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New Challenges And Trends Are Reshaping HR Management

With the New Year already well underway, HR departments are facing new challenges and trends in the way talent is managed. Based on the insight of global leaders in HR, research by NTMN, client experiences and dialogues at the Talent Management Institute, the following trends are considered to be the most important in 2017.

Over the past few years, consultants and leaders in HR have been preoccupied with factors relating to the topic of performance management, expressing many factual opinions and arguing for and against various issues about the subject in articles that appeared in Harvard Business Review. However, if those in charge put the same amount of effort into rectifying performance management as they do writing and grumbling about it, the process would be far more advanced by now. The downside has been the never-ending debate regarding a minor aspect of performance management, namely ratings.

As increasing levels of evidence from impartial sources such as CEB and the Center for Effective Organizations reveal that companies achieve more positive results with ratings, the debate will eventually come to an end. The sense of urgency surrounding improvements to performance management will continue, egged on by the vocal opinions of managers and leaders in HR. Disagreement and well-meaning efforts to facilitate goal-setting, coaching and reviewing appear to be the driving force behind these vocally expressed thoughts. Although all the activity surrounding PM may encourage efforts to simplify the process, it is doubtful whether it will help the majority of companies appreciate the real potential of PM.  Skilful goal setting, not top-rate reviews, is the power behind PM. Therefore, until companies have the responsibility and determination to achieve in that department, the search for really effective PM will be in vain.

A focus on predicting potential will overtake a fixation on performance as senior leaders differentiate their investments in talent and insist on more precise forecasts to guide them. The one challenge that HR professionals and consultants need to acknowledge is that just two facts have been proved scientifically to predict potential in every scenario and that is intelligence and the finer aspects of personality. Therefore, should consulting firms indicate that they have found the magic formula for predicting a rise in potential, they are either giving those two traits another label or stretching the truth. Two potential examples emphasise the challenge of being able to precisely assess performance. Both Korn Ferry and CEB provide a potential model and diagnostic tools that they claim to be accurate. Significant differences are evident between the two, meaning that either one of them is right and one is wrong, or both are incorrect. However, promising sub-trends could be of assistance here. In the majority of companies, data analytics is regarded as glorified turnover analysis, but capabilities are swiftly evolving. More stable predictors of potential should be achievable within five years. Likewise, a bit more work is being done on understanding how the other half of the equation, namely the company situation, factors into accurately predicting the potential of an individual.

In 2017, companies will be forced to show more transparency, partly because younger generations are insisting on it, but mostly because firms that are transparent are showing zero negativity as a result of being honest. Also, proprietary data from executive teams at 50 companies reveals that when it comes to communicating potential and performance, management personnel support a philosophy of almost total transparency. The same data shows that at the moment most companies are at least moderate in their transparency. If being transparent is not part of a company’s agenda, it raises the question as to how long they will continue to lie to employees about their performance and potential.

The period between 2005 and 2015 saw the evolvement of talent management into a more strategic, data-driven and process-orientated field – a development that defined the capabilities that differentiate great leaders of talent management. That initial assemblage of talent is now being resolved with talent-oriented generalists and business-loving OE types acquiring the VP positions and learning, OD and leadership development individuals sub-specialized beneath them. It is believed that the key variable in the data accounting for this trend is that those who are learning disclose the fact that they are less interested in the success of their company and more concerned with helping individuals achieve their desired goals.