Integrated Talent Management (ITM) – another buzz-word for HR, right? Another consulting topic to sell services to an organisation, right? Another attempt of HR to become more strategic, right?
Actually no – ITM, which is not new, but gains more and more traction these days, is finally bringing HR to where it needs to be – out of the way and at the same time focused on where it creates value.
In recent years, HR’s story was very much about downsizing, Shared Services, or even doing away with HR. And I would truly agree with doing away with HR if your HR people and your HR function are in any way similar to what is describe in that article. HR as a policies, compliance and control function is not obsolete, but can significantly be reduced. In fact, just mix and match with your compliance function and its ok.
The problem is that many HR functions and HR colleagues and leaders have lost the focus on the true value of HR: people and their impact on the company success. I don’t want to debate today how this has happened, but instead focusing on why HR is the true value function. Let’s recap the resource based view of the firm where people are the true differentiator, the true competitive advantage of the firm and start from there.
The past is the future
Talent Management, and especially Integrated Talent Management is deeply rooted in that space and in that idea of people being the differentiator. And you know what – it is right. People are the main differentiator, people are what makes a company fail or be successful. People are what makes you different – and what cannot be copied or imitated by any of your competitors. And this is why we truly should focus on this competitive advantage and focus HR on making this competitive advantage even stronger.
ITM is all about that – focus all your efforts on bringing in the right Talent at the right time to the right job – and from there develop and move your Talent in the organisation slowly but steadily to utilise it to become more effective as a firm. Success is about having the right people at the right places, doing the right thing. And this right thing is also enforced by HR and its processes – Performance Management. And ITM is as much about getting people in as it is about moving people out – either when the time is right or when the Talent needs a different experience or when it in fact is no longer the right Talent. Companies change, strategies change and this impacts what kind of Talent you need. ITM does all that – and it does it very successful: Have a look here or here.
Watch out the HOW of ITM
This is where HR can create tremendous value for the company, where HR makes the difference of becoming a successful or a futureless organisation. One very important aspect of this is however, that HR should not make the same mistake it did in earlier days: Thinking and demanding that HR is the one and only department and HR people are the one and only people who can and should run ITM, should care and decide about your Talents.
HR colleagues sometimes are not trusting others and sometimes are over motivated to get a seat at the table that they want to do everything on their own, want to prove themselves and their company how great they are and what value they can bring. And this leads to actually very often the opposite: HR being in the way and not creating value. HR being wanted “away” by the rest of the organisation.
ITM needs to be and is about the organisation and its Talent, not about HR. Yes, HR is the function that needs to create an ITM backbone and needs to ensure that the organisation is on the right path. But the actual owners and drivers of ITM are all employees and our people managers. ITM is about everyday actions and everyday focus. Nothing that HR can or should do – HR needs to be out of the way so that employees and people managers can execute ITM – every day. And this not with the help of restrictive policies and hand-holding, but with creating the right environment and infrastructure so that employees and people managers can utilise the full potential of ITM.
If you will, ITM is doing away with HR – it is bringing Talent Management back in focus, and it is doing away with HR people being at the forefront of people’s topics. And by that, making HR truly strategic and positioning it where it should be: as the true value function.