The 15 Big Challenges Facing Talent Management in 2022

Francisco Loscos is associate professor at EsadeDepartment of People and Organization Management

The essential issue of talent management will be its ability to adapt to changes, both constructive and managerial, in order to achieve a vision that is closer and more connected to reality. Managing talent competitively today means, on the one hand, turning away from the unfortunate past we inherited in the form of HR policies based on strategic myopia and the prevalence of control over connection, and on the other part, to develop tools and make them available to artists, talented people, so that they can produce something new. From this postulate, 15 major challenges emerge:

The first relates to the idea that talent management must bear in mind that the new war for talent will not be determined, as its predecessor was, by the “scarcity” of the market, but rather by the inability of organizations to successfully address their “connection” in terms of context and with the business.

The second is to interpret that the the context is a playing field on which it is necessary to build the organization’s talent map, a playing field determined by constraints such as BANI (Brittle, Anxious, Nonlinear and Incomprehensible), which Never Cascio defines through paradigms aspirational such as Bauman’s ideas about liquid modernity.

The third issue concerns the ability to build the rules of talent from the point of view of cause and effect relationship in business models.

The fourth challenge is determined by the need to overcome the mistaken stubbornness in which organizations are rooted, to continue to manage today’s realities with yesterday’s instruments.

The fifth challenge is to correctly interpret and manage the “new balance” between organizational and personal needs.

The sixth is related to the collision that exists between the “limited supply of value” that organizations offer to people and the “insatiable demand for value” that partners place on organizations. This may prove to be the most complex challenge to manage in the times to come.

The seventh challenge revolves around the need to abandon the “unhealthy obsession” with retaining talent and the “absurd blindness” of continuing to work with and from career paths that are impossible to plan, and to transform. “retain” to “have in return”, by facilitating and encouraging talents to exit and exploit their development in the market, with the aim that they can return when cyclical needs, those of the company and those of the person, cause their paths to cross again .

The eighth challenge aims to prevent the need for diversity from overriding the need for uniqueness valueunderstood as the unique and differential value of each of the professionals who are part of an organization.

The ninth challenge is perhaps the most controversial, as it drastically addresses teleworking as an organizational model rather than motivation. Managing it as a motivating and/or rewarding factor is a big mistake that will certainly be the cause of later “organizational regrets”. Telework as an organizational model requires an objective reading of the company to people, and therefore of the value chain to emotional considerations, and to determine its use both by the type of “posts and jobs” and the type of “professionals”.

The tenth challenge is to break a historical prevalence of cultural orientations to process and power over those to results and people, and this can only be done by foster and develop scenarios of trust, scenarios that reduce complexity (Niklas Luhmann) and inject speed into organizational performance (Stephen Covey). Unfortunately, control is, in addition to an erroneous “cultural leitmotif”, also an absurd input which is used in an attempt to achieve the desired output (performance).

The eleventh challenge concerns the definitive integration of meritocracy as a decision-making metacriterion in talent management. I see this as a key issue for the necessary transformation of talent models. If the answer is not yes, we will undoubtedly be stuck on “Groundhog Day”. Compassion, fear, beliefs, “I think…”, “I have a feeling…”, “because I say so…” are criteria too often used in talent management.

The twelfth challenge is based on the following question: Who should adapt to whom? Business to people or people to business? In my opinion, the first option is an undesirable consequence of the Stockholm syndrome (“prisoners” of people instead of “pilots” of the business through people), in which the field of HR is always trapped.

The thirteenth challenge responds to a whole series of issues derived from a general question: Will we be able to properly interpret the new talent codes? And based on this, organizations are going to have to ask themselves if they are clear on all the keys to the talent formula, and if they are aware of the strength with which the keys associated with “live” and “connect”, and if they are aware of the exhaustion of certain codes such as know-how and experience and that in the talent formula the order of the factors effectively modifies the final result.

The fourteenth challenge concerns know how to intelligently use new alternative working methods, who are here to stay. The diversity of models linking talents (in form, in time and in different spaces) is beginning to be a variable with recognized strategic value. Talent as an “attraction” rather than a “role model” is going to become one of the great ambitions of organizational change, and from there, “hiring versus bridging” begins to emerge as the one of the most important dilemmas of the future.

The fifteenth challenge is underpinned by the idea of move away from the intuitive method of decision-making about people and replace it with fact-based analysis. Managing the entire talent flow (entry, learning, development, compensation, analysis and evaluation, and exit) through intuition and perception, and therefore with non-existent or very poor data, has ceased to be an act of heroism and became malpractice. As the British physicist and mathematician William Thomson Kelvin once said many years ago, “what is not measured cannot be improved, and what is not improved will always deteriorate”.

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