Standing at the intersection of brand and talent LONDON –
Intersections. Interesting places – where we become aware of possible new directions, and where we make choices about the path we want to take. Not to mention, they’re where the most accidents happen – particularly when one doesn’t read the signs carefully.
Brand. Marketing. Human Resources. Recruitment Advertising. Internal Communications. Employee Engagement. Innovation. Information Technology (oops, surely I mean Social Media). Strategy. It’s a busy intersection, one that requires a lot of awareness, and not a little choice.
Reading the signs carefully, it’s clear what direction to take. The worlds of brand and human capital management, independently well-trodden in the past 20 years, have converged. When the world’s leading management consulting firms and mainstream business press start putting “talent” as one of the top three issues on the board and CEO agenda, the amber light glows brightly. And while the temptation is to put the pedal to the metal as a specialist in any one of the aforementioned disciplines, that’s where a major pileup will happen, leaving a smoking heap of twisted carnage with multiple casualties to clear up.
The inconvenient truth is that the functional skill sets that were previously harbingers of success in managing brand and talent functions in the previous century are no longer independently sufficient to achieve excellence in the converged world. Deep specialist expertise in talent attraction, talent management, brand engagement, compensation and benefits, employee communications and social media are necessary but not sufficient. The management consultants and auditors repeat back in their own terms what we’ve been saying all along – that, having Six Sigma’d and BPR’d ourselves within a nanometer of the bone, there is still ample value to be derived from our greatest asset.
Simply put, the new world of brand and talent requires more than “cross-functional collaboration.” I believe it requires structural change in both organisations and the providers who service them. My audacious thought? Talent acquisition and most facets of talent management get rolled into the marketing/brand function, with “HR” (dare I say a “Personnel” function) as a more transactional support function handling comp and benefits, legal and compliance issues only.