Our fourth Branch Conference “Talent Management – Growing Your Own Success’
was held on 10th October 2007, at Trent Vineyard in Nottingham. The event was well
received by the 119 delegates and we extend our grateful thanks to our sponsors
and of course our nationally regarded speakers as, without them it would not have
been possible to hold the event.
As a reminder for those who attended, and to give those of you who were unable to
attend a flavour of the event, the Chair of each session has provided a brief report of
each workshop. We hope that you find these interesting and informative and that
they fire your enthusiasm for introducing a Talent Management initiative into your
Congratulations go to Karen Woodward of Quantum Clothing Group Ltd who was the
lucky winner of the Champagne prize draw organised by Rothera Dowson.
Best wishes for a prosperous 2008 to you all.
Talent Management Making It happen – Lynette Harris, Nottingham
The thought provoking session built on the opening Conference session presented
by Professor Carole Tansley which centred upon the findings from the CIPD talent
management research. Professor Lynette Harris was a member of the research
team and was able to provide a deeper insight into the potential considerations for
application by HR practitioners and organisations generally.
The session was lively and extremely informative and the questioning from the floor
provided evidence of how seriously the issue of talent management is for HR
practitioners currently. The aim of the session was to consider what the term `talent
management` actually meant, its role within an organisation and the contribution to it
from a wide variety of organisational stakeholders.
The main learning points were many and some are captured below
• The importance of an organisation having a `shared understanding` of the
what is meant by `talent` and `talent management ` , underpinned by
transparency and fully supported by senior management
• The type of contribution expected from different organisational level members
at different stages of the process
• The importance of ensuring talent management activities are linked to the
business strategy and other HR policies.
• A good talent management programme requires informal and formal
• The need for a coaching culture and the need to engage line managers
• Performance review is crucial as a core activity
• The need to ensure the principles of equality are addressed
• Individual ownership of personal development
Overall it is clear that talent management is a complex scenario with a wide range of
variables that interact with one another and providing yet another challenge for HR
practitioners to rise to!.
Succession Planning & Talent Management – Wendy Hirsh, IES
Wendy provided an excellent talk for the Conference that managed to take both a
strategic and corporate look at succession planning, whilst at the same time
providing some very down to earth tools and tips for implementation. The
presentation was relevant for smaller workplaces and all levels within an
Aspects she covered included; how to get buy-in from the business, how to select
which job roles to focus succession planning activities on, in order to maximise the
effect on the business, what a succession planning framework might look like and
what business principles and processes could be used to engage the audience and
bring it to life. There were practical tips for those new to the approach, and some
models to evaluate success.
Wendy ended her talk with audience discussions on where succession planning fits
into the wider HR Management toolkit and how it relates to Talent Management.
Pulling back team discussions into a final view of how both processes fit in terms of
shared activities and principles, and where they differ in terms of what they bring to
A very interesting and thought provoking session.
Liz Veasey and Carollyn McDonald
Leadership Development – Brigadier JE Richardson MBE, Commander
49 (East) Brigade
This was an interesting and interactive approach to the workshop and provided
workshop members with the opportunity to review and reflect on their understanding
of leadership within an organisational and situational context.
Brigadier Richardson drew upon the military background to leadership and from this
considered a number of leadership styles. From this a set of criteria was considered
which could describe the role attributes of a leader. Workshop members were then
asked to form into groups to provide examples of different types of leaders and then
to list to characteristics or virtues of leaders. Situation scenarios were then provided
for the groups to consider what actions could be taken and what leadership
characteristics were evidenced by this. The final part of the presentation was about
creating conditions for success for the leadership role and providing an insight into
the Officer Career Development Programme.
The learning points from the session included
• Leadership is made up of a variety of styles based on individual
• The situation/context is an important contributor in determining what type of
leadership is required.
• The importance of creating conditions for success ie
- Ability – knowledge and skills, behaviour and attitude, intellect
- Clarity – information and understanding
- Environment – infrastructure, systems, processes and leadership
The lively presentation and activity enabled workshop members to be highly
participative. The important message of the need for organisations to develop
leaders and recognise that there can be a number of different types of leadership
styles and that different and complex situational variables will require different
leadership approaches was clearly expounded.
Retention Of Talent – Karen Doores, First Bus (Midlands)
Karen presented two case studies of the approaches taken to investigate and
analyse the reasons for poor retention rates and discussed with delegate the
strategies put in place to reverse this trend. Improvements in retention rates were
attributed to identifying the links between being ‘an employer of choice’, demography,
organisational culture and the diversity of both customers and employees.
The session started with an overview of the impact of poor recruitment for
organisations and effects this can have on retention and ultimately the bottom line.
Karen explained the importance of understanding what challenges organisations
faced in order to turn around high turnover. Delegates were posed a number of
questions about the working population now and impact this might have for
organisations over the next two decades. This highlighted how much (or little as it
turned out) we knew in relation to unemployment in the region, the diversity of our
potential workforce and, key and basic skill shortages.
The impact of poor, ineffective recruitment practices on retention rates,
budgets and the bottom line.
The recruitment challenges faced by organisations in relation to corporate and
social responsibility, changing attitudes, identifying skill shortages and
The need to understand and appreciate the talent pool both internally and
Improving customer service by having a workforce that reflects and
understands its customers.
So how can organisations address retention issues? Karen provided an overview of
strategies implemented within the retail sector to do just that. Key outcomes of
reviewing their recruitment strategies meant that the company:
- had a more diversified workforce
- improved staff engagement
- vacancies were filled to timescale
- turnover down by 6%
- had a more stabilised workforce and business growth
Need to have clear recruitment, selection and retention strategies in place.
Identify how best to attract and select the right people.
