Towards the end of last year, I noticed talent management returning to the chat rooms, and journals, and wow! – come January it is back with a vengeance, as the top priority for businesses.


My first talent management sighting came on 9 January, from the renowned Anna Tavis PhD of NYU who published, in People + Strategy, an extensive think piece cum anthology: “Talent Management: the End of the Era or the Dawn of the New Age?’


Talent management again took the headlines in The Times on 23 January as PwC published its 21st Annual CEO Survey at the Davos summit, and then on 29 January with the publication of a supplement. And on 24 January, London’s BEE Midtown Forum event focused on The Future of Talent.


There are several noteworthy points from all of these sources. I will cover them over the next few weeks, but here are some to start:

  1. The availability of skills, along with cyberthreats, is the top CEO concern (PwC survey)
  2. There is looming a big shift required in skills as many jobs disappear through technology, but many new ones will be created too. World Economic Forum / Boston Consulting Group)
  3. Many commentators have now accepted the view (that I have always held) that focusing talent management on the few HiPos, or future leaders is missing the point: blockages occur at all levels. Moreover, exclusive approaches are divisive, and often counter-productive.
  4. However, there is still little consensus about what talent management is. Is it about identifying potential? Or matching people to jobs? Or achieving high employee engagement and being excellent on diversity and inclusion so that you attract and retain the right people? Or is it about data?

How I see talent management is that it is about aligning individual and organizational development. We know that it is an imperative to business success and longevity that people and organizations create and embrace change. It isn’t just about ‘knowing you have the right people, understand their best skills, and match them with the needs of the company”, as quoted in The Times supplement, though that is part of it. It is also about ensuring your people have the development opportunity that ensures they will have the right capabilities available when you need them.


Talent management starts with a focus on the future.


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Janice Caplan

7 February 2018   

©Copyright Janice Caplan 2018