Skill shortages drive talent management

Labor shortages have taken the issue of talent management into the boardroom, according to Melanie Laing, regional director of Human Resources for Unisys Asia-Pacific

Labor shortages have taken the issue of talent management into the boardroom, according to Melanie Laing, regional director of Human Resources for Unisys Asia-Pacific.

Speaking at a recent Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event, Laing said companies can see themselves either as victims of a labour shortage or create a sustainable business advantage.

“In this market, there is a compelling business case for the creation and development of innovative talent management programs because companies that do this well will rise above their competitors,” she said.

It was also important for talent management programs to be flexible, in order to address a wide employee demographic.

“A 25-year-old Generation Y employee hoping to quickly rise to a junior management position, has very different needs in terms of talent management than an employee with twenty years experience looking to move to a senior management role,”she said.

If companies operates across multiple regions, Laing said they must also take into account further cultural and language differences.

She cited mentoring and coaching as an effective way to tailor talent management programs.

“Mentoring and coaching is a key factor of talent management because it is the most personalised and flexible aspect since it is based on a one-to-one relationship,” she said. “Mentoring allows employees to test ideas, track progress, and learn from a senior manager. It is important to find a good match between mentor and mentee – when mentees are forced on unwilling senior managers the process is rarely successful.”

Senior management support was also critical to the success of talent development programs, she said.

“Senior management needs to buy-in to programs to make mentoring and coaching schemes successful, corporate strategies need to be clearly aligned with management development programs and most importantly, but often overlooked – senior management needs to allow employees time away from their normal tasks to participate in the programs.”

Citing Corporate Leadership Council research, she noted that Australia was lagging behind other countries when it comes to developing successful managers, and this will increasingly impact profitability.

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