Try to ensure your workforce mirrors the community it serves
Good retention strategies, learn from those leaving prematurely and identify
what remedial action can be taken
Be honest about the job role at selection stage / interview
Ensure training meets the needs of the both individual and job role
Reduce the ‘push’ factor / Improve the ‘pull’ factor (e.g. reward, development
and succession planning).
The second case study related to difficulties within the bus industry. Kanre explained
that in reality the issues faced included:
- low unemployment in the area
- skill shortages in bus industry
- high retirement rates due to age of workforce
- unattractive working conditions (hours, conflict / accidents and fatalities)
- high training costs for PCV licence
- high recruitment costs associated with advertising, pre-employment checks
- high absence rates
Actions were taken to:
- reduce advertising costs using range of creative methods
- improve succession planning and talent management
- develop a new training and development strategy for staff and managers
- established own training centres
The results meant:
- ownership by management of the problems
- improved succession planning
- increase in pool of applicants by training and recruiting from Poland and
Key learning points from the session were:
Improved processes can and will impact on the bottom line
Adverse effects can increase costs, loss of revenue and damage company
Positive effects can mean:
o becoming an employer of choice
o retaining talent
o having the competitive edge.
Managing Talent Through Community Involvement – Ann Cartwright,
Brook McNee Ltd and Anne Peeks, Common Purpose (South East
This session was in two parts
• Part 1, lead by Ann Cartwright, provided a brief overview of the Voluntary and
Community Sector as well as explaining how people could become involved.
• Part 2, lead by Anne Peeks, provided an insight into Common Purpose, a well
established process designed to “ Give Leaders the inspiration, the
knowledge and the connections they need to produce real change”.
• Ann Cartwright started off her input by explaining how large the Voluntary and
Community Sector was across the East Midlands and explained briefly how
organisations in the Sector functioned. It was clear from the information given
that the Sector was larger than most people realised – (1 in 70 of all East Midland
workforce works in the Sector).
• Ann then went on to explain the Roles and responsibilities of being a Board
Member and the potential contributions HR Practitioners could make to Boards.
She also outlined the benefits that could be gained from working as a Board
Member such as
o Developing Strategic Skills and Awareness
o Team Working
o Collective Decision making
• Ann explained that Board Members were expected to adhere to the Nolan
Principles of Public Life namely
It was suggested that as well as being “Principles for Public Life”, they could be
adopted by HR as the “Principles for Business Partnering”
• Ann finished her part of the session with a list of websites where people could
check out opportunities
• Anne Peeks, SE Regional Director for Common Purpose explained that she was
replacing her colleague from the East Midland at short notice so was not going to
use the slides prepare by her colleague, which provided a good background to
• Instead Anne asked for some volunteers and ran a brief interactive exercise
designed to get people to think about the following issues
o Where people lived
o What was good about it and why
o What wasn’t so good and why
o Who was responsible for changing it
• She then went on to explain about Common Purpose, which was stated 19 years
ago by a London Business woman who got feed up of attending meetings that
came up with fantastic ideas for potential bring about change locally but never
achieved it because people when back to their own place of work thinking
someone else would do it. From this she had the idea of bringing together
leaders and decision makers within a local community and getting them to work
on real issues – thence “common purpose”.
• The programme runs annually and brings together people from all sectors. It
gives them knowledge, insights and more importantly contacts relating to key
local issues such as Crime, Education, Housing, Health, Local Government. The
idea is that armed with this new knowledge, insights and contacts programme
participants will be energised to do something to make a difference in their local
• The Programme now runs in 70 cities and regions across the UK as well as in 6
The session ended with an opportunity to ask both speakers questions. During this
section, Ann Cartwright also gave the group some information about the Winston
Churchill Travelling Fellowships, which are awarded every year. (see
www.wcmt.org.uk for more information)
Assessing Talent – Christine Jones, Human Factors International
A total of 60 delegates attending these two workshops. Christine encouraged an
interactive approach and took questions and comments throughout her presentation.
Learning point 1
If you want to attract and recruit talent, use talent to do it.
Christine kicked off with a story of a global bank who had charged an individual with
their graduate recruitment programme, which had been less than successful. The
individual was not exactly a star and sadly for the bank had been selecting
candidates in their own image.
Learning point 2
Certain talent attributes are more critical in some roles than others
We looked at the different profiles of successful people in a number of roles. Talent
in some psychometric dimensions does not guarantee success in a different job.
Learning point 3
We sure you know what you want
Overall Christine felt that her clients had a good idea of their business success
criteria. If you don’t know this, beware of diving into psychometrics.
Learning point 4
The “right” psychometric profile is only part of the picture
Clearly the skill set is crucial and the individual’s values and behaviours are also
Learning point 5
Find ways for talented people to exploit their talent
We lose too many good technicians as they are forced up a hierarchy and leave their
Learning point 6
Be forward looking
Competency frameworks can develop clones demonstrating yesterday’s
Learning point 7
Encourage people to do the best with what they have got
Learning point 8
There are different kinds of wealth creators.
Not all wealth creators fit well in organisations. “Entrepreneurs” can rarely be
integrated successfully. “Enterprises” “Corporates” and “Experts” have different
attributes and motivations and can contribute in a variety of ways to organisational
Learning point 9
No one method of assessment is perfect. Use a variety of tools to get the full picture
Summary of questions
• Can people be trained to overcome personality traits which mitigate against
Yes, but up to a point, and it can be stressful to the individual.
• How good are people at self analysis/
Varies, some good, some very poor.
• How do you assess the validity of your techniques?
Two ways, checking differences in staff turnover and other similar
measures and concurrent validity studies, use current staff and ensure
that results from our methods agree with managers’ appraisals of
existing staff across the performance range.
• How do you assess contextual differences?
Using culture reviews and tools such as Kelly's Repertory Grid
Martin Cussons and Steve Richardson