Sample Essay on Managing Large Programme

Managing Large Programme

Talent management overview

According to Cappelli, failure in talent management is an ongoing challenge that affects the most critical functions of modern organizations. For several decades, talent management has been the main focus of project managers in most organizations, and according to the case of United States as presented by Cappelli, the lurch from talent surpluses to talent shortfalls is one of the factors leading to dysfunctional execution of proposed plans and programmes. With the concepts of project planning, organization, implementation and evaluation, Cappelli defines talent management as anticipation for the human capital needs and setting out plans to meet such needs without causing an alteration in current systems of operation. It is however noted that talent management is limited to two distinct and ineffective factors: a non-anticipated needs and overreliance on complex and bureaucratic models, which do not present accurate tools for project forecasting and succession planning. Based on these two constraints, Cappelli believes that this is the right time for organizations that objectively want to improve their levels of performances to incorporate new approaches to talent management while taking into consideration the higher uncertainty businesses face in their respective locations. For example, by applying supply chain management, it is possible that businesses will stand a chance of reducing the environmental uncertainties without possibly limiting their initial productive capacities. According to Cappelli, firms that peg their performances on borrowed lessons from operations and supply researches have forged new models of talent management suited for today’s business realities.

With the ideas to improved individual’s performance levels within and outside the organization, Cappelli suggest four fundamental operations principles of talent management. The operations principles, otherwise known as supply chain perspectives on project management are categorized based on the anticipated demand and risk of uncertain supplies. The first principle, the make and buy to manage uncertainty, provides a benchmark for the cost of managing talents in an organization. In this context, talent managers and respective companies must first understand the estimates of the talents needs and make immediate plans to hire from outside the organization to cover up for any shortfall. Firms must also appreciate the view that not all the positions will be easier to fill from outside unless there is proper timing throughout the management. This means that firms must at all times be alert about where to direct the resources meant for development. In general the principle of make and buy to manage risks recognizes the fact that talent management can never be an entitlement but rather and organizations investment.

The second principle, adapt to the uncertainty in talent demand appreciates the fact that companies can still find ways of adapting the challenges resulting from talent demand. Through the succession planning, the talent managers must be able to break up the programmes into shorter units for easier comprehension. From example, Cappelli presents a case where an organization decides to bring individual employees and other organizational staff to an eighteen month functional training to enhance general management skills instead of putting the management trainees in a three year dysfunctional programme. Such improvements can only be met if the implementing organization settles on the option of creating an organizational talent pool that must be allocated among the various business units to control the needs that may arise

The third principle, improve the returns on investment aimed at developing individual employees focuses on the ability of the organization to motivate employees through improved payoff in order to share on the cost of project development (Collings and Kamel). This would mean requesting employees to voluntarily take part in additional assignments to boost the overall performance of the company. The second approach under this principle is for the talent manager to maintain proper connections with its former employees believing that at one point in time, the employees will return hence bringing back the amount of investment in terms of skills.

In succession planning, Cappelli discusses the forth principle attached to preserving the investment by ensuring a balance in employee-employer interests. Organizations and talent managers must understand that the most basic reasons why people leave certain organizations is that they have better opportunities in other organizations meaning that talent development is a perishable commodity. Organizations must therefore preserve their investments by balancing the interests of employers and employees so that there is a platform for making advancement decisions.


Draganidis and Gregoris defines talent management as an ongoing process of identifying, managing and developing individuals in preparation for both current and future business operations. The whole process of talent development is concerned with establishing strategies to determine organizational needs to meet the current and future needs; determining the processes that can be used to measure competencies; developing technical tools and processes that can be used to raise performances; establishing appropriate means to obtain and retain personnel critical to the organizational success; establishing the most convincing techniques to manage the part of personnel that no longer fits into the system and; measuring the result of the outlined strategies for continuous update and refined delivery of higher performance.

Garman, Jeremy, Andrew and Jeremy Glawe believes that while talent management is encrypted on the needs to reveal each person’s potentials by recognizing the necessity of training and retraining, succession planning recognizes the needs to satisfy the requirements of the organization. Succession planning is based on the assumption that without fulfilling majority of the requirements, there are higher possibilities that the internally developed staff will not be effective as required by the organization. Succession planning and talent management are related in the sense that the two concepts allow organizations to identify positions that are critical to success and the means through which the organization’s future requirements can be met without straining a section of the personnel.

For every succession planning, the elements include project sponsor, project facilitators or managers, team members, business case, goals and measurable objectives, milestones, assumptions, resources and risks (Garman and Jeremy). The elements must be brought together the complete the cycles of talent management in order to boost the skills, knowledge and productivity levels of staff. For a typical organization, the milestones are usually categorized into seven stages: identifying the goals and objectives; defining competencies; assessing employee performance; identifying candidates; accelerating development; building the support system and; evaluating outcomes.

