Benefits and Compensation

When Your Hammer Is Your Screwdriver—Talent Management

To do that, sometimes you have to use a hammer as a screwdriver, he says. Katz made his comments at BLR’s Strategic Leadership HR Summit, held recently in Scottsdale, Arizona. Katz is president of Penguin Human Resource Consulting LLC.

When Is a Hammer a Screwdriver?

Katz shows a picture of a hammer and asks, “What’s this?” “It’s a hammer,” everyone answers.

“It’s a screwdriver,” he says. He was once involved in a construction task where the professional carpenter showed him that it was easier and better to drive the screws with a hammer than with a screwdriver.

That’s all to say that you have to look carefully at your tools and how you are using them, Katz says. You find the needs of your organization and figure out how to use your tools to meet those needs.

How Will You Know You Have It Right?

To find out if you have the right system and if you are using it right, ask yourself, “What will I see when the system is working completely and correctly?”

      • Improved performance?
      • Higher retention?
      • Lower job vacancy rates?
      • Smooth succession?
      • Higher productivity?, now thoroughly reved with easier navigation and more complete compensation information, will tell you what’s being paid right in your state—or even metropolitan area—for hundreds of jobs. Try it at no cost and get a complimentary special report. Read more.

Talent Management: Getting It Right

Talent management helps support company goals, keeps actions in line with company values, and boosts morale, retention, and engagement.

The impact of not doing talent management well is broad and negative, and there’s a long list of effects, like lower productivity, but when talking to the C-suite, keep it simple, says Katz. It’s all about dollars lost.

And it’s about lowering the risk of litigation, says Katz. Management needs to know that litigation risk is great enough that “it could actually shut us down.”

Who’s Responsible? Not HR!

Whose responsibility is talent management? Managers are responsible for managing talent, not HR, says Katz. HR is in at the beginning and at the end. Beyond that, HR staffers are collaborators, says Katz. The word “collaborator” is important, says Katz. HR is not in a support role but in a collaborative one. HR is like oxygen, says Katz. You can’t see it, but if you take it away, you suffocate.

Talent Management” sounds so positive, Katz says, but you still have to deal with poor performance. Unfortunately, in a lot of companies, about 80 percent of the development time is spent trying to get the poor players up to mediocre.

That effort will yield results, says Katz, but not very impressive ones. He estimates it might yield a 5 percent improvement in productivity. But spending 80 percent of your time on the poor performers also means you’re ignoring your HiPos (high potential workers). Katz pointed to studies that have shown that you get up to four times as much productivity from your best people than you get from your poor performers.

Clearly, time spent identifying and developing HiPos will boost overall productivity much more than time spent with poor performers.

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What Does Talent Management Include?

Katz, with help from his audience, came up with the following list of components of talent management:

      • Applicant tracking
      • Learning management and development
      • Succession management
      • High potential identification
      • Discipline
      • Compensation benefits
      • Employee portal
      • Performance management
      • Mobility
      • Development
      • Retention
      • Relationship management

Can a System Manage Talent?

Can you trust a system with your talent management? No, says Katz. There is no one system that does everything, but the right system can be a helpful tool.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, Katz on year-round talent management plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website,

5 thoughts on “When Your Hammer Is Your Screwdriver—Talent Management”

  1. Barb,
    When managers are reluctant to assume the responsibility to manage you need to find out why. Those who say they are too busy, usually using an excuse such as they are doing their “real work”, as if managing was not part of their job, may have problems delegating. Too many managers get promoted for their technical expertise and have no idea how to manage people. You need to get at the root cause of their reluctance. Perhaps they were never trained how to manage, or maybe the person is emulating a previous manager of their own. In that case how well they manage is based entirely on their role model, and they may not have picked the best one. Investigating the reason for their reluctance is the first step in addressing it. Too many of us fall back on, “Well, maybe he’s just not a good manager.” But what you do about this conclusion makes all the difference. Good luck with this, it isn’t easy.
    Only the best, Ron

  2. Amy Coniglio – Jonathan~All Ross & I can say is WOW’! Thank you so very much for capturing our weiddng day and we are SUPER excited to see the rest of the photos. You are incredibly talented and the way you photograph using your artistic eye is amazing!Five gold stars to you!!!!Ross & Amy

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