In the year 2020, it is projected that the number of individuals age 65 and up will exceed 716 million people, thus creating a fierce war for talent in the workplace (Project Management Institute, 2014). Busy CEOs are described as spending at least half of their time on the job addressing talent management issues (Silzer & Dowell, 2010), although senior corporate executives have reported a disconnect in linking organizational strategies to talent management initiatives, with only 23% of 548 respondents stating their organizations adequately provide sufficient personnel to implement strategy through talent management (Project Management Institute, 2010).
A pervasive problem is said to exist in the contemporary organization, where 40% of all strategic initiatives become destabilized by a lack of strategic talent management, a gap that can be filled through the use of formulating, implementing, and executing business strategies highly aligned with talent strategies in the organization (Project Management Institute, 2010). This integration will not happen automatically, creating a need for purposeful and comprehensive linking mechanisms throughout the entire firm, including the value system, group norms, leadership competencies, and daily operations (Newhouse, Lewis, & Jones, 2004).
Minerva Films is an independent production company in south Florida offering media production and media consultation services to individuals and businesses needing to refine their communication efforts. Our firm hopes to increase brand awareness and build media consulting engagements primarily through word-of-mouth valence and a professional reputation for reliably delivering long-term value to our clients. Our mission instills a commitment to providing excellent production values that offer solutions for creating lasting human change by meshing science and motion picture art, and our vision is to become the foremost authority in helping to empower self-efficacy and resilience with individuals, groups, and organizations, especially in regard to subpopulations facing turmoil in the workplace.
Using Canavan, Scott, and Mangematin’s (2013) model for identifying talent requirements and linking management efforts to business strategy and the organization’s structure for creative professional service firms, Minerva Films will take on an artistic competency growth strategy through the development and deployment of unique, creative, and customized offerings utilizing a flat, centralized corporate structure oriented toward reputation, and matching this with individuals possessing technical, niche specialties who seek professional recognition and opportunities for learning.
The following explicates this proposed alignment through the use of Silzer and Dowell’s (2010) DIME model for successful talent management efforts, coupled with the four elements offered by the Project Management Institute (2014) for highly aligned processes and functions, namely:
1. Alignment of hiring policies with corporate strategy and the firm’s business model.
2. Alignment of talent development and retention with implementation of business strategy.
3. Alignment of talent management strategy to the firm’s planning cycles.
4. Alignment of talent policy and procedure with the formulation of business strategy.
Driven by Business Strategy
The DIME model begins with understanding alignment must be Driven by the firm’s business model and strategy (Silzer & Dowell, 2010), and we posit implementation of this strategy to coincide with our hiring policies (Project Management Institute, 2014). Our chosen method for procuring revenue includes espousing a General Contractor and Project-Based hybrid business model including a focus on media business consultation, with product sales and authorship as supplementary income models for increasing operating leverage and passive income (Katcher, 2010).
The General Contractor Model prescribes a focus on client relationships utilizing subcontractors, and managing projects with a heavy emphasis on marketing (Katcher, 2010), thus creating a need to have hiring policies that mirror these efforts. Consequently, key selection criteria will include a focus on candidates with experience, skills, and knowledge in project management, teamwork and collaboration skills, strategic marketing and communications experience, interpersonal skills, analytical skills, and people management, to name a few.
Alignment, however, cannot stop at the hiring phase, but must be integrated into other processes as well (Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
Integration of Processes
The “I” in the DIME model implores the Integration of talent management initiatives with business processes (Silzer & Dowell, 2010), which we offer through the alignment of our talent development and retention efforts with the implementation of our strategy (Project Management Institute, 2014). Our primary target for seeking out business engagements includes the executive customer, who responds well to business value creation, carefully choosing consulting companies perceived as valuable problem solvers, trusted advisors, and true business partners (Geehan, 2011).
This means developing workforce skills of interdependency, consistency, innovation, specialization, long-term commitment, unique perspective, and problem solving (Geehan, 2011). To align employee development to retention efforts that support our strategy, we will need to make sure to follow through with the professional recognition offered to attract talent, which can be accomplished using rewards, being consistent, offering advancement, and aggressively pursuing industry recognition and awards (Silzer & Dowell, 2010; Canavan et al., 2013).
