I came across a very interesting blog written by Boris Groysberg and Deborah Bell on HBR. It was titled "Talent Management: Boards Give Their Companies an 'F'"...The basis of the piece by Groysberg and Bell was a study conducted in partnership with WomenCorporateDirectors and Heidrick & Struggles to survey over a 1000 board members across eight industry sectors on how well their companies performed in 9 dimensions of talent management (attracting top talent; hiring top talent; assessing talent; developing talent; rewarding talent; retaining talent; firing; aligning talent strategy with business strategy; and leveraging diversity in company's workforce). Groysberg and Bell wanted to see how many board members strongly agreed with how their companies were handling these 9 areas of talent management.
As you might imagine some talent management areas got passing grades (All relative of course) like attracting top talent and rewarding talent and some got pretty poor grades like firing and leveraging diversity. Scores across industry sectors also varied.
Groysberg and Bell hypothesize that boards are becoming more interested because they recognize the importance of talent to successful competitive advantage. That hypothesis could be true it needs to be tested. I have no personal experience with Board of Director members, but I do know anecdotally what some boards members are interested in at any given time. For example, it could be retaining talent and leveraging diversity or another small set of things, but what I suspect is that with the exception of some companies and their boards who are having conversations across the nine functions within talent management...most are not having broad conversations about talent management and implications to competitive advantage. As Groysberg and Bell do state they are hopeful this indicates new interest in talent management.
What does this data mean? Another hypothesis maybe as simple as the board members don't know anything about talent management. If they don't know it...how would you expect them to answer this question? Most likely not going to strongly agree with it...So I have some questions about it...
Is it important for the BoD members to understand talent management and how it can impact competitive advantage? Absolutely! But to accomplish that requires a very strong CHRO to enable and influence BoD members to pay attention to talent metrics as much as they do financial metrics.
Dr. J. Keith Dunbar is a Global Talent Management Leader...Creator of Talent, Leadership Capability, and Culture Change...He can be found connecting and sharing knowledge on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.
LinkedIn: J. Keith Dunbar
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Blog: DNA of Human Capital
The opinions or views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent the views of the SAIC.