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Focus on talent not best practice, CEOs advised

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Businesses should pay greater attention to sourcing and nurturing talent, rather than adopting so-called best practices that may not suit their company model.

That is according to a white paper called Tune in to Talent by Anna Marie Detert – talent leader at professional services firm KPMG.

The danger of such an inflexible approach, Ms Detert says, is that companies do not invest enough effort into managing and sourcing talent as they tend to copy the latest “fad or fancy” without thinking carefully about whether it will in fact benefit their business.

“All too often, companies dive straight in, implementing the latest best practice recruitment, development or performance system or process. Instead, they need to stand back and ask some searching questions about what talent their particular business needs now and in the future,” she said.

In the paper, Ms Detert identifies key groups of questions that HR teams should ask when looking for and nurturing talent within shared offices or among mobile working employees.

One such question is what kind of specific skills employees need to have in order to help the company succeed? Furthermore, how many staff members are required and where should they be based?

Finding the right people to take up particular tasks and fill job vacancies should be at the top of a manager’s list. In addition, a stronger focus on staff retention is also important in this day and age when today’s workforce is more international, flexible and virtual, Ms Detert advises.

Too often, organisations make plans for tomorrow based on the people they have and the situation they are in today.

However, companies are advised to fast forward to the future and think about where they see themselves a few years on. This means strategic workforce planning is recommended with a focus on the talent needed to make plans become a reality.

Taking a cold, hard look at current processes and technologies, and being prepared to radically evolve them to meet the needs of the next generation of employees, is also suggested by Ms Detert.