Talent Management and Positive Psychology: Some thoughts

By Sandeep Kulshrestha

Talent Management has become extremely relevant in the knowledge economy, when the companies started becoming highly competitive in the early nineties and started looking at the human resources with a different angle and the practitioners brought new thoughts, ideas and best practices. Now talent management is an idea whose fruition stage has not yet arrived at and in a sense, it is still a work-in-progress and companies are trying out new ways of managing talent. One such tool which has a big potential is Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology is the science of happiness, well-being and flourishing and it is a relatively new branch of psychology, which is addressing issues like "what makes people happy" in organizations, schools, community or the society.
Talent Management is all about strategic human resource planning and to see that the talent matching the positions, either today or tomorrow is available, and more-so, such talent which has the potential to reach the bench-marked levels of peak-performance as the days of mediocre performance are over in this fast paced competitive arena of business.
Positive Psychologists believe in a model called PERMA (as researched and concluded by Dr. Martin Seligman, founder of Positive Psychology movement) which refers to Positive Emotions, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment and that when people reach the level of all these five ingredients, they lead a better life and they flourish in all the activities either related to job or parenting or just about anything else!
Hence, when we apply PERMA in a structured way in an organization (now there is something called Positive Organizational Development, inspired by Positive Psychology), we can create an institutional framework to see how a level of well-being is brought in and that has to be customized as per the need of an organization. There is one such tool of "character strengths" also researched by Seligman and others, where a person can find out his/her top character strengths and accordingly, based on those strengths, one can work "upwards" and attract better character strengths required for the current and future tasks. You may visit http://www.viacharacter.org to finish a survey and find your character strengths and through the website you will be able to understand why these strengths are important. The human resource specialists can use this tool for various purposes including performance management and with a final aim of fine-tuning your existing talent management systems

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