• Service: Enterprise, Family business
  • Type: Business and industry issue
  • Date: 8/23/2012

An effective approach to talent management 

Talent management
Are the critical roles in your family business covered for an unexpected resignation? A succession plan is essential to help limit loss and negative consequences as a result of the unexpected occurring. As many great minds have said, failing to plan is planning to fail.

What would happen if your best employee resigned tomorrow? A succession plan negates the disruption of unexpected company exits by maintaining continuity and ensuring a smooth transition period. The succession plan should already have identified who will step in should a critical position open up, and this is where talent management is important.

The challenge when it comes to talent management within a family firm is that family component – what family members or the owner wants may not be whatʼs best for the future of the business. But a structured talent management program can help by identifying the best candidate for the position from within the available pool of human resources.

Thinking strategically about talent

Firms that include talent management in their succession planning focus on sourcing, attracting, retaining and promoting employees with potential. The purpose of talent management in a family business is to identify top performing employees at all levels of their business, and strategically plan their career path to help develop them and move up in the business.

By developing those employees with a future in the company, your business can retain those key employees that you consider future leaders within the business. Youʼre investing your effort, time and money into developing these employees – it would be a poor return on investment to allow them to leave due to a lack of planning for their future.

Talent management is an important part of succession planning because it helps you to see the bigger picture – how people fit into the business, and how the business can fit into their plans for the future. Retaining your top talent supports your businessʼ long-term goals for success and survival, and investing in their development shows they have a role to play in that success.

Assessing performance, competencies and potential

A pool of successors for key roles requires strategic planning and insight into how people are performing, and the competencies (experience and skills) that each role requires. You need to assess your employeesʼ performance in their current roles to decide if they measure up, i.e. to see if they have the potential to be promoted into a leadership position.

By developing a competency framework for each role and setting clear criteria for the experience and skills required for each position, the business sets a precedent of only appointing people who are right for the job. Identify a few qualified candidates for all of the roles that exist within the business will ensure that thereʼs a pool of people available for promotion when the time comes.

Once potential successors have been identified, they will need to be developed and coached for their future role. A development program should be established for key roles in the firm.

Once in place, the talent management program should be reviewed regularly to account for shifts in roles and responsibilities. In this way, employees (family members or not) will know where they stand regarding the future of the business, and you can rest assured that when the unexpected happens, the success and survival of your family business is not at risk.

Christophe Bernard

Christophe Bernard
I am a KPMG partner based in the French firm’s Paris office, responsible for encouraging the growth of our firms’ middle markets practice across Europe, Middle East and Africa, a majority of that market comprises of family businesses.

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