Case studies on talent management through succession planning

Case 1: The North Shore-LIJ health system utilizes its managerial personnel for effective talent development and in areas of succession planning to improve performance knowledge among employees (Groves). Under this case study, the intention was to describe the best practice model applied by the health system and other related organizations, and to determine how the model leads to optimal talent development.

During the study, a group of 30 CEOs and HR executives across 15 organizational departments were investigated through semi-structured interviews. Participants were asked to describe their respective organizational talent management and succession planning practices.

The analysis of talent management revealed that the company’s best organizational practices integrate succession planning systems by including managerial personnel in various programmes like developing mentorship networks (Groves), finding and codifying highly skilled employees, establishing employees’ potentials through project based learning experiences, working through forums to expose high potential employees to employers as well as developing supportive culture to enhance performance relationship between employees and other stakeholders.

The succession planning model for the North Shore-LIJ health system and the leadership structure as provided in this case study reveal important characteristics of talent managers that must be fused in the project. The talent managers in this relation must work on a 360 degree feedback system, provide executive coaching, give appropriate mentorship, network the whole system, assign jobs based on individual experiences and also establish a framework for action learning (Groves). The diagram below provides a summary of the major concepts and stages in talent management applicable to the North Shore-LIJ health system.






























From the above diagram, the company’s succession planning involves developing pervasive mentoring relationships for the employees since there are possibilities that employees with mentors are likely to demonstrate positive outcomes in relation to job performances (Lewis and Robert). The management process under pervasive mentoring should cover fundamental programmes like employees’ personal learning, promotions and higher compensations; commitment to organization function, job satisfaction and a reduction in employees’ turnover. The basic understanding in this case is that those organizations that engage in mentorship set forth to create a link between employees’ psychological benefits and career facilitation benefits. Therefore, the practice of talent managers developing a network of mentors instead of operating through the traditional person-to-person mentoring is consistent with the needs to influence positive contributions from employees as well as ensuring success in a highly competitive environment (Lewis and Robert). The health system managers illustrate personal learning and mentoring relationships are importantly adopted as a proactive approach to providing developmental opportunities to employees with higher potentials.

In summary, the health system widely endorsed both informal ad formal talent mentoring since the attributes are consistent with current business practices (Lewis and Robert). The talent managers in the health system accept that mentoring is one of the popular approaches that can be used to develop high potentials among employees. However, the possibility of establishing an effective mentoring programme depends on the quality of the relationships between the type of applicable programme and the means through which the program is developed or maintained.

Case 2: A study across multiple corporations has shown that the most leaders understand the importance of investing in talent management and succession planning. For example, a cross-sectional survey conducted in 2012 about human resource across different corporations showed that industries that have identified talent development through succession planning have prioritized in employees’ skill improvement with a 36% rating (McDonnell, Anthony, et al). Major corporations find it worthwhile investing large sums of money in ongoing talent development programmes since the contributions of every employee improves with improvement in skills, knowledge and levels of expertise.

For example, the GEM spends close to one billion dollars annually on employees’ training with proper development in leadership skills representing key areas among the three agenda. It is however noticeable from the investigation that even though corporate leaders have wider knowledge on the importance of talent management, they tend to ignore the leading processes (McDonnell, Anthony, et al). A recent McKinsey survey indicated that corporate leaders agree to the fact that leadership skills are the most fundamental factors driving organizational performances since they directly have impact on the performance attitudes of employees. While there is a unanimous acceptance of the role of corporate leadership skills in organizational performance, only about 35 percent of corporate leaders focus on developing corporate skills and 36 percent believing that the organization can still outperform the levels of competition posed through leadership development (McDonnell, Anthony, et al). The study also showed that among the corporations, 60 percent recognize organizational capability building like talent management as one of the top priorities that require extensive investment while only one-third of the corporations engage in training programmes to build these capabilities. The study also agreed to the general notion that talent management and succession planning could be of greater importance to healthcare organizations, which is most cases fall short of administrative leaders, physicians and nurses. It is also true that most healthcare organizations experience higher turnover among leaders and other front-line staff employees and inability to capture management talents from other partnering industries (McDonnell, Anthony, et al). The most accepted best practices retrieved from external sources as far as talent management in healthcare organizations emphasize on:

  • Effective, efficient and clear communication linkages, which attach significance on the importance of succession planning and its relationship to talent management as some of the key factors and processes driving organizational performances.
  • Closely connected linkages between succession planning or talent management and strategies employed by the organization, priorities or projected needs of stakeholders. The desires to improve performance by linking individual’s talents to overall organizational operations increases with the expansion of the service industry.
  • Higher involvement of ownership programs at all levels of senior management so that the barriers to career development of future leaders can be prevented.
  • Working through an integrated leadership competency model, with competencies linked to operational strategies and organizational priorities.

