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Are You Enabling the Production of ‘Gems’ or ‘Rhinestones’ in the Context of Human Talent?

OPINION PIECE: Murad Salman Mirza Global Thought Leader


(A Simple Tool for Gauging the Efficacy of the Prevalent Talent Management System)

There are ferocious fights being waged for securing/sustaining desired talent across the corporate landscape, especially, within progressive organizations.  This is abundantly visible in countries where the economy is booming primarily due to the positive prospects/projections driven by the ‘unrelenting’ sentiments to rebound from the shrinkages experienced during the worst ravages of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Any governmental actions to control the rising and persistent inflation due to the ‘turbocharged’ economic activity are being marginalized (https://lnkd.in/eNFKF2BJ) by the hordes of clients/customers who are eager to experience some form of ‘stability/predictability/normalcy’ again in their lives while organizations are scampering to adjust to the resultant surge in demand by recalling/rehiring/retaining talent (https://lnkd.in/euNAiGCJ) crucial to maintaining pace with the exponential growth in business.

An interesting factor being observed in the respective context is that clients/customers are fueling the rejuvenation of the ‘brick and mortar’ businesses that were substituted/sidelined/surpassed during the onslaught of the COVID-19 Pandemic by the online titans since the later are currently reducing/trimming/freezing their workforces (Xhttps://lnkd.in/dYENbVX).  This is also adding to the rethinking of professional priorities and switching of careers/industries while also boosting the ranks of new entrepreneurs.  However, the growth and transition within the talent ranks is not uniform across the various industries (https://lnkd.in/eEFKM3UP) and prudent employers are careful in expanding their workforces with an eye on the organizational imperatives for the future, rather than, just fulfilling the enticing short-term needs.  Consequently, the following tool, as an interpretable questionnaire with Yes/No answers, is being presented to gauge the efficacy of the prevalent Talent Management System in enabling the production of ‘Gems’ (talent that consistently delivers on its promise) or ‘Rhinestones’ (talent that consistently disappoints on its promise) in the context of human talent:

