Talent Management - A 'Vague Concept'

August 27 2007 - "Talent management" is a vague concept for many organizations, according to a recent survey of 524 business professionals by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp).

The survey found that only 30 per cent of respondents rated their company as good or excellent at managing talent. Only a quarter reported that their organization had an agreed definition of the term, and 38 per cent that it was used to any significant degree.

The survey suggests that, when implemented successfully, talent management is associated with performance benefits. Companies that define and make frequent use of the concept are significantly more likely to perceive themselves as good at managing talent and be high market performers. Nearly half of the best market performers rate their ability to manage talent as good or excellent (compared to 35 per cent overall).

The survey found that companies that identified as good talent managers were also more likely to integrate it with other human capital processes and to believe that all managers, not just HR professionals, are responsible for talent management. Respondents cited "more effective communication about its importance" as the most significant strategy for improving talent management.

Jay Jamrog, i4cp's senior vice president of research said:

"It's no surprise to me that talent management pays performance dividends when it's done right. As the war for talent heats up, more companies will be looking at integrated talent management as their secret weapon to succeed and ultimately outperform. But it has to be more than just a buzzword. It has to become part of the culture of the organization, and the responsibility has to be borne by groups outside of the HR department."

Respondents identified nine primary components of an integrated talent management initiative:

      leadership development
      career planning
      development of high-potential employees
      performance management
      succession planning
      learning and training
      competency management
      professional development

Jay Jamrog commented:

"Understanding what the most important components of talent management are can go a long way toward helping organizations integrate the concept into their cultures and other human capital processes. Clearly, it's a lot easier to manage something well if you know what you're trying to manage."