A glance at the chat lines and published articles shows that talent management is again becoming a hot topic. It is hardly surprising considering some hard evidence: PwC’s 20th CEO survey, 2017, found that 77% of CEOs see the lack of availability of key skills as the biggest threat to their business, and 77% are struggling to find the creativity and innovation skills they need.


Most HR people have moved on from the old view of talent management as exclusively for future leaders, and high potential, recognising it as both harmful, and impossible. However, there is still a lack of clarity about how to best organize talent management. An inclusive approach that values everyone, and supports their development is much harder to achieve, than designing exclusive programmes for a few.


In my last blog, I set out the questions to address, as your starting point for developing a talent management strategy. Make sure that your strategy defines talent management, describes what it is aiming to achieve, links it to key business goals, and sets out roles and responsibilities.


This is my view of inclusive, strategic talent management that I first set out in “The Value of Talent” (Kogan Page, 2011).


“.. today’s nimble, flexible, innovative organization requires a Talent Management strategy that is about developing everyone’s strengths, valuing diversity and encouraging creativity and innovation. It is about helping people achieve their aspirations through aligning individual and organizational development and minding the gap between organizational capability now and what will be required in the foreseeable future. This covers managing organizational capabilities, individual development, performance enhancement, leadership development, succession planning and workforce planning. It links with all parts of the HR agenda, especially recruitment, reward and employee engagement and is seamlessly integrated with business strategy. It is future-focused, seeking to spot what is on the horizon and align organizational and individual development to this. It aims to keep the organization learning faster than the environment around it.


Talent Management is not just about systems and processes but what you do with these and how you implement them so that you achieve a talent mindset across the organization. A talent mindset means that line managers will recognise their responsibility to manage talent effectively just as they are expected to manage other resources. Directors or chief executives will review talent as critically as they review the organization’s finances. Individuals will actively seek to develop or update their own talents. Individuals will be provided with the kind of developmental work experiences that build the organization’s key capabilities. The HR function will enable this talent approach by crafting business relevant talent management systems and processes and implementing them in a way that consistently reinforces the organization’s values.”


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Janice Caplan

24 October 2017