Sukhpreet Swaran Sandhu Heads Global Talent Management- HRD at Denave and responsible for leading all HR strategic initiatives around learning & OD, compensation & benefits, performance management, cultural transformation, leadership development, career path, strategic HR business partnering, talent acquisition, and HR process enhancements for India, Europe, Malaysia, and Singapore regions.
Prior to this, he worked with Tolexo-An Indiamart Company, Moody’s Corporation, and Jabong wherein he had played a pivotal role in organisation building, effectiveness, strategic business partnering, and people development initiatives.
In a special conversation with Corporate Shiksha, Sukhpreet Swaran Sandhu, General Manager- Global Human Resources at Denave, shares his perspectives on Talent Management such as identifying talented employee amongst many, measures to deploy to retain top talent etc.
How do we identify a talented employee amongst many employees in an organization?
Identification of “talent” is a process worth investing. Organizations mostly focus on KPIs and competencies to make a foundation for key talent identification. Adding some softer and niche behavioural elements around the performance leadership area of quality, efficiency, and timeliness are core for any organization to consider while identifying key talent out of all employees- a well-designed virtual or hybrid assessment centre does wonders here. Methods may differ however these areas are progressive in nature and have significant impact on overall organizational effectiveness. How an employee moves the needle in bringing quality ‘the priority’ topped with highly efficient way of problem solving with no compromise on the timelines can give any organization its ‘real’ top talent.
Identification of “Talent” is a process worth investing
Like EWS for attrition, what can be some early signs shown by an employee that can define his success in his role?
- Going beyond the obvious: they don’t like to do things in traditional manner and have a high level of agility with right common sense and timing
- Challenging the status quo: they look for things done exceptionally better and take calculative risks for every step taken- they speak and voice things or question a decision with their well-thought through approach
- Fearless in owning the results: they are not only responsible, but also highly accountable for the deliverables and actions and they see problems to be fixed immediately with proactiveness
- Controlling their anger and egos: they take things calmly and demonstrate kindness to all no matter situations are difficult or easy
- Tolerating differences and conflicts: they respect differences, accept if they are wrong, and are willing to mould if others’ perspectives are correct
- Developing others: they start developing and empowering their immediate team members and peers by showing their excellent coaching and mentoring skills that help others assimilate within the systems well
- Having a bigger picture in mind: they have a clearly articulated plan to achieve the big picture, they are marketable, and above all they are ‘focused.’
What measures should be deployed to retain top talent (hi-potential) employees?
- Give them what they aspire: what most of the organizations don’t tap is the appetite of the talent for their career objectives. Capture their short-term and long-term career goals and link all plans with them, if not done it’s like serving chicken to a vegetarian!
- Focus on strengths: don’t just highlight what they need to develop. Flip the coin and see what their strengths are and where all they can be leveraged for their and organizational success. Growth happens when you leverage strengths appropriately.
- Communicate vision: potential can be best materialized when organizations communicate the vision and mission clearly and articulate in a such a way that a clear mapping is done with their career paths
- Recognise their contribution: not just an instant or delayed gratification can recognize efforts but also outline where their contribution is leading the organization to.
- Foster entrepreneurship: give them the autonomy to choose what they can best leverage and bring results for. Empower them to take the onus of the end to end process & delivery of any project they choose and work.
- Career Marketplace: give them enough internal opportunities to choose a career or role from the internal career marketplace. Identify your futuristic key roles and see where they can fit by leveraging their strengths- they may just not look for a vertical movement, they may desire to more diagonally- capture that right!
What are some challenges faced by HR while implementing talent management and development frameworks? How can those be handled?
More than the challenges, I would like to term them as roadblocks that may often make any talent management framework fall flat. Keeping in mind there is a heavy investment of time, capital, and resources in developing any framework, some of the “unexpected” elements can shake the foundation of it. While catering to it is not difficult, thought- invocation in all is something hold pivotal importance in the success of the frameworks/ models.
- Frameworks not being sustainable and agile: make them aligned to the organization’s future skills, roles, and vision. Make them synced with the DNA of the organization strategy and culture drivers. Invest in a good tech-enabled system that can make it more welcomed.
- Not enough comprehensive: a simple framework is understood by all- that hold true, the more it is complicated the more it creates challenge in interpretation. It should be made simple yet comprehensive which clearly states what to be achieved- should be mutually exclusive when it comes to capturing major themes.
- Complacent Behaviour of Business Leadership: one core reason of the failure of the framework is the complacency in leading it from a good start. Not only a right set of buy-in is needed, but also once the frameworks are ready this should become the talk of the town by the business leadership. A great start does not mean a great journey or end. A fair mindset shift from a fixed approach to growth approach solves the purpose.
- Poor Capability Building of Middle Management: have strong and robust cascading sessions designed for the middle management as they help their teams to understand and practice the frameworks better along with the HR folks.
- Unstructured compliance mechanism: not creating a compliance or process integration mechanism right at the time of implementation can really land organization in serious troubles. This blocks the way forward and key success factors for the deployment of the frameworks. Integrate all HR practices (wherever applicable) with the defined framework- build capability, have a development guides at place, and walk the talk what the framework demands.
What are the unique/ differentiating competencies required in a successful Talent Management professional?
- People Orientation: should be a compassionate change agent and must be considerate on the human aspect of the overall business transformation- must think from how an end-user would resonate with the changes and new ideas
- Process Orientation: should be open to accept failures, consider business and non-business outlook always, and incorporate industry trends well onto the projects that a TM professional looks forward to implement or change
- Performance Orientation: should be intuitive and logical decision-maker, utilize 5 Whys to make decisions even in absence of any detailed data, be a fire-fighter, if need be, to ensure seamless assimilation of identified deployments
And above all, just be YOURSELF, never lose your uniqueness!