Any organization thrives or fails because of its people. It is no wonder that so many highly successful organizations, like Samsung, Intel, IKEA, Procter and Gamble, just to name a few, invest in talent management. Talent management refers to “a set of integrated organizational HR processes designed to attract, develop, motivate, and retain productive, engaged employees” according to the staff at Johns Hopkins University. For organizations that carry out projects, talent management also means equipping team members with the right mix of technical, project management, and leadership skills, according to the authors of PMI’s Pulse of the Profession “In-Depth Report: Talent Management.” Here are four reasons why any organization that does projects should invest in talent management:
1. Talent management improves projects’ performance.
According to the authors of PMI’s “Talent Management” white paper, organizations that invest in talent management are more likely to succeed in projects than organizations where talent management is poorly aligned with organizational strategy.
2. Talent management means having the right people for the right project roles at the right time.
Effective talent management ensures the organization has qualified team members and project managers ready for any new project when the need arises. As such organizations will not have to wait to recruit new talent, and delay a project’s start, having the right staff available can turn into a competitive advantage.
3. Talent management leads to motivated, and thus productive, team members.
Giving team members the opportunity to grow professionally and personally by developing their technical skills, project management skills, and soft skills, and providing them with mentoring and coaching sessions can motivate employees. Of course, not all employees will take advantage of those opportunities, but those who do will become even more valuable for the project and the organization.
4. Talent management allows your organization to remain competitive and retain talent.
Successful companies invest in training and development of their employees. According to the same PMI white paper cited above, employees will be attracted by organizations with effective talent management initiatives, including with a defined career path and opportunities for expanding their skills.
Since talent management is HR’s responsibility, why should you as a project manager care?
Because effective talent management will ultimately benefit your project, not just your organization. As a project manager, you are responsible for resource management, which, according to PMBOK, implies developing the human resource plan, acquiring the project team, developing the project team, and managing the project team. But talent management goes beyond resource management. You can implement talent management within your team by:
- Creating talent—Through mentoring and training, even if it is on-the-job rather than formal training.
- Motivating talent—Through participative management and exercising leadership.
- Preparing future talent—Through knowledge sharing and mentoring.
As a project manager, recruiting team members is likely beyond your control. However, you can play an important role in managing resources assigned to you, ensure they remain on the team for the duration of the project, and ensure they bring their expertise to future projects.