Still, to ensure a comprehensive alignment of strategic talent, the corporation must go further in fostering practices that become part of the firm’s core practice (Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
Managed as a Core Business Practice
The third part of the DIME model entails having alignment Managed as a core business practice (Silzer & Dowell, 2010), something Minerva Films can implement through the integration of our talent management strategy with the firm’s planning cycles (Project Management Institute, 2014). According to the Project Management Institute (2014), only 9% of respondents claim to reassess their talent management strategies as a result of the company’s strategic reviews on an ongoing basis.
With this in mind, our firm can begin to coincide our financial and strategic tracking with our strategic talent strategy. As an example, when organizing the quarter, six month, and yearly evaluations of balance sheets, cash flow statements, and other financial reports needed to gauge fiscal and operational performance, we can simultaneously review measurable performance objectives tied to our talent management efforts (Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
Silzer and Dowell (2010) go even further, though, and state the need for talent management to be ingrained in the mindset of all employees within the company.
Engrained as a Talent Mindset
The “E” in Silzer and Dowell’s (2010) DIME model involves Engraining the talent mindset as a pervasive part of the firm’s culture, something Minerva Films can achieve by aligning its strategy formulation with construction of its policies and procedures (Project Management Institute, 2014). Creating a climate ripe for going beyond alignment and nurturing integration will take time and key players, such as full buy-in and leadership action from the C-Suite, the HR function, middle management, and everyone else in the organization (Project Management Institute, 2014).
Although Minerva Films is a small company with no C-Suite or HR function to speak of, we can take advantage of this by ensuring each and every new member is christened with the understanding that no formulation of strategy can be conducted without the inclusion of policies and procedures that are in full support of our strategic talent management efforts, with mentoring and coaching programs to ensure our growth in personnel includes a growth of our talent mindset and culture, as brought out through the research of the Project Management Institute (2014).
Arguably, this would stem from our corporate value system, created through the three cornerstones we provide with Art, Wisdom, and Entertainment, or AWE:
(1) “Art” represents the chosen medium for delivering messages of human betterment and human change;
(2) “Wisdom” represents the requirement for pursuing a foundation in scientific knowledge for all projects and initiatives within the firm; and
(3) “Entertainment” represents an important reminder that product and service offerings need to first entertain, then instruct, making sure to spark a nuanced balance that serves the tailored needs of our audience members and clientele without becoming overly preachy, coercive, or judgmental of others.
Addressing the Future
One important piece of the alignment puzzle that needs to be mentioned is the importance of utilizing assessment interventions to ensure amelioration of bias and increasing objectivity in creating a robust talent management system comprehensively integrated within the firm (Newhouse et al., 2004). These assessments can be utilized to ensure a proper alignment with implementing strategy in hiring policies, talent development, and retention; planning organizational cycles that integrate processes and planning cycles, and; creating policies and procedures along with strategies that permeate the mindset of the entire workforce and corporate culture (Project Management Institute, 2014).
Minerva Films would also do well to ensure that each new employee is successfully socialized to achieve the firm’s goals, and that we continuously assess current and future strategic talent needs, their gaps, and how we intend to address these elements through the reappraisal and modification of the strategic requirements needing fulfillment via our strategic talent management initiatives (Project Management Institute, 2014).
Perhaps by the year 2020, Minerva Films can be one of those corporations that offers competitive advantage, outpacing our rivals by focusing on aligning our customer value proposition with our employee value proposition, fostering organizational, value, and attitudinal fits that endorse superior performance (Newhouse et al., 2004), instead of being one of those companies caught up in the battle for talent.
Canavan, D., Scott, P. S., & Mangematin, V. (2013). Creative professional service firms: Aligning strategy and talent. Journal of Business Strategy, 34(3), 24-32. doi: 10.1108/JBS-10-2012-0058
Geehan, S. (2011). The B2B Executive Playbook: The Ultimate Weapon for Achieving Sustainable, Predictable and Profitable Growth. Cincinnati, Ohio: Clerisy Press.
Katcher, B. L. (2010). An Insider’s Guide to Building a Successful Consulting Practice. New York, NY: AMACOM.
Newhouse, N. K., Lewis, B. O., & Jones, J. W. (2004). Strategic Talent Management: Assessment as a Foundation. Champaign, IL: IPAT, Inc.
Project Management Institute (2014). Rally the Talent to Win: Transforming Strategy into Reality [Online research report.]. Retrieved from http://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Publications/Rally-the-Talent-to-Win.ashx
Silzer, R. & Dowell, B.E. (2010). Strategy-driven talent management: A leadership imperative. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.