Why We Need Human Talent Management

By Jayadeva De Silva, MSc, MBIM, FIPM, FITD
Author of the book Humantalents Management


Managing talents is not the same as managing resources. People are human beings with feelings ambitions and thought power.

The effective leaders will care about people’s talents, adjust in a flexible way to corporate and market demands and promote an organisational climate which encourages a variety of mental styles.

A new concept of leadership is in the making. Successful companies have already adopted the idea that leadership is the art of managing people’s talents and not just getting things done.

The expression “Human Resources” is misleading and dangerous “People are not resources and resent being treated as such.” They are not pieces of equipment to move around according to needs. Contrary to what some managers claim, people are not “Human Capital”!

Employees’ expectations have drastically changed over the last few years due to more knowledge-based business, social transformations an economic evolution. New psychological needs evolving in line with the new profile of people entering the workforce.

What New Employees Want

New employees want:

  • To know more about what is happening in the organisation and who is doing what? What are the new objectives and new priorities of the organisation? What are the new strategies of the workplace and the threats and problems faced by the organization.
  • To understand why leaders have made decisions and why they did not take another decision. What is behind the decision? What are the implications of the decision made?
  • To contribute their own ideas and ability. They want to know what could be tomorrow.
  • To feel important and have a meaningful role to play within the company. Who am I within the organisation? Do I count? Am I receiving the recognition and respect that I desire? Do I have a fair chance to grow and develop as a person?

Effective leaders are looking at practical ways to maximise the release of individual, team and company talents. The leader is becoming a nurturer of talents, a catalyst in search of synergy.

People are not resources. They have resources. That is not quite the same thing as I explain below.

Human Talents Management (HTM) vs.
Human Resources Management  (HRM)

Basic Assumptions

The basic assumption in managing human resources is that people are an important asset that the company must use to the fullest. They are resources, and therefore, Human Resources Planning is critical.

The basic assumption underlying managing peoples talents is the belief that people have professional talents. They are not resources, they have resources, that is, knowledge, skills and experience. The release of individual talents is vital to both personal fulfilment and organisational success.

The Role of the Leader

In managing human resources, leaders set objectives, appraise people’s performance on a factual basis and provide the right recognition to the right people. We call this MBO – Management by objectives.

In managing people’s talents, the role of the leader is to create the right environment so that people can perform at the highest level. The leader channels people’s energy constructively. He cares and shows it. He strives to understand people.

Leadership Focus

In managing human resources, the leader looks at how to recruit the right people, how to appraise people and how to promote effectively.

In managing people’s talents, the leader focuses on how to support or encourage. He looks at how to manage job assignment so that people can perform and grow to their potential. The leader looks at how to listen and how to be understood.

Key Success Factors

The key success factors for tomorrow’s leaders will be:

  • Behaviour flexibility
  • Mental innovation and
  • People orientation

Behaviour Flexibility

Effective leaders are extremely sensitive to the environment and adjust rapidly to its changes. Watching them at work we can say that it is critical for the leaders of today to learn “how to learn”.

  • Do what you think is right in a situation
  • Observe the impact of your behaviour on people—collaborators, bosses, customers
  • Maintain your behaviour if you get what you want. Try something else if you don’t.

Mental Innovation

The ability to interpret reality in original and unique ways is becoming more and more pressing for corporate leaders. Tthey are learning that everything is defined and too often, artificially limited by “mental programming”.

Nothing is fully known or fixed. Everything is perceived through a human mind programmed by education, experience and training. The human mind can explain and control things meaningfully. However, some mental constructions are more effective than others. Different situations require different mind reactions. Mental versatility is therefore important.

  • Be aware of how you construct things in your mind
  • Expand your repertoire of mental constructions. Try out new ways to explain things
  • Promote the mind expansion process among your people
  • Use the mental constructions which are most appropriate for business situations

People Orientation

It is amazing how ineffective leaders at tapping individual talents within their organisations. Many employees complain bitterly, not only about how their companies have misused their professional skills, but also about managers who “do almost everything to make sure that employees do not perform to the fullest of their talents”! It is almost as if leaders are afraid of giving their staff a fair opportunity to perform.

Many leaders have apparently not yet learned that their employees are frequently working far below capacity. They do not realise that an employee’s success is also their own. Employees whose expectations are not met with withdraw to invest their time energy and skills outside the organisation. This may be healthy for the individual but not for the organisation.

  • Care about your people and show them that you, as a leader, are truly interested in what they do, how they think and feel.
  • Be honest. Manipulation may succeed in the short term, but it is inevitably discovered and resented.
  • Know their professional talents and give them a chance to perform at their highest level.
  • Expect a lot from them and provide the support that they need to work well and grow on the job.


Managing talents is not the same as managing resources. People are human beings with feelings ambitions and thought power. The effective leaders will care about people’s talents, adjust in a flexible way to various corporate as well as market demands and promote an organisational climate which tolerates or rather encourages a variety of mental styles.

Jayadeva de Silva is  the author of the book Human Talent Management. The book can be downloaded free of charge from www.slidshare.com. He can be contacted at djayadeva@gmail.com.

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