Executive Briefings

Managing Your Talent Is as Important as Supply Chain Management

Failing to manage your company's talent needs, says Wharton management professor Peter Cappelli, "is the equivalent of failing to manage your supply chain." And yet the majority of employers have abysmal track records when it comes to the age-old problem of finding and retaining talent.
Cappelli says supply chain managers "ask questions like, 'Do we have the right parts in stock?' 'Do we know where to get these parts when we need them?' and 'Does it cost a lot of money to carry inventory?' These questions are just as relevant to companies that are trying to manage their talent needs," he says. In other words, the principles of supply chain management, with its emphasis on just-in-time manufacturing, can be applied to talent management.
"This is a fundamentally different paradigm in terms of thinking about talent," according to Cappelli. His theory, he suggests, addresses a major complaint about the field of human resources--that it is "touchy-feely, squishy stuff with little applicability to business problems. HR practices have typically been about meeting individuals' needs, figuring out what psychological profile they fit and what should be done to help them grow and advance. But if you're an employer who is worried about issues like the finances of the company, you would like HR to think about personnel from the perspective of money and costs, and what happens if you don't have the right people in place to do the necessary jobs."
Source: Knowledge @ Wharton, http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu

Failing to manage your company's talent needs, says Wharton management professor Peter Cappelli, "is the equivalent of failing to manage your supply chain." And yet the majority of employers have abysmal track records when it comes to the age-old problem of finding and retaining talent.
Cappelli says supply chain managers "ask questions like, 'Do we have the right parts in stock?' 'Do we know where to get these parts when we need them?' and 'Does it cost a lot of money to carry inventory?' These questions are just as relevant to companies that are trying to manage their talent needs," he says. In other words, the principles of supply chain management, with its emphasis on just-in-time manufacturing, can be applied to talent management.
"This is a fundamentally different paradigm in terms of thinking about talent," according to Cappelli. His theory, he suggests, addresses a major complaint about the field of human resources--that it is "touchy-feely, squishy stuff with little applicability to business problems. HR practices have typically been about meeting individuals' needs, figuring out what psychological profile they fit and what should be done to help them grow and advance. But if you're an employer who is worried about issues like the finances of the company, you would like HR to think about personnel from the perspective of money and costs, and what happens if you don't have the right people in place to do the necessary jobs."
Source: Knowledge @ Wharton, http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu