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Talent Management

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T he oil industry knows better than most the im- portance of operational efficiency as it struggles to manage the impact of a ten-year low in crude oil prices. It is a sector with executive boards that know the importance of investing in new blood to help grow the talent pools required to plug skills gaps being created by increasing numbers of employees approaching retirement. But not all sectors face such des - perate measures. In fact, the drive for operational efficiency, or future survival as in the case of many oil companies, need not be at the price of talent. However, many executive directors fail to engage in the talent management debate, let alone agree with this conjecture. Christopher Johnson, European and Pacific region business leader for talent at Mercer, believes that part of the cause of many execu - tive directors' disengagement in the talent debate is because of a failure by their management to explain the skills required to help grow the business. This, he suggests, is due to the dif - ficulty involved in presenting a clear story about the underlying employee issues at play around, for example, career development, gender and age diversity, and succession planning. "Where boards are failing is in rec - ognising in the broader workforce those huge talent issues they should be facing up to," he says. "For exam- ple, the ageing workforce is a big is- sue, and some organisations aren't thinking beyond this to the fact that they're getting a more complex workforce with a broader age range and employees staying on in work." But how does management pres - ent to a board member a simple dashboard of data? Human resource functions can prove instrumental in engaging ex - ecutive board members in the talent management debate, persuading them of the importance of prioritis- ing talent and, crucially, helping them to view it as a long-term invest- ment rather than a short-term cost. But this requires good-quality anal - ysis of workforce demographics by human resource staff equipped with the appropriate an - alytical skill sets. "It's about them providing good-quality and clean data, pre - sented quickly in a way that allows boards to have con- fidence that things in the business are fine or to recognise that things need to change," says Mr Johnson. Uninterested and unengaged ex - ecutives can equate to uninterested and unengaged employees. Employ- ers may suffer employee presentee- ism, whereby staff attend work but are unproductive while there. Worse still, errors may be made, which could result in dissatisfied customers and even workplace ac - cidents, with unfortunate injuries to employees, creating unnecessary costs for employers through lost business, sickness absence, medical bills and, potentially, litigation. Peter Reilly, principal associate at the Institute for Employment Stud - ies, says: "Errors will vary from in- dustry to industry, but truly disen- gaged and disaffected staff can do enormous damage to organisations." This is particularly the case when talented employees leave their or - ganisation to join a competitor. Professor Maury Peiperl, director of Cranfield School of Management, believes the latter could prove a key catalyst for change in executives' inter - est and engagement in the talent man- agement debate. "The biggest cat- alyst for change would be organisa- tions' competition coming from small startups, from out- side their usual frame of compet- itors, and execu- tives starting to recognise there is no permanence in size," he says. But Professor Peiperl also acknowledges the challenges present for executive boards across all industry sectors. "We're increasingly looking at a workforce where people expect to be paid attention, rewarded and developed or they just aren't inter - ested," he says. "At the same time, organisations have to stay in business and spend what little money they have staying afloat, so there's a perennial tug of war between short-term and long- term issues." This is why many human resource teams face an uphill battle in get - ting talent management on to their board agenda, particularly when it appears they deem the issue more important than most. The Chartered Institute of Per - sonnel and Development's latest HR Outlook Report, which polls or- ganisations about their current and future business priorities, reveals that human resource staff are more concerned with talent management than non-human resource leaders, who are more preoccupied with in - creasing customer focus. The report also reveals that 76 per cent of human resource lead- ers agree that their current people strategy will help their organisation achieve its future priorities, com- pared with just 26 per cent of other business leaders. So, perhaps the credibility of the human resource function is the first major barrier businesses must over - come to enable talent management to become a future boardroom agen- da item of importance. This is likely to happen with the ever-changing nature of the hu- man resource function, which is slowly evolving to become more commercia l and strategic in its outlook. But executives also need to wake up to the fact that grow th in market share will remain out of reach as long as they fail to implement and invest in a robust talent manage - ment programme, which engages and develops staff, enabling them to move the organisation forward. DISTRIBUTED IN CLARE BETTELLEY Associate editor of Employee Benefits magazine, she has held editorships at Financial Times Business and Centaur Media. PETER CRUSH Freelance business journalist, specialising in human resources and management issues, he was deputy editor of HR magazine. HAZEL DAVIS Freelance business writer, she contributes to The Times, Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian. CATH EVERETT Freelance journalist specialising in workplace and employment issues, she also writes on the impact of technology on society and culture. KAREN HIGGINBOTTOM Freelance journalist, she has written on a range of issues, including talent management, for national newspapers and Thomson Reuters. NICK MARTINDALE Award-winning writer and editor, he contributes to national business and trade press on a wide range of business issues. RACONTEUR PUBLISHING MANAGER Senem Boyaci DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER Sarah Allidina HEAD OF PRODUCTION Natalia Rosek DESIGN Samuele Motta Grant Chapman Kellie Jerrard PRODUCTION EDITOR Benjamin Chiou MANAGING EDITOR Peter Archer BUSINESS CULTURE FINANCE HE ALTHCARE LIFEST YLE SUSTAINABILIT Y TECHNOLOGY INFOGRAPHICS raconteur.net/talent-management-2016 CONTRIBUTORS Although this publication is funded through advertising and sponsorship, all editorial is without bias and sponsored features are clearly labelled. For an upcoming schedule, partnership in- quiries or feedback, please call +44 (0)20 8616 7400 or e-mail info@raconteur.net Raconteur is a leading publisher of special-interest content and research. Its publications and articles cover a wide range of topics, including business, finance, sustainability, health- care, lifestyle and technology. Raconteur special reports are published exclusively in The Times and The Sunday Times as well as online at raconteur.net The information contained in this publication has been ob- tained from sources the Proprietors believe to be correct. However, no legal liability can be accepted for any errors. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior consent of the Publisher. © Raconteur Media Now's the time to back talent Recruiting and retaining talented staff is key to business success, but can be seen as a short-term distraction rather than long-term necessity OVERVIEW CLARE BETTELLEY Share this article online via Raconteur.net Getty The credibility of the human resource function is the first major barrier businesses must overcome to enable talent management to become a future boardroom agenda item of importance RACONTEUR raconteur.net 03 TALENT MANAGEMENT 10 / 03 / 2016 TALENT MANAGEMENT DISTRIBUTION PARTNER

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