Han van der Pool
Under the title Meet the Expert, Ana Bloemraad interviews professionals in the area of Occupational Psychology and Organization Psychology.
The life of Han van der Pool is all psychology. Many psychologists are present in his family. He has been working as an employed psychologist for over thirty-five years and as an independent consultant and teacher. At first I studied clinical psychology and chose to continue studying in Labor and Organization Psychology. That was a good choice because I was able to grow to HRD/MD positions within multinationals such as Ahold, Heineken and TNT quite quickly through positions as project leader, trainer and organizational advisor in smaller organizations.
Talent development quickly attracted Han's attention because he saw that talented employees are a success factor for an organization. He is now using his talent for talent development in his own company and as an advisor to a utility company. As an editor of MD magazine for talent and management development, he ensures a broad dissemination of knowledge and experience from and for professionals involved in this subject.
For Han, wanting and being able to learn is one of the most important components of talent. At his current employer Dunea he faces an interesting challenge. Dunea is the manager of the dune and drinking water production in Zuid-Holland West with 600 employees and a strictly regulated organization. Due to the high degree of automation, where more and more work is taken over by machines, there is a tension between man and technology. In such an organization, lifelong learning is necessary in order to maintain the flexibility and employability of the employees. But how can you ensure that all employees have access to the learning programs?
When looking for a suitable form that could be used as widely as possible within the organization, Han came out with E-learning. Through an online learning program, employees can follow various topics at the moment that they are most comfortable. This way of learning is an excellent method for a technically oriented organization such as Dunea to provide permanent and flexible education, also because the program is easily accessible to everyone within the organization who wants to work on their own development.
The view of talent has changed over the years, according to Han. Talent is no longer a fixed set of skills that a person can use to perform work well (excellent). Nowadays it's more about the ability to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the environment. Solving problems that nobody knows a solution for. This means that you must have a certain willingness to change, flexibility, curiosity, and curiosity. If there is no willingness to learn, little development can also be expected.
The question is how organizations can discover these flexible, eager to learn talents. Han sees the solution in Learning Agility. Free translated: the ability to convert new experiences into effective behavior. Learning Agility is about the will and skills to learn. This means that someone has the skills to be able to perform under pressure in a difficult situation or wants to learn that. In an increasingly rapidly changing world, with new technologies and globalization, talented people are able to adapt, grow, interact and collaborate with different cultural backgrounds. Han explains:' Han. Nowadays it is no longer enough to have a fixed set of competencies. It is about raising awareness of your unique talent, being able to use it to solve a wide range of issues, and the ability to develop this talent further. This can be established, for example, in an assessment where the assessors look for unique qualities and for the person's Learning Agility.
Old versus new talent management
The manager or the HR department plays a major role in discovering and developing talent. Knowledge of psychology can have a great added value here. Talents must also be assessed and developed in a context. It is not only about the knowledge and skills that someone possesses, an organization also wants to know whether someone can take on a heavier function. This means that you look at what people can do, what their strengths are and how the organization can make use of them', explains Han. It is important that you do not only check whether a person meets the requirements of the job. It is equally important to assess whether the organization/function meets the requirements of the person. What lies his passion and how does he or she want to shape it?
According to Han, it is time for a new movement in talent management' A talent is not something a person possesses, but something that becomes visible in a certain context. The focus should be on creating opportunities for employees to develop and demonstrate their talent. Your talents will not be retained by financial incentives. Young people in particular are nowadays more interested in the organization’s growth opportunities and function. They want to know if and how they can develop further in the organization. Organizations are increasingly changing from hierarchical structures to network structures. Because there is no top or bottom-up in a network, talents must be able to develop their vision' laterally' and be deployable where necessary.
Eye for non-western talents
Globalization and multicultural society pose new challenges for talent development. To discover talents, organizations mainly use assessments. In the assessment centers, both tasking, simulations and assessors come from Western culture and are not suitable for recognizing talents from non-Western cultures. In other cultures, there are different rules of behavior, leadership and cooperation. People from these cultures cannot therefore be judged on the merits of a Western culture,' Han illustrates this on the basis of his own' cultural collision'. Even two western cultures such as the Netherlands and Belgium can differ substantially from each other in certain aspects. When I was invited by a fellow trainer from Belgium to work with him to develop a course, I started a discussion about the form and content of the training. I thought it was great to share each other's knowledge and to achieve a better end result by means of a discussion. However, my colleague thought that I was disrespectful towards him. He wanted to set out his own idea first and expected me to follow his approach according to his guidelines.
Han is convinced that the assessments should take greater account of cultural differences. When testing candidates who do not come from Dutch culture,'' In the testing of candidates who do not come from Dutch culture