How to manage a diverse workforce

Written by
Changeboard Team

11 Dec 2014

11 Dec 2014 • by Changeboard Team

Talent management research

Building on our 2007 and 2010 talent management research, we identified six statements we feel influence processes and outcomes. These statements were used to explore the perspectives of more than 20 senior talent management practitioners within private sector organizations across the Middle East and Europe, testing and refining the six statements initially identified as six myths.

Myth 1

Current skills & performance can predict success

Reality: Defining the skills that will be required in 10 years is increasingly difficult – yet organizations continue to invest in it. People assume a ‘perfect skill set for 2023’ can be identified and used to create ‘objective’ assessment processes to identify suitable candidates. Yet these tend to be centre/HQ country biased and take little or no account of culture, gender or organizational context. Consider using much more broadly based criteria than pure ‘performance’ measures to select talent. Learning agility and adaptability are true indicators of future success.

Myth 2

Focusing on a small elite of talent will give you the best ROI

Reality: Most organizations we work with prioritize development efforts in a select group (ranging from about 1-5% of the population). There are some serious risks associated with this. We argue a broad definition of talent is essential in today’s world. Be aware of the consequences of labelling people as high potentials and pay more than lip service to the view that all individuals are talented.

Myth 3

Formal process matters more than informal process

Reality: Informal processes will always play a key role in how talent is developed and deployed, particularly in this region. Based on our research, the most successful talent management practitioners invest more in formal processes. They learn about informal processes, connect with them, legitimize them and influence the outcomes that are created, while developing formal processes that take account of cultural preferences and existing patterns.

Myth 4

Talent management follows strategy

Reality: Talent insights can inform and shape strategy in the same way that information about infrastructure, key clients and working capital can. Data on key talent should be a core input into strategy development, along with insight into availability, attraction and engagement drivers of critical talent segments.

Myth 5

Talent is a commodity

Reality: A lot of successful performance in new roles comes from the ability to build key relationships and understand teams’ strengths and weaknesses. Outstanding performance as an operations director in China may not be a good predictor of success for a role in corporate centre, or a different market.

Myth 6

Generation Y will grow up and start behaving like ‘us’

Reality: Talent processes must acknowledge the aspirations and drivers of Generation Y and build their different learning styles into assessment /development/supervisory systems. Bring together multi-generational perspectives and ensure that this demographic learns from experience and develops better decision-making and interpersonal skills.