Is your talent management based on the doom loop or flywheel model?


Is your talent management based on the doom loop or flywheel model?

By Jon Hansen

One of the things that I most appreciated about the recent Scoutbee Predicts 2023 webinar – besides its powerhouse panel – was the delivery of many points of critical insight. 

The panoply of experience and wisdom more than informed the audience – it stimulated meaningful discussion and hopefully energized new and creative thinking regarding procurement in 2023.

While I encourage you to access the recorded version of the webinar via this link, in today’s post, I would like to focus on the first of two slides from the presentation (procurement’s 2023 top ten initiatives). In my next post, I will review the second slide (procurement’s five-year focus: 2019 to 2023).

Procurement’s top ten improvement initiatives in 2023 

Is your talent management based on the doom loop or flywheel model? - photo 1

What immediately comes to mind when you read the top 10 improvement initiatives on procurement’s 2023 agenda slide above?

To start, and I am sure you will agree, all ten are legitimate areas where a focus on making improvements is a priority.

That said, whenever I see a “top X” number list, I not only consider the importance of each line item individually, I also examine their related and collective impact. Think of it as my “no person – or in this case, improvement initiative – is an island” approach to determining an optimal outcome for a specific area of focus.

For example, how is number five (supplier relationship management) related to number ten (supplier performance management), or even number six (responsible procurement)? How does success or failure in one area impact the other – and vice versa?

A hiring point

For me, there is a direct relation-impact between number one (talent management) and number seven (learning and development). However, before I get into the specifics of the proposed links between the two, I want to share the following with you.

Talent management is “the term used to describe the attraction, recruitment, development, and retention of employees over their life cycle.”

If you accept the above definition, the following statistics tell an interesting story:

  • 46% of all new hires fail within 18 months (source: Leadership IQ) 
  • 40-60% of management new hires fail within 18 months (source: Harvard Business Review) 
  • Nearly 50% of executive new hires fail within 18 months (source: The Corporate Leadership Council)

What do the above numbers suggest? In the context of the “talent management life cycle”, I immediately thought of Jim Collins’ “doom loop” versus “flywheel” analogies.

No shortage of additional research confirms the above which, with remote work preferences and the emergence of the gig economy, is a trend that will likely continue.

A learning point

Let’s examine the seventh of the ten 2023 improvement initiatives – Learning and Development (L&D).

The following is an excerpt from the article, Talent Management versus Learning And Development:

“Once you’ve spent time and resources hiring talent, it pays dividends to invest resources in developing them. Learning and development covers courses, training programs, coaching, certifications, and eLearning. Sometimes, it can be simply providing time and budget to let employees learn new skills.”

Based on the above, the editor of People Managing People, Finn Bartram, writes, “L&D should be a core component of your talent management strategy” as they are closely related. 

If they are, in fact, closely related, what do these stats tell you?

72% of respondents spend less than 2% of their operating budgets on training and development programs, compared with 66% last year – Ryan Flynn, Deloitte Consulting

Making the connection

In the five consecutive years leading up to the pandemic, annual surveys reported that most CPOs did not believe that their current procurement teams had the necessary skills to enable them to achieve their strategic objectives. 

So, what is the takeaway from the above connection?

Top ten lists are not to be tackled by sequential importance but by a strategic understanding of the relationship and subsequent alignment of multiple points within the list. Or, if you are not simultaneously coordinating the success between learning and development and talent management, you will not be successful at either.