Team Management Systems

Talent Trends as a Key Determinant of Success

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

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According to PwC Saratoga:

  • 25.8% of managers and 43.3% of executives are eligible for retirement within 5 years
  • Organizations have 1.5 succession planning candidates per key role, but is this enough?

Source: PwC Saratoga US Human Capital Effectiveness Report 2006/2007

Why is anticipating talent trends seen as a key determinant of success?

Talent management - attracting, retaining, developing and promoting outstanding talent - is one of the critical capabilities that will distinguish the successful company now and in the future.

The purpose of talent management is to assure that the supply of talent is available to align the right people with the right jobs at the right time based on strategic business objectives. But talent management is a lot more than yet another HR process. It is a mindset that goes beyond the rhetoric towards a holistic and integrated approach to leveraging the greatest competitive advantage from people. Talent management is about those thoughts and actions that, consistently, over time, become organizational culture.

Talent management is more than something to do, it is something to be, a way of working and achieving both short and long-term success. It is a belief that talent differentiates organization culture and breeds competitive advantage, with benefits for both the individual and the organization. Furthermore, the talent mindset is not just another HR fad. It is embedded in the entire organization - championed by the leadership, modeled by the management, supported by a range of initiatives jointly developed by the business and HR.

How can organizations address changing talent needs?

We at PwC see talent management centered around three areas: finding it, winning it, keeping it. CEOs cite the availability of the right talent as one of the major challenges they face. As organizations compete on an increasingly global stage, they are having to think hard about how, and from where, they can find the talent they need.

The people dimension is often missed from the strategic planning cycle - yet skills and talent availability is likely to be critical to achieving strategic goals. A plan that promises a high level growth over a five-year period, for example, should also reflect the number of people who will be required to deliver that growth, and critically where and how they will be recruited. All too often this is overlooked.

Our experience shows that there are three immediate actions organizations should be taking to find, win and keep talent:

  • Creating the right incentive model is an important starting point
  • Managing talent mobility in terms of grade and type of experience
  • Having a clear understanding the financial value of your talent

Understanding and measuring people effectiveness is critical for the company to achieve its business objectives...

A further dimension of the people agenda - the effectiveness of the people organization - has been the subject of considerable debate. Today people - at up to 70 percent of overall costs - are often the biggest expense for the organization. Yet, by and large organizations do a much better job of measuring their physical assets than they do measuring the impact of people on business results. Few organizations have achieved truly global and real-time people measurement capabilities.

What are the key challenges faced by organizations in implementing 'people strategies'?

The key challenges faced by organizations in implementing people strategies are:

  • The Right Talent
    Once thought of primarily in terms of cost, people are now being valued as rich sources of talent, skill and diversity, which are critical for success. Yet, 70 percent of CEOs surveyed in PwC's annual CEO Survey indicated they lacked the right talent in their business to be able to execute their plans.

  • The Right Behaviors
    People can create value, but they can also destroy value. People behavior has been the major contributing factor in most of the organizational collapses we have seen over the last decade. It is people who deliver strategy and change, not systems or processes.

  • Measuring Effectiveness
    Today people - at up to 70 percent of overall costs - are often the biggest expense for the organization. Yet by and large organizations do a much better job at measuring and ensuring the effectiveness of their physical assets than they do measuring the impact of people on business results.

How can you measure the value and impact of talent?

Understanding the financial value of talent is important, particularly in order to understand the impact on your business of losing that talent. How good are your retention rates? How does this compare to the competition? And what are the real costs of replacing talent who leave? Few companies are measuring talent in this way, but we have the data within PricewaterhouseCoopers to help companies quantify the value of their human assets.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has a sophisticated human capital measurement model - Saratoga - which can access data from over 20,000 companies worldwide. On a daily basis our People specialists are working with companies to understand and interpret the 'human impact' of their organization and how this benchmarks against the market and competition.

PwC Saratoga have developed a suite of 10 metrics to enable organizations to benchmark the performance of their own talent management systems by looking at measuring identification, attraction, retention, development, and use of talent. We are currently working with clients to develop these further.

Some results are shown below. This uses 10 metrics to assess data from approximately 300 organizations from all sectors across Europe. The findings illustrate the recommended percentile positioning that would reflect effective talent management. So, for example, organizations should aim to be in the highest quartile (i.e. 75th) for human capital ROI (i.e. 1.36 or above), the bottom quartile (i.e. 25th) for talent resignations and the highest quartile for internal promotions (i.e. 75th).

Here is PwC Saratoga's recommended percentile positioning that would reflect effective talent management...

PwC Saratoga's recommended percentile positioning that would reflect effective talent management

How do Team Management Systems tools fit into the strategic levers used to build a talent platform?

Examples are provided below:

  • Job Design (Job Enlargement, Job Rotation and Job Enrichment)
    Using the Types of Work Wheel has helped identify areas for job rotation, enlargement and enrichment on several client assignments where; for example, a factory employee has been recommended to work for one day in assembly and then work the next day in inspection as recommended by the outputs of his Types of Work Profile (TWP). The combined output of the Team Management Profile (TMP) and the Types of Work Profile has helped identify multi-skilled employees who can benefit the employer by providing a wider pool of skills to benefit multiple staffing possibilities. Hence this has opened the door for job enlargement for some employees (adding responsibilities and tasks that require the same level of skill) or job enrichment for others (increasing the depth of jobs by adding responsibilities such as planning, organizing, controlling, and evaluation) as recommended by their Team Management Profile and their Team Management Profile/Types of Work Profile match.

  • Succession Planning
    Using the Linking Leader Profile (LLP) in conjunction with the Linking Leader Model provided by Team Management Systems has been instrumental in highlighting the needed leadership characteristics required for the next-in-line leaders or "fast-trackers" as well as identifying behavioral training requirements that would bridge competency and performance gaps.

    Due to the fact that the Linking Leader Profile uses a double-scale rating in its solicitation of feedback (an importance rating and a satisfaction rating), we have been able to prioritize development areas for career planning purposes and to create agendas for achieving needed results.

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

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