Written by: Tim Saumier, CEO
Back in May I introduced something called the Integrated Talent Chain (ITC) and have written about different aspects of it through a five part series (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV) over the past few months. This final commentary on the ITC is centered upon the true process owner. Something I like to call the Chief Talent Officer. Taking you back a month ago: I was putting the final touch-up of part four when a client reached out requesting our assistance in recruiting a VP of Human Resources. The irony of this is they wanted to hire a non-traditional HR professional to be the right hand of one of their divisional president’s. They got to this place after admitting they had a misstep in the previous hire. The reality was they hired a traditional HR professional expecting them to do something they were not trained or wired to complete. They hired what most of us would expect in an HR professional while the competencies/expectations of the new hire were quite different. They needed someone who will provide a much greater focus on the overall business. Someone who will bring true strategic input and execution as well as process orientation. They ultimately want someone that has owned a P&L and can be the bridge between the strategy and the people who execute the strategy. This is a good first step to moving towards hiring the ITC process owner.
I’ve had a few people tell me that I’m bashing HR professionals. That is not my intent. I do believe there are some wonderful HR professionals out there but what I’m describing is not an HR role but rather a new type of role – Chief Talent Officer (CTO) who owns the entire process and is the ultimate “poster child” when it comes to representing the employment brand both to existing associates as well as those you are recruiting. They are outgoing, gregarious, and have a true understanding of the business and the impact that an engaged associate, or for that matter a disengaged associate, can have on the business. Most HR professionals I know are good at administering policy versus capturing the hearts of people that lead to business results and associate satisfaction.
We as a society have tried to turn these people in to something they have not been trained to do.
Does it mean they can never change? I’m not saying that but what I am saying is that it is difficult. One thing I would recommend is that if you have a solid HR professional who has potential, give them a line role and let them prove it as well as learn some things. This is way outside of most leaders comfort zones but this is how you put up or shut up. The new role will provide the person with a different set of lenses to see the world through.
Over the next few years, you will see this CTO role break out and become one of the most important roles in the organization and I believe will make or break a company as the talent pool continues to shrink. Who are these people and where do they come from? Ideally they come from inside the company. They are a high-potential who is greatly respected, has an outstanding attitude and the type of person you not only enjoy being around but they get things done. I know what some of you are thinking – I know this person and we can’t afford to pull them out of their current role. You can’t afford not to pull them out of their role in my opinion. I’ve heard for the past decade that “people are our most important asset.” Well here’s the time to show it with more than words. Take your best athlete and put them in this role and watch them flourish and watch your company change for the better. Do you want a “competitive weapon” – this is it.
This is one man’s opinion on the Integrated Talent Chain. I’d love to hear your feedback – good and bad. I’m not sure what I’ll be talking about next month just yet but I’m sure it will build out from the ITC.
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