  1. Are your recruitment drives exclusively focused on gaining talent from elite academic institutions?
  2. Are your compensation packages designed for poaching talent from competitors, rather than, attracting new talent?
  3. Are you very strict in terms of adherence to job specifications and actively filter candidates who are considered ‘misfits’ due to their unique backgrounds and professional experiences?
  4. Are your core values designed for cloning, rather than, providing the freedom for displaying the finest aspects of humanistic talent?
  5. Is your Talent Management System designed to conform, rather than, reform?
  6. Do you view Training & Development opportunities as ‘rewards for subservience’, rather than, as an imperative for reskilling/upskilling/multiskilling of your workforce to stay relevant and competitive?
  7. Do your policies/processes/procedures/practices fail to provide the space for ‘rebellious’ thinking that challenges the ‘norms’ in the context of innovation?
  8. Is your criterion for promotion heavily weighted in favor of someone who ‘listens/obeys’ without question, rather than, who ‘debates/deliberates’ with sound insights?
  9. Is your idea of ‘Employee Engagement’ seeing ‘Happy Employees’ on the outside, rather than, assuring/ensuring ‘Committed Employees’ on the inside?
  10. Do you view teamwork as an excuse to ‘hide’ the underperformance/shortcomings of your favorites from personal scrutiny by overloading the ones without any influential backers?
  11. Do you encourage DIBE (Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, Equity) initiatives as the ‘things to do’, rather than, as a strong reflection of an earnest desire to leverage the strengths of the available workforce to increase ‘core competencies’?
  12. Do you have a penchant for ‘Fad Surfing’ (https://lnkd.in/ebDjSawT), rather than, institutionalizing customized Talent Management Practices that are the most beneficial for your organization?
  13. Do you tend to have robust/rigid ideas about the prevalent Talent Management System while ignoring/negating/marginalizing the need for refining/improving the prevalent policies/processes/procedures/practices according to the evolution of the relevant ecosystem, e.g., facilitating and supporting the preference for remote or hybrid work by the workforce?
  14. Are your succession pipelines clogged with frustrated talent that is unable to progress further due to the lack of timely vacancies in higher positions?
  15. Does your ‘Total Rewards Package’ exclude the provisioning of quality employee experiences?
  16. Is your Talent Management System injudiciously designed to favor certain segments of a multigenerational workforce at the expense of the other members?
  17. Do you prefer to hire ‘Outside Talent’, rather than, to develop ‘Inside Talent’ to enhance the quality of your workforce?
  18. Do you avoid doing ‘Exit Interviews’ with disgruntled/disillusioned/disenchanted employees by discarding/disowning/demeaning their contributions to the organization?
  19. Does your office humor reflect a tone of piercing sarcasm and helpless resignation with the way things are done at your organization?
  20. Does your workplace environment have an undercurrent of resentment against talent differentiation based upon dubious policies/processes/procedures/practices?
  21. Do you have a poor organizational reputation as a ‘feeder of quality talent’ in the relevant job market?
  22. Do you have long-serving employees who are there because they ‘need to’, rather than, they ‘want to’ since the desire/demand for their skills with other potential employers is quite low?
  23. Do you view AI-enabled entities as ‘human talent replacement’ alternatives, rather than, ‘human talent complementing’ options?
  24. Do you resist investments pertaining to the growth and development of your employees, primarily, due to the fear that they will take their enhanced skill sets elsewhere with better working conditions?
  25. Is your allocation of available resources, especially, in terms of boosting the skill levels of the workforce, e.g., provision of capable mentors, guided by nepotism, favoritism and/or organizational politics?
  26. Do you play on the insecurities of your employees by forcing them to accept lofty goals that are almost impossible to fully achieve with available resources and then mark them as ‘average performers’ during Performance Reviews?
  27. Do you tend to employ technology as a ‘buffer’ for avoiding face-to-face conversations, especially, pertaining to ‘hard’ questions?
  28. Do you keep modifying/changing the performance standards based upon personal whims, rather than, what is possible within the available resources and the known capabilities of the workforce?
  29. Do you downplay successes/achievements and overplay failures/shortcomings to feed a sense of insecurity within the workforce to keep them from leaving the organization?
  30. Do you tend to see the phenomenon of ‘Moonlighting’ (https://lnkd.in/d6_Y-nmR) as an infringement on the ‘attachment’ owed to the organization even though you are factually aware that it has no impact on the relevant professional obligations by dedicated employees?
  31. Do you prefer to have segregated corporate social events, rather than, meaningful networking/engagement opportunities between the senior management and the rest of the workforce?
  32. Do you tend to regard mental health as a ‘personal’ issue that is largely disconnected from the workplace?
  33. Do you have a negative view of the role of the unions in terms of adding value to employment relationships/conditions?
  34. Do you tend to view ‘change initiatives’ as ‘exercises in futility’, rather than, as ‘invaluable opportunities’ for improvement?
  35. Are you unwilling to place significant accountability on the senior leadership for failures in sound decision-making, e.g., pertaining to the inadequacy/deficiency of the risk management plans relating to effectively countering workplace issues in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic?
  36. Are your organizational goals driven by short-term personal ambitions of senior leadership, rather than, catering to corporate imperatives for long-term relevance and competitiveness?
  37. Do you have a fixed mindset about the role that each function plays within the organization and often resist the temptation of multiskilling the workforce due to the persistent fear of raising the ranks of indispensable employees?
  38. Do you frequently neglect to align the needs of the organization with the personal ambitions/aspirations of the employees while formulating personalized career growth and progression plans with them?
  39. Do your brightest ex-employees frequently fail at other organizations?
  40. Do your ex-employees rarely stay in touch with their former colleagues at your organization?
  41. Are you often reluctant to give professional recommendations to ex-employees?
  42. Is your leadership often embroiled in crisis management, rather than, focusing on productive engagement with the workforce?
  43. Do your leaders frequently take credit for the work of ‘star’ team members as examples of their own ‘good leadership’, rather than, recognizing the work of those ‘star’ team members as examples of ‘stellar performance’ for motivating other team members?
  44. Are you easily influenced by the rumors floating through the organizational grapevine and actively perpetuate falsehoods to keep the workforce in a state of uncertainty?
  45. Do you have ‘smart answers’ for negating/nullifying/neutralizing promising suggestions for improvement given by ‘caring’ and ‘capable’ employees?
  46. Are your team meetings often peppered with robust justifications by influential members for ‘what can’t be done’, rather than, ‘what can be done’?
  47. Do you tend to blame the workforce for the gains made by the competitors in increasing their market share, rather than, having an honest self-reflection in terms of assessing and correcting leadership failures/shortcomings?
  48. Do you repudiate/disown/marginalize the high attrition rates at your organization as an ‘industry average’, rather than, diligently exploring and prudently investing in retention strategies pertaining to the desired talent?
  49. Do you think of your organization as being so unique that no benchmarking with other organizations is deemed possible in terms of Talent Management Practices and for seeking improvement opportunities with respect to widely acknowledged Best Practices?
  50. Do you discourage the opportunities for your workforce to attend professional engagements, e.g., seminars, conferences, workshops, etc., that can help them in freely interacting with the talent from other organizations to improve their own capabilities?

The following table should be used for interpreting the aforementioned Yes/No questions:

This tool has been created and developed to help the Top/Senior Leaders and the HR/Talent Management Professionals in timely and proactively assessing the viability/vulnerability of the Talent Management System being deployed by their organizations and taking appropriate corrective/preventive actions in case any deficiencies/shortcomings are discovered.  This requires an honest evaluation of the current policies/processes/procedures/practices with an open and accommodative mindset to assure/ensure that the talent ranks within the workforce are not reduced/depleted/endangered, especially, at critical positions.  It also helps in building a strong foundation for a robust ‘Employer Brand’ that is not only a ‘Quality Feeder of Experienced Talent’ to the market, but also, a ‘Strong Magnet for Fresh Talent’ to revitalize the organizational talent pipelines.  How are your initiatives faring with respect to facilitating the production of ‘valuable’ human talent?

OPINION PIECE:Murad Salman Mirza

Global Thought Leader and Corporate Management Advisor
LinkedIn Profile:https://www.linkedin.com/in/muradsalmanmirza/