Cover Story Interview: Sonali Roychowdhury
Talent management today is as much a social process - Sonali Roychowdhury, Head - HR, Procter & Gamble
What are the key trends for Talent Management that you see today?In the current scenario and increasingly becoming stronger there are three major trends that I see shaping the talent management space: one is the overall talent management approach moving away from the traditional “checking the box” approach of competencies to more a social process, second is the increasing importance of the use of technology specially as an integrator of all the functions in Talent Management and finally the relevance of diversity in the talent management strategy going forward.
From my opinion, talent management needs to be understood as both a formal and a social process. Traditionally competencies have analyzed following a formal structure and primarily focusing on final results. Currently it is a formal structure process, one-fits-all approach. Today, that cannot work anymore, today we need to have a more targeted approach to be able to leverage the talent of different people vs. deselect those who do not fit a particular mould. Results are of course important but how are those results achieved is also becoming equally important; that’s why I think talent management today is as much a social process. The softer aspects of talent management will be the differentiators in the future. In P&G we look at the numbers, the results but also the way those are achieved. This focus on the process helps us identify skills that people have that otherwise could have been missed out. Our Talent review process includes senior leadership/mentors/managers observing the individual in a series of assignments/situations (Key meetings, Management interactions, accelerator experiences - often spanning years), from which they get intimate insights into 'how' results are achieved (Context in which the results were delivered, influencing skills, peer interaction, collaboration across different cultures, social intelligence, ability to form and sustain productive networks internally etc.). This is then converted into an actionable assessment of potential, and destination roles that the individual would be a good fit for. This results in customized talent plans for individuals and finds a fit for different skills throughout the organization. The Talent/Succession Management process of the future needs to seamlessly integrate both the above (the 'what' and the 'how') to grow the right leaders.
The second key trend is the use of technology to integrate all platforms in talent management. The use of technology today exists mostly in selection and hiring. Technology is not effectively utilized as it does not integrate all the pieces of the puzzle. In P&G we have invested in unifying information that is available in different platforms, for example we are going to be using technology in a very strong way to identify and utilize people more efficiently - the vision is to have a single End-to-End process which is then used to match talent and opportunities anywhere in the world. When looking internally for talent we need to know what skills are available in the organization and these information should be updated from the different touch points that talent management provides, from recruitment, to performance, to learning & development etc. This will become a large enabler for organizations going global, where at the click of a button multiple options can be thrown up.
Finally, diversity will continue to play an important role in the talent management strategy, specifically gender diversity. This is much talked about but I think results are not yet visible consistently. Companies will start looking at diversity, especially gender diversity in a big way as the business choice for accessing these talent pools becomes clearer.