Talent Management Vs Talent Farming

Today IT companies are looking upon Talent Management as one of the areas which is of huge focus. Functions like Recruitment, Training, Performance Management, Career Planning, etc are looked upon as critical areas within organization for its continuous growth and stability. In my more than a decade’s experience I had the opportunity to interact closely with different corporate and businesses. I could see the models that all of them had, to “Manage” talent in their organization. There was a lot in common in terms of processes in practices. And in that commonality, I could see a piece that was mostly the weaker part of the overall exercise, ‘building’ bigger talent within your organization from the existing talent ‘seeds’ that you have, the one that I call as “Talent Farming”. Organizations have been mostly focused on “managing” and little has been done towards “farming”.

Because of the gap in the focus that the industry has, there has been a lot of consequential results. Need of having the ‘right’ people for a job was always addressed by external ‘hiring’ since organizations were not prepared well to ‘farm’ people/talent within the organization. This led to attrition in the other corner of the industry, and created a vicious cycle. Added to that was the rise in expectation of individuals which further fueled the problem. Also the loosely handled ( in most cases ) training programs conducted in the organizations, which have a lot of subjectivity in defining their utility to the organization. Even the trainers took it with low accountability. No doubt, IT companies have a focus in terms of budgeting $$ for learning of their employees, but it is handled with little accountability at the individual levels. Few organizations which have been able to, define accountability for learning at right levels, have been able to accomplish what I call as ‘seasonal’ farming where a project or subject specific training yields learning and is utilized appropriately in favor of organization. To have the ability to farm talent in your organization one needs to institutionalize Learning as a culture in their people. That way you would have the ability to cater to any need that demands the ‘right’ person. You would know how to create one from your existing people.

We at Walking Tree handled a lot of Training program for our Client Companies delivering Trainings on different technologies and subjects. We executed the programs as the clients’ recommended which was mostly as per the industry practices. We also used to have training programs for our own people @ WTC. At some point we realized that the approach that we had taken to build ( read ‘farm’ ) people @ WTC, was more than different from the ones that were recommended usually by our clients. We started applying creativity to our Training Programs and came up with suggestions for our few Trusted customers. The results that we saw were really beyond what the customer would have ever expected. The managers started feeling much more confident about their team’s capabilities and Individuals realized the value of learning and spreading themselves into different directions. The Learning Sessions became more and more interactive and the followup sessions demonstrated true elevation of skills and talent in the group.

So, at the end, I would say that once organizations understand that capability to ‘farm’ talent is going to help them much more than just ‘managing’ and is going to result into higher productivity and cost effectiveness, a lot of hiring and attrition issues are going to fade away by themselves. The way I see today’s organizations are like “India without its education system and premium institutes like IITs and IIMs and having a dependency to hire talent and ‘manage’ them from other parts of the world”. I think if building and farming talent within the country has been helpful for the country to reach to the point where it is today, Organizations would feel much stronger once the idea seeds in.

At Walking Tree, we follow the philosophy of ‘farming’ talent within the company. It certainly calls for an investment more than our competitors do on ‘managing’ talent, but at the end keeping all the direct/indirect cost of recruitment and delivery impacts, WTC feels itself as a winner. We have not only been able to retain our people to a good extent, but also has built a strong technical team which dares and delivers. The young team that we have and the capability that we have been able to demonstrate consistently to our clients has been a result of year round ‘farming’ of talent.

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