to survey over 160 companies participated representing every industry and geography.

You can download the full 17 pages here, and there will be a webinar on February 18th to discuss the results.

Here's a summary of the findings and my comments on the implications:

Finding #1: An Open Question on Effectiveness
Talent management practices aren’t providing the returns expected by corporate leaders or TM practitioners.

Great, another report telling us we think we suck. And not only that, but we think our line managers and executives, the clients we serve, think we suck even more than we think we suck. The report asks: "So what is preventing TM from being more effective? Do both executive and HR leaders have unreasonable expectations? Are business leaders not sufficiently supporting talent practices? Or, are TM leaders simply not getting the job done?"

My guess it would be all of the above. We need to stop over-promising and under-delivering, and start holding the clients we serve accountable.

Finding #2: An In-demand, Premium-priced Specialty
Senior talent management practitioners are in high demand; compensation premiums exist for those in formal TM groups. More than 75%of all surveyed firms indicated a commitment to either increase spending on TM in 2009 or hold it steady. Nearly two-thirds of respondents still find it very difficult to source senior TM talent.

OK, so while many of us suck, those of us that don't are in high demand and should be paid well (There's some good salary benchmarking data in the report).
With one in college and one on the way, that's reassuring. However, that's a selfish and narrow way to look at the issue. :)
What we really need to be doing is "drinking our own champagne". That is, start applying the same talent management best practices to our own profession. We need to improve our hiring, training, mentoring, and development of talent management practitioners.

Finding #3: Elite Clients, Narrowing Focus
Formal talent management groups largely serve executives and other senior leaders, focusing on succession planning and high potential development.

If you're going to be successful in this work, you'll need to learn how to run with the big dogs. This work is demanding and requires a specialized skill set. It shouldn't be left in the hands of overwhelmed generalists. "TM’s focus on the highest value clients and highest leverage services suggests that practitioners need strong strategic, business acumen and process management capabilities."

So what do you think of the findings and implications? More of the same? Any new insights? What's it going to take for those in the business of talent management to start grading ourselves better when we respond to these surveys?


Wally Bock said...

Thanks for that summary, Dan. More and more it seems like "talent management" is following the course of "knowledge management," an equally specious concept, but one that can make consultants rich.

Dan McCarthy said...

Wally -
So maybe I should change my job title? (:

Mark Stelzner said...

Sounds like it's time for a "We Suck Less in 2009" t-shirt. :)

I do think Wally touches on an important issue, namely one of HR language and consistency (or lack thereof) in interpretation. "Talent management" falls victim to the same subjective application as "HR outsourcing", "Human Capital Management" and the like. So, in learning that TM sucks, have we really learned anything at all?

Marc Effron said...

Dan -- Thanks for featuring our research! Here's the good news in our survey: the investment in TM during the recession won't take anywhere near the hit we might expect. Our survey showed nearly 75% of companies planned to increase or maintain their 2008 spending. Even if reality hits a little harder, if even 50% of companies do this, it will signal a growing recognition of the importance of TM.

Now we just have to deliver . . .


Dan McCarthy said...

Marc -
Yes, we do. Thanks for being a leader in our profession!