Team Management Systems

Team Management Systems and Talent Management: A shift in mindset

By Niam Sinno
Copyright © Niam Sinno. All rights reserved.

E-mail this article to a friend or colleague E-mail this article to a friend or colleague

"Talent management strategies must be built around the things that generate the most value and matter most to employees." Deloitte POV1

Of the two following views, which is nearest to your own situation?

  1. My job is interesting, demanding and challenging. It suits the way I like to work.
  2. My job is a means to an end. I do it because I need to earn some money, not because I enjoy it.

If you agree with the first view, then it is likely that the demands of your job and your work preferences are closely aligned, unlike those in the second person's view. Work preferences are key factors governing the work interests of you and others. They impact on the way we do our jobs, and why we search out certain types of work and avoid others. They influence the extent to which people will stay in a job and give of their best. They are powerful emotional factors that managers and organizations need to be aware of and manage.

The talent crunch

According to recent nationwide research, 39% of Australian employers said 'staff development and retention' was their organization's leading priority for the year2.

While critical talent is on the decline in several industries and economies, many organizations are on the hunt to acquire and retain external talent. However, the average cost to acquire an employee is expensive, and new candidates can take a year or more to master their jobs. Therefore, focusing on acquisition alone can be expensive and shortsighted.

More typical retention strategies can also be problematic. Often, they are driven by simple metrics, such as turnover. But while the churn may fall from 10-5%, it can obscure the fact that the most valuable employees are pouring out the door. What's more, the numbers say nothing about why people leave. Organizations ignore the things that matter most to employees.

So, what are the important drivers of staff engagement?


According to Deloitte Research, "Organizations must concentrate on the things that employees care about most:

  • Developing in ways that stretch their capabilities,
  • Deploying onto work that engages their heads and hearts,
  • Connecting to the people who will help them achieve their objectives."

Job analysis

I discovered new dimensions to Deloitte's Talent Management framework by combining their core Develop-Deploy-Connect Model for Talent Management along with the Team Management Systems (TMS) Types of Work Profile (TWP) and the Team Management Profile (TMP).

The Types of Work Profile is a job analysis instrument which analyses a job in terms of the eight work functions from the Types of Work Wheel. The Profile calculates, in percentage terms, the criticality of each Types of Work function in the nominated job. The highest scoring Types of Work functions define the critical aspects of the job - those activities that make the difference between good and poor performance. Research by Team Management Systems shows that very few jobs will have all eight functions as being critical to success.

I used the Types of Work Profile to aid the creation of new jobs, as well as to organize existing ones. For new positions it gave the key stakeholders a common language to clarify the critical functions before recruitment. If there was disparity in views, this could be discussed so that the new incumbent was given a very clear picture of expectations. The Types of Work Profile helped achieve better role clarity, which is a recurrent issue when investigating under-performance.

Job-person fit

We all know the maxim 'put the right people in the right jobs at the right time'. People don't leave their jobs because they can't do them; they generally leave because they don't like them. Usually people practice what they prefer and therefore perform better in those areas that match their preference. If we match the skills, knowledge and work preferences of people with the required job outcomes, motivation is maximized, which impacts positively on employee engagement.

The next challenge was to identify ways we can retain talent. I combined the Types of Work Profile (TWP) with the Team Management Profile, to identify individual work preferences and management development potential. I used Deloitte's core model to identify the Critical Workforce Segments or CWS - segments of the workforce that drive current and future growth. I combined those findings with the results of the match between the individuals' Team Management Profile and the Types of Work Profile to focus on the things that employees care about most: development in a way that stretches individual capabilities, deploying into work that engages their heads and hearts, and connecting with the people who will help them achieve their objectives.

Beyond talent management, Deloitte used Team Management Systems (TMS) tools to address a range of organizational needs such as performance analysis, leadership development, assessment and development centers, as well as setting up cross cultural teams.

Before deciding whether to use TMS for a particular situation, a preliminary assessment of the service need itself was done. We looked at basic areas such as the tool's integration with the business, time, and cost involved. The service need indicators were numerous. Whether external (for a client) or internal (within Deloitte), the situations that called for TMS could be anything from a simple change initiative or a complex change management process.

The TMS tools added value to identifying and sustaining a high-engagement workforce by allowing us to gain better clarity, both at the organizational and individual level, of the actions needed to retain our critical talent. By developing, deploying, and connecting people the right way, we could raise their performance and the performance of the entire organization to a new level.


1 Deloitte Research & Publications, (2004), Point of View 'It's 2008: Do You Know Where Your Talent Is?'; 'Why Acquisition and Retention Strategies Don't Work'.
2 As above.

Copyright © Niam Sinno. All rights reserved.

Niam is a Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers and currently leads People and Change consulting practice in Qatar. Her 14 years of consultancy experience include extensive organizational development work spanning a broad range of consulting areas such as organizational design, performance management, leadership development, talent management, executive coaching, change management, facilitation, moderation, and intervention, succession planning, competency design, balanced scorecards, and executive workshop design and delivery. She has worked with international clients (UK, France, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, North Africa, South Africa, and Lebanon) as well as US-based clients. Niam occupied the role of North Central Human Capital Champion for Deloitte US Firms during 2006-2007 where she acted as a core team advocate leading for the Avian Influenza preparedness and response in coordination with the White House in Washington DC. Niam is accredited by the British Psychological Association and has over 16 publications in the field of organizational development, succession planning, and talent management planning. Among Niam's key clients are: Eli Lilly Suisse SA (Indianapolis), AllState Insurance (Chicago), Center for Disease Control (Ohio), Disney (Florida), Bank of Khartoum (Sudan), Dubai Islamic Bank (UAE), MTC (Kuwait), InterContinental Hotels Group (London), University of Iowa (Iowa), Johnson & Johnson (New Jersey), UNDP (Lebanon), Qatar Foundation, and Qatari Diar (Qatar).

For more information please contact Niam at

  • Featured Product
    Games TMS People Play Games TMS People Play