Talent Management Changes Need to Be Carefully Considered

a businesswoman is set on a course that abruptly changes showing talent management changes should be thoughtfully made

Corporate change is never easy and, when it touches your entire workforce, you had better consider carefully how it will affect your talent management strategy. Will your top talent accept and adjust to the change or will it push them toward dis-engagement and perhaps to the competition?

IBM has recently made a risky move. It has mandated that thousands of its employees no longer work remotely but in set locations or they must look for another job. Wow! And this from a company that once upon a time was an early advocate of working remotely. Only time will reveal the impact of this decision.

We know that it did not work at Yahoo. Marissa Mayer’s similar edict regarding remote work resulted in worker disaffection with the company and a slow downward spiral for Yahoo that ended in its recent purchase by Verizon. But IBM and Yahoo are entirely different organizations with entirely different strategies and cultures. And this is the context of our discussion of talent management changes. When you as a leader are considering major changes, you should carefully consider if this is a good move to attract, develop, engage and retain talent for your unique culture and strategy…not about whether it is good or bad for other companies or other employees than your own.

Some experts cite Yahoo’s experience and predict doom for IBM. Yahoo’s motive was to bring people together and presumably enhance cooperation and innovation. Some skeptics say it was also about reducing headcount.  Regardless, Yahoo’s employees appeared to rally against the edict. They felt a significant loss of power and value.

But IBM’s workers may react differently. Their corporate culture seems to rely more on collaboration and appears more tolerant of a top-down approach. They may appreciate more structure to their workday and the greater opportunity to build strong relationships with their colleagues through more frequent face-to-face interactions. This is, of course, what IBM hopes for. The success of their move will depend upon how well they know their employees, how easily those employees accept this major shift and whether the change will strengthen or weaken their workplace culture. The upside is a more collaborative environment where open communication is supported and encouraged, a more engaged employee base resulting in greater productivity and an organization primed for future success.

Here is what we do know…

Our organizational alignment research found that talent accounts for 29% of the difference between high and low performing organizations.  The goal of talent management should be to create and sustain organizational excellence through people…attracting, developing, engaging and retaining the top talent that makes sense for your specific business strategy and your unique organizational culture.  When it is done poorly, as with Yahoo, unaligned talent management approaches can grind your company to a halt. When it is done right, as IBM hopes, effective talent management can differentiate your company from the competition in both good and bad times.

Want to learn more about Talent Management?  Why Talent Is Only 1/3rd of the Recipe for Success

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