How to manage talent in projects

From the cases above, it is now clear that talent management retails formulating a well thought workforce management plan that can attract, retain and develop individual’s performance skills. In this respect, the need to incorporate motivational aspects, learning and development, issues related to HR, skill testing and competencies (Ready and Jay), and talent recruiting and staffing arises. Among the issues presented is that of succession planning and leadership management for the purpose of recruiting, vetting and replacing key organization personnel.

Following the new complexities spawned by globalization, employees have the right to technological advancement, and as a result, the talent management program should now focus more on the range of factors like localized production within industrial economies (Ready and Jay). This would mean upgrading employees’ competencies in the use of computers and other evolving technologies as wells as ensuring growth in cross-cultural communication skills and other management techniques. Organizations engage in talent management to match the organizations’ future leadership demands with individual aspirations for both short term and long term succession replacements (Ready and Jay). Through the short terms succession placement, the desire is to benchmark the whole job and make unbiased comparison based on individual potentials. The long term succession placement plan on the other hand has close connection to future needs of the organization and working within the established frameworks to meet future goals by identifying the best candidates to take fill the positions necessary for organizational growth.

Talent management requires organizations to keep their succession planning simpler and directed to the core objectives of the business (Rothwell). This would mean ignoring all the complicated processes that may require discussions rather than talent, skill and knowledge management. For the two cases provided, a four staged talent management model for succession planning like the one shown below is recommended.


The Four Stage Succession Planning and Talent management model Management

The analysis stage involves determining the positions within the organization that deserve succession planning. The analysis should also identify the needs of each position and the individuals to be included in the succession plan (Dorfman and Jon). The talent and succession managers should as objective questions concerning the risks and opportunities available to the organization, the anticipated and unanticipated future succession needs and alignment of succession plan to the overall support system.

After the identification of positions, a solid understanding of the skills, experiences, behavioural attributes and expertise of the successor is examined. This would mean benchmarking the entire system for accurate and unbiased identification of individuals to take up the responsibilities (Dorfman and Jon). In other words, the talent manager must identify the appropriate internal candidates for the succession pool.

The development stage focuses on building the talent pool requires for the succession and critical attributes like timing, identification of skills and experience gaps as well as continuous review of the succession process is fundamental. The timing concept improves good planning, which is necessary to candidate’s quick development. The skills and experience gasps are in most cases filled through decisive assignment, lateral promotion, candidate mentoring and personnel training (Dorfman and Jon). On the same note, the continuous review process will allow succession managers to follow on the progress of the succession planning.

In the selection stage, the succession managers make final choice as the time to make actual transition elapses. The best practise to selection should include interviews, presentation and prompt assessment of the presented candidates based on the benchmarked positions.

The on-boarding stage on the other hand is only meant to get the new leader up to speed on his or her new assignments (Farndale, Hugh and Paul). In this relation, most organizations recommend a coaching plan for at least the first 6 months to ensure full compliance and success in the news assigned roles.



Work cited

Cappelli, Peter. “Talent management for the twenty-first century.” Harvard business review 86.3 (2008): 74.

Cappelli, Peter. “Talent on Demand–Managing Talent in an Age of Uncertainty.” Strategic Direction 25.3 (2009).

Collings, David G., and Kamel Mellahi. “Strategic talent management: A review and research agenda.” Human Resource Management Review 19.4 (2009): 304-313.

Dorfman, Peter W., and Jon P. Howell. “Dimensions of National Culture & Effective Leadership Patterns: Hofstede revisited.” Advances in international comparative management: A research annual. 1988.

Draganidis, Fotis, and Gregoris Mentzas. “Competency based management: a review of systems and approaches.” Information Management & Computer Security 14.1 (2006).

Farndale, Elaine, Hugh Scullion, and Paul Sparrow. “The role of the corporate HR function in global talent management.” Journal of World Business 45.2 (2010): 161-168.

Garman, Andrew N., and Jeremy Glawe. “Succession Planning.” Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research 56.2 (2004): 119.

Groves, Kevin S. “Integrating leadership development and succession planning best practices.” Journal of Management Development 26.3 (2007): 239-260.

Lewis, Robert E., and Robert J. Heckman. “Talent management: A critical review.” Human resource management review 16.2 (2006).

McDonnell, Anthony, et al. “Developing tomorrow’s leaders—Evidence of global talent management in multinational enterprises.” Journal of World Business 45.2 (2010).

Ready, Douglas A., and Jay A. Conger. “Make your company a talent factory.” Harvard business review 85.6 (2007): 68.

Rothwell, William J. Effective succession planning: Ensuring leadership continuity and building talent from within. AMACOM Div. American Mgmt. Assn., 2010.