Saturday, September 29, 2007

Talent Management -Bollywood Style

The HR guru's amongst my readers would agree that Talent Identification and Assessment are two critical pillars of Talent management . Simply put Talent Management facilities a process and culture which ensures that the best and brightest automatically bubble to the top . If we were to believe that an organization is a microcosm of a larger society then what we are witnessing today in most Indian organizations is also indeed true for Bollywood .

Many years ago Anu Kapoor ran a show called "Meri Awaaz Suno" - to me it was a Talent Management intervention .A little girl from Bhilai won the hearts and imagination of India. That little girl was Sunidhi Chauhan , the program was a process and a platform which allowed a top talent like her to get pan India exposure . Programs such as Meri Awaaz Suno heralded the beginning of Talent Management revolution in playback singing @ Bollywood . Along the journey were many such shows , and the latest one is the Sangeet Ka Vishwa Yudh . We are now in the final stages of the program with Amanat , Raja and Aneek . These three singing sensations have come a long way displacing people like Poonam Yadav, Sumdeha and my heartthrob Mouli. While all the singers were undoubtedly brilliant , but without a process like the Vishwa Yudh , these people would not have got an opportunity or an exposure that they well deserve . To put this in context , in the good old days at Bollywood incumbency was a big factor , Lata Mangeshkar remained the playback Queen for decades without any noticeable threat to her position . Was there a talent shortage in the country...???? , were there no Mouli's, Poonam's or Sumedha's during her time ....I don't think so , what was probably lacking was platforms like the ones that we are discussing . The power of these platforms are immense and the outcomes that they can create for an industry is what we are experiencing first hand now.

I would like to highlight two key learning's from Bollywood which could be of use to HR professionals who engage in the process of Talent Management .

Let the Soul of the Process Flourish

What happens in the name of Talent Management are generally elaborate paper exercises and assessments which kill the soul of the process . By killing the soul of the process I am hinting at the complex psychometric tools often used to identify talent (however valid the consultants who peddle them claim to be ) are fraught with errors and to put undue emphasis on the tools only is disastrous .

Use Professional Talent Spotters and Talent Managers

Spotting Talent is not necessarily a function of competency frameworks or psycometry . The Aussie Cricket Board has talent scouts who scan the country and select young players with promise. A similar process happens thought he regional and city rounds of these Bollywood programs . In India however I have not heard of Talent Scouts in organizations . An individuals potential is often assessed in the context of his current and future roles . While I do not have a conceptual quarrel with this process , however happens that the potential assessment is left a bit too late for any meaningful development to happen , which leads to a situation wherein either the top talent is frustrated and leaves the organization or even worse stays back and becomes a cynic. While timing of assessment is important , the other critical issues is that potential assessment happens in the context of a set of Role Based Competencies and rarely on well grounded Generic Competencies . The challenge is of course to maintain a balance between the competencies required to deliver the current role and or future roles as also the ability to manage organizations and add stakeholder value . Often the second objective take a backseat

To conclude , I believe that Indian organizations and HR processes should be capable of identifying the Poonam Yadav's , Sunidhi Chauhan's , Shreya Ghosal's and Mouli's of the world so that there is some real competition to incumbements like Lata or Asha . "Lata tai , Asha tai no disrespect meant probably had it a bit easy , but Sunidhi will face far more competition as the Talent Processes of Bollywood and getting stronger and stronger ..."