Talent Mismanagement – Workplace Politics

Recruiter scanning profiles of candidates

Talent Mismanagement is the reason a company loses most hardworking employees now-a-days. Here are some scenarios about management gone wrong that might make you think twice about your current motivation/coaching strategies.

Scenario 1

Ramesh has been working with ABC Corporation for last 4 years. He has been a good performer and was promoted last year as senior manager. For the last six months he is not enjoying his job as it feels like routine to him. Whenever he wanted to speak to his manager about it, every time he is told that he is doing a good job and he should continue giving his best.

Last month, Ramesh got a call for an interview with another company and after few rounds of discussions, got selected by them at a higher level with 30% increase in salary. When he went to his manager to speak about it and submit his resignation, his manager was completely in shock to hear this. He mentioned that last month itself, during the annual potential review, Ramesh has been identified as one of the high potential employees of the company and has been put on fast track by HR. Such Talent Mismanagement can cause serious damage to one’s career and professional reputation.

Scenario 2

Ruchi has been rated outstanding throughout her career and has got three promotions during last 5 years. She believes in having healthy debates with her superiors and interacts with them on regular basis to put across her point of view. She also uses these interactions to convey her personal expectations from the company to them.

With her latest promotion, Ruchi now reports to a new manager who believes in having limited and need based communication with his subordinates. While Ruchi still pushes him into regular discussions, it is clearly evident that he does not like it. Few days back she learnt from one of the members of the management committee that her boss has complained to the CEO about her, mentioning that she has a complaining nature and is not grateful to the company for all that what she has been given so far. Lack of communication and mismanagement leads to such situations

Scenario 3

Roopesh is an alumnus of XLRI and leads the HR function for the packaging division of XYZ Corporation. He is extremely ambitious, confident and competitive in nature. He has a dual reporting – direct to the business head of packaging division and dotted to the corporate HR Head. As he has already spent 4 successful years with the packaging division, corporate HR is keen to move him as the HR Head of media division. This position is at the same level as of the business head of the packaging division. Roopesh is extremely excited about this move. This is also the annual appraisal time and he is supposed to complete his appraisal with his manager before moving to the new division. Once the movement gets finalised and Roopesh moves to his new role, he learns that he has been rated as “average” in his appraisal.

These are three real life scenarios of talent mismanagement I have personally seen people go through when I was managing HR for various companies in the past. These are just indicative of how companies manage (or mismanage) talent in real life. We can quote many more such scenarios where we lose good talent because their managers do not know how to manage them. As far as these examples are concerned, here is what actually happened:

Ramesh was amazed why nobody told him that he has been chosen as a high potential employee and has been put on fast track. He decided to take up the new offer and resigned from the company.

Ruchi was counselled by HR not to be complaining in nature and how she should be grateful to the company for giving her three promotions in last 5 years. Extremely disappointed, she decided to look for a new job and within two months found a new one. Everybody was shocked by her resignation.

Roopesh had multiple conversation with senior leaders in the corporate leadership team about his rating. Everybody sympathised with him but said that nothing can be done as this rating has been given by his direct manager. Dissatisfied, he left the company within next six months.

Limiting our discussion to these examples but considering the larger context, I want to raise some pertinent questions for our talent managers:

  • Why do we hesitate telling people that they are good? Are they not supposed to know what plans the company has for them? Or we fear that giving them this information will change their attitude and make them more marketable. But anyway this approach is not helping, something needs to change. If we love somebody, don’t we tell him/her that “I love you”, or we wait for him/her to figure this out himself/herself. Don’t Hesitate to Appreciate
  • Why don’t we like people who ask questions? If people want to know their career path or are keen to talk about their expectations from the company, is there anything wrong in it? Don’t we know that good people are always high on maintenance. Why are we not ready to give that little extra time, little extra ear and little extra value to them if they are good? ( Here’s How Good Managers Give Bad Employees Feedback )
  • Why do we allow careers to be sacrificed because of personal biases? People who are competitive would never have a smooth journey. They would ruffle some feathers; they would make some people uncomfortable. And if people sitting in decision making positions become insecure, how do we protect our rough diamonds from them?

Many more such questions can be raised. Many intellectual discussions can be arranged. However, the key question remains – how do we bring about the real change on the ground. The need is to work towards bringing about the real change, away from the fancy boardroom presentations, sharing of best practices, awards, articles, research papers and all other fancy stuff.

Let’s ask more such questions on talent mismanagement and educate talent managers to find answers to them. To appreciate talent and save Careers.
Comment down below your thoughts.

Read my views on Capability Building at the Bottom of the Pyramid.

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