02/04/2015

By Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy and External Affairs at Chartered Management Institute (CMI)


The knowledge economy is fast gaining pace, but how can smart talent management boost an organisation’s resilience?

Last year Facebook paid $19bn for WhatsApp, a mobile messaging company with a mere 55 employees runs on $60m of funding. To many, the sum seemed inordinately high, but to the authors of a recent study it was yet one more instance of the knowledge economy at work.

That study is Valuing Your Talent – a joint enterprise between CMI (The Chartered Management Institute), CIPD, CIMA, Investors in People and UKCES that sought investors’ views on how best to quantify and report the value of human capital in businesses. One of its key findings is that valuing human capital is the kingmaker of success, especially in modern economies. By implication, smart management of that capital – or, to put it in plain English, smart management of people – can boost any organisation, whereas poor management invites risk. Here are some powerful points that can help you smarten up your talent management.

Be mindful of the marketplace

Such is the speed of technological development that you probably need more than one person monitoring development in innovation, market movements and even regulation. If your company lacks a specific department for these things, try to determine who in your team has the desire and aptitude to cover the gaps. You should probably follow this up by allowing them added time and resources.

Mr Motivate

Even if you are driven by the demands and rewards of your work, others around you may disagree. Leading by example can be an effective way of motivating those around you, but it doesn’t stop with simply bounding around with energy and enthusiasm. In fact, you may even isolate those of a more cynical disposition… The literature on motivational techniques is full of useful theories, including rather celebrated ones such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and Herzberg’s hygiene theory. But for more recent developments in the field, you might want to expand your skill set with a professional management course that can put the theory into real-world context.

Concentrate on culture

Without the right collective working ethos, even the biggest of companies risk failure. In the financial crash of 2008, too much risk-taking on the part of some financial institutions led to their demise. And before that, cases such as Enron and Arthur Andersen illustrate only too painfully the risks in poor working ethics. Engendering the right culture among your talent is a fine art, but a starting point is to lead by example in integrity, and focus on eliminating groupthink, especially through nurturing a diverse workforce. Embracing social goals makes sense: CMI’s Management 2020 report explored how companies with a clear social purpose performed better

Communicate and engage

Engaged workers who are free and encouraged to flag up risks are an asset to any organisation – a fact that underlines the importance of human capital in our increasingly information-led economies. Through listening to your staff’s concerns and following them up with a measured response you can also demonstrate vital management skills that will gain you respect and trust. Remember that engagement is part of the psychological contract – that means it’s a two-way street.

Shark secrets

Rather like a shark, a company that doesn’t continually swim forward risks demise. Even the biggest beasts can be vulnerable. Tesco, anyone? Part of ensuring that your organisation is constantly developing lies in future-proofing for talent. This means adopting the mindset of companies like Unilever, Boots, EY and many others in making sure that today’s workforce will be equipped with the skills to meet tomorrow’s demands.