The scarcities found in the Canadian talent pool have caused organizations to look at talent management and employee development in a very new and different way. As the challenges and responsibilities of talent leaders have shifted, the need to refocus and realign talent management processes has come to the forefront.
Gerald Harzl, Director, People Development & Training at Magna answered a series of questions written by marcus evans before the forthcoming 2nd Annual Talent Management & Leadership Development Canada Conference, July 17-18, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. All responses represent the view of Mr. Harzl and not necessarily those of Magna.
What are some of the programs Magna is currently working on, to tie the talent development and leadership planning to the business goals/strategy?
GH: As the auto industry and Magna continue to expand globally, a key priority set by Don Walker, Magna’s CEO, is to ensure we have the right people in place to match the pace. It is critical that we have employees available to support operational growth based on the competencies that have helped make Magna so successful. To support this global initiative we established and implemented a Leadership Development process that links Magna’s business and people strategies.
Our goal is to retain, engage and sustain our talented and skilled leaders at Magna. The Leadership Development process is a program that assesses the strengths, experiences and career interests of each of our employees in key leadership positions. This process is critical to Magna’s ability to build for our success both today and in the future – it’s how we ensure that we have plans in place to develop the people, skills and experience needed to execute our current and future business plans globally. It is also very important from our employees’ point of view, as it guides their career goals and areas for development.
What suggestions would you give to organizations looking to make sure their talent practices link to the organization’s goals and values?
GH: When an organization considers talent practices, ideally there is a talent management or people strategy. The talent strategy must align with current business objectives and goals in order to be successful. The current economic climate also drives the direction of this strategy. Not only do your talent practices need to link to the organization’s goals and values, it should also link to the other HR functions, programs and practices within the organization. Most important, your talent practices should have executive sponsorship and acceptance. The end result of your people strategy accelerates the organization to their business goals.
What methods are you currently using to develop global talent pools?
GH: At Magna we have three leadership talent pools – Executive Management, Senior Management and Management. Each pool is made up of employees identified and nominated as part of our Leadership Development process; each talent pool has a customized Talent Program.
The Talent Program is an intensive, accelerated program that helps participants to strengthen their leadership competencies by combining on-the-job training and off-the-job activities. The program helps focus Magna’s talent pool participants on capabilities, mindsets, and actions to drive Magna to a higher level of future success.
Gerald is a growth oriented leader with a reputation for international awareness delivering innovative programs for evaluating and developing senior leaders, offering keen assessments, and providing hands on guidance in the design, development, and execution of succession plans for key positions. Gerald has been in his current role since February 2011 coming to Magna’s Corporate headquarters in Canada from the Magna Powertrain Group based in Austria, where he was Manager for HR Development for Europe and Asia.
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