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Talent is an Asset?

‘Every organisation around the world is dependent on the talent that chooses to join it’

I said that to someone recently and they blinked and paused before we could continue. The reason was that their mindset was one of recruiting talent that met their needs and ‘letting it go’ when it didn’t. This mindset is prevalent around the world despite all the good words that come out in company values statements (I wish I had a $ for every ‘People are our biggest asset’)

A lot of time is spent on recruiting people to do specific roles and trying to match people to jobs that need done. People are selected and promoted base on many different criteria as each company tried out its own methodology to match person to post. We try and pin down the right person to the right role as a set of prioritised facts.

Yet companies change frequently, roles shift and move with the changes in the business environment. Structures change with new leaders and the demands on managers vary by every change in objectives. Ask any change agent and they will tell you that many of the people ‘restructured’ out of a business were once seen as performers or were recruited as ‘top talent’ or even head-hunted for a role.

They still have the skills and experiences that they came with (and should have added more). They still know what they did when you rated them. They can still do what you asked them to do when they arrived. So what has changed?

It’s a truism that we hire on skills and fire on attitude, but what is widely known but rarely talked about is that attitudes can be moulded by the company and the leader someone works for. Bright eyed talent with passion and enthusiasm can leave as jaundiced and jaded run of the mill employees. Sometimes it can be changes in their life outside of work but often it is the organisational environment that does it.

While talent is seen as an something that is bought and used and then thrown away, or as an asset just like those on your balance sheets (and remember you depreciate those) then there will always be ‘churn’ and ‘turnover’ within your business.

Look at it this way. You don’t need an engagement survey to know the level of commitment in your important relationships do you? You don’t need told that you need to invest in them either?

Perhaps considering your ‘talent’ as people that chose you and your business as much as you chose them would lead to a mindset of a mutually beneficial  relationship. It may change who you recruit in the first place and why you recruit them (want to live with someone you fall out with all the time?) And a shift to that paradigm might change everything in your organisation quicker than any restructuring.

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