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Managing talent with the Human Touch

A new hire, a seasoned and experienced professional, an intern or a contractual employee – across all these categories,  employee roles and responsibilities differ significantly. However, what remains common for all employees is the “Human Touch” rendered by different organisations through their well structured phases of engagement and grooming which gives Talent Management a whole new meaning.
The new mantra complied by the human resource managers these days, is to lead the talent path of its employees from “Good to Great”. The two-fold focus of “addressing problems” and “creating growth” has been central to all the organisational plans and their execution. This has led to a well defined Employee Life-Cycle with expected outcomes formulated clearly at every stage.

The snapshot captures the essence:

An essential pre-requisite to managing talent is acquiring talent and it is the “Recruitment” phase which takes care of that. Hiring after a rigorous process of screening and several interview rounds ensures that only the best talents make it to the firm. Hence, this is achieved through various platforms such as Connexions forum for referrals, Jobvite portal, College and Campus Connects and Partner Eco-Systems. The whole idea behind these initiatives is to create a talented workforce in an organisation which is ready to take on any challenge and go that extra mile to achieve the targets.

Once the employee has joined the company, it becomes essential that the feeling of belonging runs through and deep. The reason being, for any organisation to stay focused on its vision and achieve its mission, the employees should find not only their goals but themselves too in sync with the objectives of the company. This is where the crucial aspect of “Engagement” comes in. Establishing a strong cultural, emotional and physical connect lies core to every employee engagement initiative. Just to name a few, activities such as Kids Day out, team outings and lunches, Founders Day celebrations, conducted under the employee engagement forum, Live Wire, have not only fostered a long lasting bond with the employees in various firms but have also boosted team camaraderie.

While that is the fun bit, employee engagement tasks to acknowledge exemplary work, effort, intellect and dedication should remain in the fore-front as well. For example, many competitions are conducted internally in the offices through pop-ups on their computers or in other ways, wherein, the awardees receive iPod or iPad as gifts. The outcome of engaging employees is retention of talent and knowledge within the company.

As the life-cycle continues the maturity level of employees increase and so sets in the next phase of “Development”. Mere retention of talent has lesser value if opportunities are not provided to groom the skills learnt. Keeping this in mind, many companies designs a range of programs that aim to create internal leaders. With competitions such as Shadow Board and Hi-Pot War Rooms, participants are put to a grueling test of intelligence and practical thinking. The members, in teams as well as individually, propose practical and easy to implement solutions to the jury which comprises the Executive Leadership team. With the presence of iRise and Rotation policies that initiate rotation within job roles and promotions through Internal Job Postings; employees experience a wholesome grooming of talent and skill enhancement.

Providing the necessary opportunities for career growth makes the employee ready and leads to the last stage of the lifecycle which is to “Manage” the groomed employee. By this stage, an employee is capable enough to handle the different tasks assigned. As an incumbent organisation, it then becomes important to acknowledge and reward the hard work so that a performance driven culture is fostered.

With such practices in the organisations, an employee goes through key phases and human touch is never lost. For the strategically designed activities one should ensure that the employee is well supported and hence does not struggle but strives to achieve success.

The author is Ritu Mehrotra, VP global HR and talent management of Bristlecone, a Mahindra Group Company.

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