RESEARCH
  • Managing people

The Future of Talent Management

Research from UVA Darden considers which talent management practices are best fit for the future

 

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What talent management practices have stood the test of time in companies, which ones are changing, and why? What impact are these changes having on talent management leaders today?

The answers to these questions are critical because effective talent management and development is the foundation from which organizations of all types can ensure the high-quality management and leadership necessary to navigate the complex and disrupted world they increasingly operate in.

Recent research from Lisa Cannell, Managing Director and CHRO at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, set out to find answers to these questions and to discover the drivers of change in talent management. Interviews were conducted with 50 companies, the majority from the Fortune 500, in a wide variety of sectors from banking and financial services, through retail, hospitality and media, to healthcare, pharmaceuticals, technology, etc.

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CLICK TO DOWNLOAD A FULL SUMMARY OF THE RESEARCH HERE

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Surveying such a diverse range of companies revealed a broad spectrum of approaches to talent management, with some committed to radically updating their systems and others remaining dedicated to existing tried and tested approaches. While the differences in industry influenced some of the attitudes to changing practices, all reported on the macro trends that are shaping their future.

Four overriding trends – technology disruptors; fast pace of growth; brain research; and changing consumer values – were identified as drivers of change across the board and, for many, drivers of the need to reassess and change their talent management practices.

While these major drivers are causing business leaders to shed many of their old bureaucratic processes in favour of more agile systems for getting work done, most of the senior CHROs/CLOs interviewed are hanging in the balance between the old and the new.

The research looks at current talent management strategies, and at the changes in approach that are now taking place and will need to be accelerated in future, with a focus on these areas:

RECRUITING & ONBOARDING

  • In search for non-traditional talent pools
  • Assimilation issues
  • Fast effective onboarding

SUCCESSION PLANNING

  • Focus on strategic roles
  • Moving away from ‘high potentials’

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

  • Emphasis on conversations: speed and performance
  • Moving away from ratings
  • Talent reviews still stand

LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT

  • Focus on growth mindset and agility
  • Keeping younger generations engaged
  • Finding ways to develop leaders fast enough across geographies

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

  • Diversity as a business imperative
  • Small steps but not enough

The fundamental conclusion of this research is that as the business environment is rapidly changing so to are talent management practices changing across all sectors. However, it is not enough for leaders in talent management to wait for new practices to emerge by osmosis - organizations are changing too rapidly. To keep pace they need to take the initiative and seek to create company-wide solutions.

As Lisa Cannell suggests “They will need to find the courage to let go of some old approaches and pioneer new ones. Taking an agile approach to innovating and customizing talent programs with the focus on customer needs (employees and leaders) – and not HR needs – is a solid method to enter this brave new world.”

Business leaders hold the keys to business success and ultimately to economic prosperity around the world. And the levers applied by effective talent management – from recruiting & onboarding, to succession planning, to performance management, to learning & development, and to diversity & inclusion – are the most important ways we have to ensure we get the leaders and managers the future demands.


For over half a century, Darden Executive Education has served as a critical resource for businesses around the world, conveying the relevant strategies and specific business skills needed to formulate decisions, set action plans and apply sustainable options.





 
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