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Future Risk Management in Human Resources – Talent Management Essentials

Jan 15, 2019


  • EDITORIAL TEAM Talent Management Institute
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Future Risk Management in Human Resources – Talent Management Essentials

“The Future Started Yesterday,And We’re Already Late”
-John Legend

The singer may not have had talent managers when he sang the famous lines, but the relevance to modern day organizational risk management, especially in the case of personnel, is indisputable. Employee flight risk, especially of high performers, is the unspoken fear among all talent managers today, regardless of their experience or organization size.

Enter Future Risk Management in Talent Management – probably the most underrated function of talent managers worldwide. This is not succession planning – succession planning is but a by-product of a carefully crafted talent risk management mechanism. It is important to delve deeper into the intricacies that make up employee flight risk in the first place, and remediate it with adequate systems and processes to ensure adequacy in the entire talent flight risk management function.


Talent line-of-sight is essentially the permeation of the organizational vision and mission statement, and its continuous reiteration into your employee’s minds. It is important to make them realize exactly where they ‘fit’ into the entire contribution process for organizational goals. This lays the foundation for several initiatives and through constant communication, the hierarchy of decision making and the strategic goals of the organizations are drilled down into individual KRAs and KPIs. In addition to that, with talent risk management, the routine tasks are merged with a vision for the strategic growth goals of the organization and every employee has the ‘line-of-sight’ of the next planned milestone. Every employees knows exactly how to get to the next milestone and is encouraged by management to do so. An obvious consequence is better engagement, clarity in roles and functions, not to mention a high degree of loyalty to the company vision and mission. This is the talent manager’s first step in talent risk management.


The second pillar of the talent risk management function is the accurate analysis of existing talent gaps within the organization. Technical skills, soft skills, communication skills and a drive to outperform are coveted traits, and should be identified across departments, teams and functions. With adequate mapping of present talent available, vis-à-vis the existing gaps between the skills at par with industry benchmarks equated with those identified as missing within the workforce, the talent gap mapping can be successfully completed and presented for further consideration by senior executives and board/management buy in for the initiatives recommended for closing the gap.


When you don’t have it, hire it. This was the adage most human resources manager lived by, but in the modern era of the strategic talent manager, this is simply not enough. This must include the 5 critical aspects of talent acquisition in the 21st century: employment branding, attraction, candidate experience, device based constant outreach and bias free assessment. Easier said than done, in the era of AI. Employer branding and social media outreach will make your organization a buzzword of work culture and prospective talent must really be willing to stand in line to be considered. This is the ideal level of advancement that it should have. Follow this with the candidate experience phase, usually integrated with an automated, intelligent ATS and proper communication, will ensure a smooth transition to the next stage – device based constant communication – whether it is a message board on your ATS where prospects can connect, or a group you administer on social media, encourage communication; encourage expression and listen with care. Your prospective candidates will remain engaged until you begin their assessment process, where the potential bias kicks in.


Sure, diversity and inclusion are at the top of your agenda, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be for your hiring manager. For them, it could be a mere performance metric and industry network they seek. Even these situations are biased, nonetheless, and as strategic talent managers you have to make a conscious effort to educate the hiring managers not to allow common hiring biases like Affinity, Halo and Horns effects, Intuition and Expectation anchor to weigh down the hiring process. It must be responsive to the prospective candidate’s aspirations, in addition to adding the exact skillsets that you had earlier identified in the talent skill gap. In the digital age, you can integrate this with a constant, bilateral feedback mechanism that will ensure you get a balanced view of the interaction and are able to instantly identify if there was any bias in the candidate hiring process.


Now you have the skill gap identified and being worked on, and you have your employees understanding the vision and mission statement of the organization with adequate clarity in their line of sight and engaged enough to commit to achieving the company goals, but it isn’t over yet. Skills that are missing need to be instilled and successors need to be adequately planned. This should be based on constant assessments on performance, stakeholder relationships, leadership qualities and personality traits to actually form a flowchart with contingency plans and should be put in effect as soon as an employee puts down their papers. A detailed and well-crafted orientation, knowledge-transfer and even a dose of external coaching for the role should suffice in most cases.

And Voila! Risk Managed, Employees Committed, Successors in Place and Skill Development in progress. All in a day’s work for the modern smart talent manager leading the strategy of people in an organization driven by people.

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