How does the concept of talent management operates in the real world? How does it come to life in a business environment? Why is it important to business leaders? We spent time with Marcelo Castro, Founder & CEO at MarketLogic, to gather his perspective.
MarketLogic is a Strategic, Creative and Tactical Marketing & Communications firm supporting multi-nationals doing business in Latin America & The Caribbean.
An entrepreneur at heart, Marcelo brings over 20 years of experience in international business, including 10 years of Marketing strategic development and tactical execution throughout the Americas in a vast array of verticals such as consumer, technology and entertainment.
Before launching MarketLogic, Marcelo founded XL Worldwide, a premium transport and logistics firm specialized in Latin America and the Caribbean and a key component of MarketLogic’s competitive advantage.
ExcelTrek: How does your company define talent?
Marcelo Castro: At MarketLogic we define talent based on six variables: competence (technical ability to perform the job), ownership (being fully responsible for the task at hand), guts (push boundaries to explore new opportunities), salesmanship (how everything we do affects our bottom line), integration (find ways to create synergies within the team) and transparency (speak your mind to minimize politics).
ExcelTrek: It’s interesting your use of the term “guts”.
Castro: It derives from the ownership pillar. If each team member owns his/her project, things will come up that will demand stretching our capabilities to fulfill our promise. We live in disruptive times, so that happens more and more. But I regard this as a positive: most of the services we provide today originated from us stretching at some point in the past.
ExcelTrek: How strategically important is the management of intellectual capital in your company?
Castro: We are a service organization, so 100% of everything we do is the result of leveraging intellectual capital.
ExcelTrek: What are the key elements of a strong talent management strategy?
Castro: It all starts in appreciating and having empathy for where each individual is coming from. This allow us to gauge how close that person is to our values. If we are close, we can manage. If we are not, there is nothing we can do, and that person cannot be part of our team.
ExcelTrek: Let’s assume then that the elements of appreciation and matching values match are present. Where do you go from there?
Castro: It’s a good question. We just go, test and gauge this overlap informally in our day-to-day operations. We also try to be pragmatic in comparing talent with revenue and profits as a reference point. We try to be holistic in managing talent in order to make sure that we have the right mix for the clients we have. This is very hard to do since the scope of our projects and what our clients expect from us changes constantly.
ExcelTrek: What do your top employees want from the company?
Castro: I think they aspired to work in a place with a specific purpose, feel appreciated (financially and beyond) and be part of building something bigger than themselves.
ExcelTrek: What leadership competencies are essential to foster a strong talent management culture?
Castro: I believe there are four essential leadership behaviors that are needed to establish a credible talent management culture: clarity, empathy, transparency and consistency.
ExcelTrek: How do you know that you the leadership team in your organization are exhibiting these competencies?
Castro: Great question. It is in the eye of the beholder. I believe that the totality of conduct of the person is what defines whether those competencies are present or not. Humans are very sophisticated and can clearly notice B.S when they see it.
ExcelTrek: Which is more difficult in your business – acquire talent, develop talent or retain talent? Why?
Castro: We purposely try to acquire talent with potential so development is the most challenging but also rewarding aspect in managing talent.
ExcelTrek: Why is development the hardest?
Castro: Because it requires investment and the opportunity cost of investing that time in something else. That is why gauging that potential is key. For us having multiple stakeholders involved in the process and provide feedback has helped us improve this evaluation. But it is nonetheless a huge challenge.
Fred Machado is the founder and CEO of ExcelTrek.