Episode 1 - Talent Management

Episode 1 of the People Podcast with Cecilia Sandberg, Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer and Dorna Eriksson Shafiei, Vice President Talent Management is out now. Tune in and listen below.

A brief taste of what's included

With a research perspective as a starting point – is there a definition what talent is all about?

There are different research fields that touch on the topic of talent, including human resource management, learning theory and developmental psychology. Researchers that have consolidated the literature stress that the concept of “Talent” requires several key considerations: For example; What (competencies) or whom (person) is talent? Is talent born or developed? Does talent look different in different contexts or is it constant? Will you find talent in a small pool of people or in all of us? Is it motivation or competence that is most critical? How organizations choose to respond to these questions and define talent, has major implications for their talent management practices.

What are the different types of practices out there? 

Research refers to four broad types of talent management practices being conducted across organizations today; humanistic, competitive, elitistic and entrepreneurial. A conclusion from research findings is that best fit beats best practice- there is in other words no type that is better than the other.

Humanistic talent management 

In humanistic talent management the core belief is that everyone has talent and talent is grown through working with what motivates you and what makes you tick. It's an inclusive way of looking at talent and there is a belief that talent depends on context/role/situation. Key talent management practice for organizations with a humanistic approach to talent is development.

Competitive talent management 

This approach is based on the belief that there is only a few people with talent, talent is scarce and there is a war for talent. Talent is born and not contextually dependent. Key practice here will be to identify the lucky few.

Elitistic talent management 

With this approach you take it one step further- few people have talent, they are seen as the “crème de la crème”, and these people need to be nurtured and looked after. Selective recruitment practices to hire the best of the best naturally becomes the key practice in these organizations.

Entrepreneurial talent management 

Here the core belief is that we all have the possibility to become a talent if we have the right motivation and drive. Strong focus on resilience and grit as key components of potential. This is also seen as an inclusive view on talent although not saying that everyone has talent, rather that everyone has the potential to become a talent with the right drivers. Key talent management practices here will be career development.

Now that research is on the table, what is applicable for Atlas Copco?

Always difficult to apply one approach since there might be parts of each practice that would be applicable. However, the one that speaks the most for us is the entrepreneurial one. We believe that we all have the possibility to become a talent if we have the right drive and motivation. We also have a strong culture of everyone having the opportunity to put an idea on the table and the possibility to make the idea come to life. The leading practice in the entrepreneurial talent management spells career development. With our internal job market we are all given the opportunity to develop and explore further and that is core in our culture.

Let us explore further around natural talent with or without passion and drive. Can you rely on natural talent only or do you also need passion and drive? 

You probably need both and then we need to go back to the fundamental definition of “natural talent”- what is that and is there something as “natural talent”? It is also important to ask the question: Talent for what? Leadership? Deep expertise? Aligning on the answers to these questions will be important in any organization working with talent management...