Fighting the War for Talent – Focus on Career Management!

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We’ve been hearing about the “War for Talent” in the Sourcing / Supply Chain space for quite some time and it does not seem to be improving. In our previous posts, we explored how the lack of a holistic approach to Competency Based Talent Management (“CBTM”) is the root cause of the problem. In addition, we have advocated that to be sustainable, CBTM must cover ALL five phases of an employee’s journey through a company — recruiting, performance evaluation, training / development, career management and succession planning.

Let’s focus here on one element – Career management. According to Wikipedia, Career Management is the combination of structured planning and the active management choice of one’s own professional career. While career management should ideally be the responsibility of the individual, it MUST be driven by the organization. To start, employees need to know which skills / competencies are required to be successful today and how those skills /competencies need to grow and develop in order to progress within the company. These can only be defined by the organization and are the foundation for CBTM. A well-defined competency model, which is critical here, can also be used and integrated into the other four phases of CBTM. In addition, individuals need to see the career options (career path) and the expectations associated with moving through the path. How many Sourcing / Supply Chain organizations have actually taken the time to not only define the competencies but also lay out a career path for their employees? Not many. By the way, the first people to leave because of the absence of career management are the people you most want to hold on to — your high potentials. They are off listening to other companies who seem to be able to articulate a career path – can’t all companies do this during the recruiting phase even if it is all smoke and mirrors?

Without a Career Management process in place, you will:

  • lose your best people
  • constantly be recruiting (this is an expensive proposition)
  • never realize the full ROI of your asset (your people) base
  • lose the opportunity to infiltrate (love that word) the rest of the organization with Sourcing / Supply Chain thinking
  • never get beyond tactical contribution (real value comes thru competency growth)

The consequences of ignoring Career Management as part of your talent management program (if you have one) can be devastating to an organization. While the official definition of Career Management places the responsibility with the individual, the organization needs to put the infrastructure (process tools, metrics, mentors, etc.) in place AND drive the adoption and execution of the process. If we look at Career Management as benefiting both the employee and the organization then we MUST ensure that it is happening — tools are of no use unless they are being utilized.

What do you need to do to fix the career management void? Here are a few Next Practice tips:

  • Develop a competency model which allows employees to see their path for success
  • Tie career progression to competency growth
  • Ensure that competency growth is NOT about “what you know” but more about “what you DO with what you know”
  • Link career paths across functions by competency
  • Ensure career management is integrated into ALL phases of CBTM
  • Create a “success culture”, providing organizational mobility and access to new opportunities
  • Provide employees with “stretch” assignments to further competency growth
  • Ensure your organization is the “place to be” to ensure professional growth
  • Provide ongoing feedback and coaching so that employees can grow and take advantage of new opportunities

If you are interested in getting involved or would like to follow this topic further, here are a series of critical activities coming up:

  • Release of the results of the Executive Forum we just facilitated at the IACCM Global Forum for Contracting & Commercial Excellence on Talent Management.
  • A major research project to not identify the problem one more time but to identify Next Practices to solve the problems.
  • A webinar with IACCM on CBTM.
  • A White Paper to focus on Next Practices in CBTM.

Regards,

Crystal

Reposted on Sourcing Innovation.

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Anne Kohler
Anne has been leading consulting and financial management organizations for over 25 years. She has extensive expertise in Strategic Sourcing, change management, contracting & contract management (both the buy side and sell side) organizational design and supply chain management. Anne has a passion for collaborating and educating her clients while helping them to uncover hidden value in their organizations. In addition, Anne has been named by Supply & Demand Chain Executive as a “Top 100 Provider Pro to Know” every year since 2007 and a 2013 Top Female Supply Chain executive.
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