Putting the “Care” in Career: The Case for People-Centric Talent Management (Part One)

There is a direct correlation between a company’s financial performance and the level of employee engagement and career fulfillment. In other words, organizations that take deliberate steps to create an environment where career experiences are fulfilling, purposeful, and supportive of personal growth increase their probability of delivering strong business performance. This blog series looks at the role of people-centricity in talent management strategies that differentiate organizations from their competitors.

The link between positive career experiences and business performance is supported by over a decade of research. For example, one study published in an issue of Personnel Review found a clear tie between more positive employee ratings and several organizational performance measures, including operating margin, revenue per employee, and return on company assets. This correlation is acutely important in today’s talent market. 

Given the “bottom-line” consequences of lacking a fulfilling career and engaged workforce, developing a strong people strategy needs to be a priority, starting with the top of the organization. This is particularly important in today’s candidate-led market, where individuals have more choice over their employer destination than ever before. This shifts the emphasis back onto companies and their ability to differentiate and convince both their existing and potential employees why they should be the employer of choice.
Compounding the challenges that companies face in the “War for Talent” are evolving career motivations. Employees have a different take and outlook on what drives and inspires them than what was commonly accepted as motivating in the past. Behavioral science tells us that we change our behavior when given gifts that reinforce actions and goals, but research also shows that financial reward is not the straightforward motivator that companies often assume it is. In fact, too much extrinsic reward can lessen internal motivation if perceived as controlling. There is a transition away from extrinsic motivators (such as money, titles, corporate logos, the allure of an attractive final salary pension scheme), towards career experiences and opportunities that enable employees to pursue their intrinsic motivators. 

Here are a few key intrinsic motivators that can bolster talent management and keep employees engaged: 

  • Solving problems that employees find enjoyable and care about
  • Doing work that they are good at, and where they can grow and develop both professionally and personally
  • Doing mission and purpose-driven work that is making a difference and impact
  • Being able to be authentic and bring their full and best self to work
  • Having a sense of belonging and feeling part of something bigger than themselves
  • Being able to have a successful and fulfilling career and a successful and fulfilling personal life

As the needs and motivations of the workforce have shifted in the direction of a more intrinsic-focused and personally fulfilled career experience, organizations will need to transform their talent and career management principles to be more candidate-focused and personalized. If talent and career management strategies are rooted in an in-depth understanding of what drives and motivates decision-making, then these strategies are more likely to achieve the linked outcomes of enhanced employee engagement and improved business performance. 

In the next part of our series, we’ll cover the actionable principles that can be applied to a people-centered talent and career management approach.

Click here to read part two of our series.