Business Innovation: Your Talent Management Strategy Is the Key

© HP_Photo - Fotolia.com
© HP_Photo - Fotolia.com

On Friday as I backed out of my driveway, I heard news tidbits on the radio about a company that was possibly announcing bankruptcy. As the news recycled, it was announced that it was Kodak that was possibly going to make the announcement.

Also this week, Amazon announced that yes, they are getting into the tablet business with the new Kindle Fire. As a Kindle fanatic, I read everything I could about the product. At the other end of the spectrum, Borders officially closed their last store last week.

The Kodak dilemma was not a real shocker, but I was extremely interested in it. My hobby is photography and I remember buying dozens of boxes of film at a time. I even had a darkroom in my first house. And now, because of slow reaction to the transformation of the photo industry, they are down for the count.

Innovation as part of the business landscape

Amazon is a perfect example of a nimble and innovative company that started out as a mass online book retailer. It has morphed before our very eyes into not only changing the book business, but also as serious competitor to the king of the hill that we know as Apple. They have also transitioned into a mass online retailer. Talk about innovation!

This is the state of affairs of our business landscape today. Either move along in the fast lane or get out the way. If you don’t, you will be literally run over.

All of these successes and failures can be blamed on their strategy, but I take it back a step to the people, because people are the ones that create the strategy. Did the level of talent and engagement differ from an Amazon, Borders, or Kodak? It all comes back to the level of talent and engagement within the organization.

If any company today ignores that part of the equation, they are venturing forward at their own peril.

Is your employee value proposition interesting?

This is the employee value proposition from Amazon — a place where builders can build. They hire the world’s brightest minds and offer them an environment in which they can invent and innovate to improve the experience for their customers.

This is part of the employee value proposition for Kodak. Every day you make a choice about where you work: which company deserves your talent, your best thinking, and your passion?

Now you tell me which one would you want to work for?

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Talent acquisition as the gatekeeper

Talent acquisition should address the strategic value of attracting and hiring the right talent. That means hiring the right person to fit the organization and the job.

Whatever your talent management strategy, it must be aligned with organizational strategy. In other words, take a look at your organizational strategy through the prism of your human capital strategy. If this is not achieved today, talent becomes disconnected from the focus and direction of the organization.

Every strategic direction that is created has ramifications for the talent within the company. What are the strategic roles needed to deliver on this strategy? It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of the strategic jobs in any company add the most value. Bill Gates once said that if you take away the top 20 employees at Microsoft, it just becomes an ordinary company.

Talent is the elephant in the room

As we run into this quest for innovation, it all comes back to the level of talent within your organization. That starts with the acquisition model you have in place, from your website all the way through the employee life cycle.

To use a manufacturing analogy, you have to have the right quality part in order to build a quality product. That fact is unmistakable.

So, innovation is a bogus word if you do not have the right people on the organization’s bus.

Ron Thomas is Managing Director, Strategy Focused Group DWC LLC, based in Dubai. He is also a senior faculty member and representative of the Human Capital Institute covering the MENA/Asia Pacific region.

He was formerly CEO of Great Place to Work-Gulf and former CHRO based in Riyadh. He holds certifications from the Human Capital Institute as Global Human Capital Strategist, Master Human Capital Strategist, and Strategic Workforce Planner.

He's been cited by CIPD as one of the top 5 HR Thinkers in the Middle East. He received the Outstanding Leadership Award for Global HR Excellence at the World Human Resources Development Congress in Mumbai, and was named as one of the 50 Most Talented Global HR Leaders in Asia

Ron's prior roles included senior HR positions with Xerox HR services, IBM, and Martha Stewart Living.

Board memberships include the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, McKinsey Quarterly's Executive Online Panel, and HCI's Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy.

His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Workforce Management and numerous international HR magazines covering Africa, India and the Middle East.

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1 Comment on “Business Innovation: Your Talent Management Strategy Is the Key

  1. Ron as I am originally from Rochester, NY where Kodak was founded and is based, I can tell you this story has been expected and dreaded by the folks who’s hometown economy partially revolves around it… Lay offs and downsizing have been happening for years ack home. This is just the official word on what we thought was coming but hoped not… Sandi V.

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