Mar 17, 2011

Talent Management and Knowledge management - what's the link



Yesterday I was invited by a Delhi based MBA college, IILM, to deliver a talk to the students on Talent Management and Knowledge Management.

My first response was "What's the connection? They are fundamentally different approaches, Talent Management is figuring out who your top performers are and how to empower and grow them. Knowledge Management in the traditional sense is "extractive" in nature. It wants to find out what your people know and attempts to "capture" that." (note: When I say KM, I focused on the first generation of KM)

So here are the key points I shared with the students:


  • Talent Management is not really about managing people's talents - but about assessing, finding, developing your top performers. 
  • Traditional HR is silo driven , and Talent Management calls for a structural change in the way HR processes are delivered to these top employees.
  • An over-focus on Talent Management might make the average and good players disengaged.
  • In some way, Talent Management becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You choose a group of people, tell them they are better than the rest, and give them differentiated inputs. 
  • The concept of "Talent" originated from sports, however in organizations, performance is contextual to the business, processes, team and industry. 
  • Talent Analytics is one of the fastest growing aspects as organizations want to understand with data which people are going to perform and who is not when put into a role.
  • I suspect Talent Management approach will replace HR, as organizations will say "if we can do this for high performers why can't we focus on all employees" - and that would be driven by technology.
When the turn came to focus on Knowledge Management
  • The "extractive" nature of KM 1.0 ensured it didn't succeed. People didn't see meaning and sense in it.
  • The focus to KM 2.0 is by using enterprise social tools to enable employees to connect with and engage each other to create collective knowledge. 
  • KM2.0 will succeed when it adds value to the employees as well as the organization, when more than the usual creators are involved.