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How to improve your Talent Culture with co-creation

20 March 2017, by Lesley Vanleke
  • #talent development

If the goal for an organization is to obtain superior performance at the individual, group, and organizational level, then this organization has to think about how to detect, develop and deploy employees’ talents.

When we talk about Talent Management, how much is really left to “manage”? Careers have become so unpredictable and dynamic, both on an organizational as on an individual level that virtually nothing can be planned or structured anymore.

The tension in the current employability labour market is that the individual perspective on careers cannot be set aside. More than ever organizations need to reflect on how they can integrate the individuals’ psychological perspective on careers with the more strategic perspective of the organization.

Companies who manage to establish a talent culture that facilitates a mature career dialogue between organization and individual will have the advantage in terms of facilitating innovation and adaptability. But how do you create a culture in which this mature dialogue is facilitated?

Together with Ans De Vos in her excellent book “Loopbanen in beweging” (2016, Acco), I believe that the first step to take is to define a clear and common vision on “What is a career in our company?” “What is the career deal we can offer our employees and what are the roles for every stakeholder?” Answering these questions calls for a co-creative process as opposed to a traditional top-down process.

The arguments for a co-creative process lie mainly in the fact that there is no one right answer for this complex issue and that success lies in the creation of broad support for change:

  1. I’ve written about the ambiguities in careers. These take different shapes and forms in every organization, and when people discover them together, this fuels change. Part of the goal of a co-creative process is to have the specific ambiguities spelled out for every stakeholder to be seen clearly and deeply understood.
  2. When you allow people to imagine and experience a taste an improved future together, you are already halfway in bringing that future into the present.
  3. Improving your talent culture is about the whole system change. People will adapt their behavior if they’ve had a chance to explore the bigger picture and convince themselves for the need to change through dialogue with all stakeholders.

A co-creative process is very different from a top-down one. Here are some tips:

  1. Make a small diverse group of people owner of the process, NOT the content. Have them formulate a question that holds energy for all stakeholders, so many will be tempted to join in.
  2. Have the process owners come up with a design that allows many people to enter the dialogue. Shape the design by applying the six principles of co-creation.
  3. Have participants take up the responsibility for the implementation of the results of the dialogue, depending on where their energy lies.

In conclusion, there is no one right solution as to how organizations must approach careers. Therefore creating a common idea is key if you want people to play a positive part in the Talent management practices your company wants to implement. Co-creation can help.


About the author

Lesley Vanleke

Lesley Vanleke holds over 20 years of experience in HR. In 2014 she co-founded TalentLogiQS, where she searches to understand all different aspects of customers’ challenges and needs. She strives to be a sounding board and bring about connections that deliver added value for all parties concerned.