Talent Management: Top Three Challenges Leaders Must Address

By The HR Observer

In the context of strategic talent management and succession, Jeanne-Marie Bowman, Group Head of Talent at Al-Futtaim in the United Arab Emirates, identifies the key challenges faced by leaders in today’s dynamic and fast-paced business environment.

JeanneMarie-BowmanWith over two decades of experience in talent management spanning across a multitude of industries including pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, financial services, and high technology, Jeanne-Marie Bowman’s track record of success involves several renowned multi-national companies such as Dell,
Motorola, Novartis, and Freescale.

In the process, Bowman explains the top three issues most common to business leaders in the field of Talent Management:

1. Scaling and Managing Talent in a Rapidly Growing Business
Driven by bold advances and fueled by meteoric growth, rapidly growing businesses across the region are striving to manage their apotheosis.

However appealing it may seem, rapid business growth is accompanied by specific dangers and potential liabilities that can capsize a company just as quickly as having too little growth. “How does one prepare the organization to be capable to scale growth and be ready as the business grows?” asks Bowman, as she describes the risks and challenges faced by companies making the change.

Seeking to identify, recruit and retain key capabilities to deliver strategic aspirations, Bowman worked with her team to present a Talent Growth Agenda for Al-Futtaim. Focusing on the total employee life cycle, the agenda aims to Attract, Develop, Engage, and Retain talent in the organization. “We have really challenged ourselves as an HR team to think about the right solutions in each of those areas to support the growth,” says Bowman.

2. Reframing The Business Leader’s Role and Purpose
A growing number of today’s global business leaders have needed to adopt a different perspective on their role and purpose. A generation ago, the prevailing attitude was that it was the technical capabilities which served as the primary criterion when hiring leaders.

Fast forward to today’s business leaders and one can hear a different attitude being expressed: it is essential for senior executives to have a nuanced understanding of the major societal forces shaping the world, from leading, engaging, motivating, developing to even coaching others. “We are really working to clarify the expectations of leaders in a changing and dynamic business” says Bowen, as these capabilities become increasingly central to creating and adding value.

3. Attracting Quality Talent
Recruiting is no longer a static event. Thus, finding and hiring quality talent has never been more critical. In the past, Bowen explains that the most common KPI in Talent Acquisition was managing the cost of hire. With Al-Futtaim, she had been successful in keeping the cost of hire within benchmark levels due to internal recruitment and managing agency spending.

“But that is not good enough, for a business that’s growing as quickly and boldly as we are,” says Bowman. The focus has now been shifted on to two other metrics: Speed and Quality of hire.

Bowen’s traditional recruiting team has been transformed entirely into a Talent Acquisition function, as senior recruiters are prompted to consider the process from beginning to end, i.e from attracting and sourcing, to hiring and onboarding a successful integration of talent once employees begin their tenure.

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