About Sharna Wiblen (PhD)

Dr Sharna Wiblen focuses on instigating, contributing to, and shaping informed conversations that unpack the complexity of genuine talent management. Interested in how we attribute “value” to individuals within organisations and in questions of how we mobilise our workforce to execute strategy, Sharna’s purpose in talking about talent is to square up the challenges associated with enacting strategically aligned talent management policies and processes and the role of digitalisation and automation in people-based activities.

Sharna’s blend of skills and experiences are a rare combination: an empirical PhD., significant experience attaining and executing research-based projects, ability to effectively communicate with academics and practitioners, and 15 years of industry experience including time as a management consultant, human resource and recruitment coordinator (Woolworths), and retail service manager (Woolworths). This diversity of skills and experience enables her to effectively advance knowledge and practice in both academia and industry.

Sharna uses her experience, intelligence, dedication and passion for rigorous and relevant research to shape conversations which highlight the complexity  of workforce management.  Her ability to synthesize insights in the areas of talent management, HR Technology and HR Analytics, and her empirical research on the human-technology interface are at the forefront of knowledge creation. Rather than solely advocate for digitalisation, Sharna is constantly reminding audiences via various forums of the importance of humans and the need to incorporate inclusivity and humanity within organisational design.

Sharna also reminds audiences that talent management starts with Y.O.U. – Your Own Understanding. Personal perceptions of what talent “is” (or is not) and the why, why, why of perceptions influences how we approach and design talent management policies and processes. Sharna knows that how stakeholders talk about talent, influences resource allocations, and shapes how individuals are treated within their respective organisations.  Whether talking to senior executives, human resource professionals, or students, Sharna is all about talent management as informed activity.

Sharna’s current research builds on her PhD (The University of Sydney), in which she examined how organisations define the term ‘talent’, the distinctive characteristics of such individuals, and how these meanings are enacted through seen and unseen practices as executives seek to identify their most valuable employees.  While completing her doctoral studies, she worked as a Senior Research Associate on two Australia Research Council funded research projects. Each of these focused on the relationship between talent acquisition, social media, and human resource information systems.

In her capacity as an Executive Educator, Sharna has designed and teaches ‘Responsible Talent Management Strategies’, a core MBA subject at the Sydney Business School of the University of Wollongong (Circular Quay and Wollongong campuses). Using innovative teaching methods, Sharna effectively highlights how complex informed talent management really is and the contradictions between the 3 R’s of talent management – the Rhetoric, the Research and the Reality. Students are encouraged to be ‘responsible talent management leaders’ – whereby their decisions are deliberate, intentional and informed.

Sharna is emerging as a leading figure in talent management, digitalisation and the Future of Work and is collaborating with renowned institutions to advance discussions about digitalised talent management – including The Center for Effective Organizations (based in LA, USA) as an Affiliated Research Scientist; Leeds University (Leeds, UK) as a Visiting Research Fellow; and as a expert guest lecturer for an EMBA module at Leeds University.

Contacting Sharna: There are so many options to talk about talent- and all of them involve technology (of course they do!). Feel free to contact Sharna via LinkedIn (preferred), or tweets via @sharnawiblen or good old email via sharna@talkabouttalent.com