Tuesday, 21 October 2008

HR Departments - do they need to be exemplars of talent-management best practice ?

Imagine the following scenario:  

You have recently moved into a small town with two hairdressers/barbers.  Each week you walk past both salons.  One individual always has immaculately cut hair, while the other looks clearly pays little attention to their appearance.  Both are fully qualified, with plenty of certificates on display in their premises.

  • Which would you choose to cut your hair just before you go for an important job interview?
  • To what extent would other factors (price, waiting time, customer feedback …. ) influence your decision ?


“In a knowledge economy, companies with the best talent win. And finding, nurturing, and developing that talent should be one of the most important tasks in a corporation.” FAST COMPANY, 2005

Hence, to what extent is it important that senior HR professionals manage their own departments as exemplars of talent-management best practice?  

Does this build credibility and trust with business leaders, enabling HR to style the organisation-wide people-strategy? Alternatively, is this viewed as diverting effort from supporting the core business agenda?

I doubt there are clear answers to these questions.  Equally, I feel that it would be helpful for the HR profession to invest more time in understanding this issue.  We should aim to research which elements of talent-development best-practice are best ‘sold’ to leaders through how we manage the HR department, versus using economic (ROI) arguments; just-in-time relevance, or (iii) client feedback from pilot projects.


I’ll be interested to hear your views on this.