Talent Management Summit, London, UK, June 9, 2011

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 18 October 2011



Tullett, D. (2011), "Talent Management Summit, London, UK, June 9, 2011", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 10 No. 6. https://doi.org/10.1108/shr.2011.37210faa.012



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Talent Management Summit, London, UK, June 9, 2011

Article Type: Resources From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 10, Issue 6

At the Economist’s annual Talent Management Summit in June, called “Leading with Purpose”, the thread that linked each of the sessions was the link between human resources or talent strategy and achieving business objectives. The speakers were mainly drawn from multi-national organizations that, in aggregate, represent hundreds of thousands of people employed around the world in industries as diverse as catering and space travel.

1 Varying approaches to inclusivity and diversity

One of the interesting consequences of the speaker line-up was that among such heavy weight global talent management practitioners, opposing strategies emerged, particularly with regards to inclusivity and diversity.

Cisco cited inclusivity as a pillar of its strategy to get the best from the team. Rather than focusing and celebrating differences, it favors treating everyone the same so that they all feel equally valued and included. Aviva on the other hand aligns its employee value proposition with its customer value proposition to ensure synergy between what it is promising its customers and how it treats its employees. It manifests as everyone needs to feel valued, which is expressed as “no-one recognizes you like Aviva” celebrating individuality.

2 Leaders developing leaders

Leadership behavior was another key theme, both how you influence and reward the senior team in terms of taking a global approach to talent. “Leaders need to develop leaders” according to Tata, which celebrates leaders who are net exporters of talent in each of its regions. Talent rotation helps to develop leadership (according to both Cisco and Tata), as well as the more obvious benefits of enriching international and cultural experience when it is combined with postings abroad.

It was felt that encouraging leaders to develop other leaders also facilitates a break from the bad old habits of command and control leadership.

Values-based leadership also came through strongly on the day’s panel discussions. Leaders at Standard Chartered are encouraged to embrace the company’s five values through their behavior. These include story telling using their own experiences and the learning they have been through. Standard Chartered’s performance rating system is based on how someone is perceived by themselves and others against these values.

3 Innovative programs

Other themes that came up frequently were embracing social media to help with hiring and mentoring, particularly among Generation Y. One interesting fact that emerged from the day was a CEO who is mentored by a 22 year old on his staff to ensure he has the Gen Y perspective on tap.

The Fifteen Foundation, which runs restaurants in London and Cornwall, offered a very un-corporate social enterprise perspective on the subject of involving stakeholders (in their case suppliers) in talent development. Fifteen Foundation’s apprentices get taken on fishing trips by their suppliers and more generally they listen to their apprentices and try to take into consideration what they want and design a path to help them achieve their goals.

4 Knowing your strengths

And aptly in summary, when it came to the subject of having the right leadership pipeline in place to deliver the strategy, what came through was a very measured belief that in terms of development objectives, not all skills need to be present in everyone, particularly not the CEO – rather the top team needs to be balanced to reflect the company’s needs and people should be allowed to play to their individual strengths. All we would say on that subject is be certain you really know what those strengths are – get some professional external help in board evaluation and assessment.

Dave TullettDirector, Leadership Innovation Centre, Heidrick & Struggles.

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