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The Talent Management Handbook

Creating a Sustainable Competitive Advantage by Selecting, Developing and Promoting the Best People

by Lance Berger & Dorothy Berger

The Talent Management Handbook
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble

Better Way To Find and Manage Talent

In The Talent Management Handbook: Creating a Sustainable Competitive Advantage by Selecting, Developing and Promoting the Best People (Second Edition), editors Lance and Dorothy Berger, a husband-and-wife team of human resources consultants, have gathered an impressive group of consultants, researchers and academics to present a detailed overview of the issues and challenges related to the acquisition and development of talent.

The Bergers launch the book with their own Talent Management Model, which consists of three elements: 1) A talent management creed that explicitly articulates the core principles, values and expectations related to the performance and behavior of employees and leaders of the organization; 2) A talent strategy that defines the type of people in which the organization will invest; 3) A talent management system, which includes the procedures and processes through which the organization will implement the talent management creed and talent strategy.

From Assessment Tools to Powerful Metaphors

The Talent Management Model provides the theoretical framework on which the rest of the chapters elaborate. The book is divided into six parts.

The contributing articles in Part I cover the assessment tools needed to implement the Talent Management Model, including competency assessments, performance appraisals, career planning and succession planning.

Part II covers coaching, training and development processes that support a talent management plan.

Part III explores the issue of compensation.

Part IV addresses how talent management processes can drive cultures of excellence.

Part V looks at analysis and planning techniques.

The final section discusses some of the innovative thinking that can shape an organization’s approach for talent management. In one chapter in Part VI, University of Michigan professor Dave Ulrich and his collaborator Michael Ulrich argue that a "war for talent" metaphor mistakenly promotes a winners-and-losers mindset in talent management. The Ulrichs propose a "marshalling talent" metaphor based on the constructive, collaborative mindset of the Marshall Plan. In their article, they list 11 insights based on this collaborative metaphor. One insight, for example, suggests that competence models inside the organization — the knowledge, skills and abilities the organization demands of employees — should be aligned with the expectations of customers and other stakeholders outside the organization.

Drilling into the Details

The six parts of the book effectively cover the full breadth of issues and topic areas related to talent management. The Bergers have successfully created a complete and comprehensive handbook. Just as impressive as the breadth of this book is the depth to which the articles drill down into the widely varied subjects.

For example, in chapter 27, "Rewarding Your Top Talent," contributors Mel Stark and Mark Royal of the Hay Group offer several graphics to help readers grasp the full menu of rewards that can be applied to compensation. Stark and Royal also emphasize that effective compensation leads to real engagement by the employee — the employee is proud to work for the organization and willing to go the extra mile.

Effective financial compensation — "where the rubber meets the road," according to Stark and Royal — depends on a number of core elements working together. One of the elements is a clear and communicated philosophy and set of guiding principles for how rewards are decided. Another element is differentiation of salary increases based on performance. A third element is a variable pay plan that doesn’t confuse an incentive with a bonus, which is discretionary and given after the fact.

As with other chapters, there are no real world examples in Chapter 27. Nevertheless, the information just described takes up only nine pages of a 550-page book. And the other articles, written by equally authoritative contributors, are also packed in similar fashion with practical, concise tools and insights that talent managers can use immediately in any type of organization.

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