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Talent management is the process by which organisations attempt to identify, recruit and develop individuals who are deemed to be particularly valuable to an organisation, with the intention of retaining them in the long term.

Talent management is now considered a key priority not only for HR Directors but for CEOs as well.

If talent is managed correctly, organisations can create a high performing work environment, encourage a learning organisation, adding value to their reputation.

In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in talent management. This is due to:

  • External supply issues and internal organisational demands;
  • A progressively competitive market;
  • A shortage of relevant skills;
  • Corporate governance and business strategy.

Defining Talent

Defining talent is something that varies from sector to sector and in individual organisations as well.

Some organisations prefer to adopt their interpretations of talent, rather than using a universal definition.

However, talent is individuals who can make a difference to an organisation’s performance by demonstrating high levels of potential or contributing instantly to an organisation.

It is not adequate to just attract excellent employees, the key to successful talent management is training and retaining these employees, as well as implementing systems to measure the return on investing in them.

Taking A Strategic Approach

To have an advantage over competitors, there should be a strategic approach to talent management that works in harmony with the business and gets the best from individuals.

The best talent management strategies are aligned with corporate strategy.

By analysing the business perspective and feeding this into an HR forecast, this can help design an organisation’s unique approach to talent management.

Organisations should also be sharing information internally about talented employees and deliberating what career paths are open to them within the organisation.

An Inclusive Or Exclusive Approach?

Certain organisations take an inclusive approach to talent management, by forming a whole workforce approach to talent development.

Others adopt a more exclusive approach, focusing on talent management where it is needed, specifically concentrating on high-potential individuals.

In reality, an approach that encompasses both approaches is normally used, with the development of all employees an organisational priority, but those with most potential receive a special focus.

No matter which approach an organisation chooses to adopt; the talent management process should be fairly and consistently applied.

Who Should Be Involved In Talent Management?

  • Participants

A key consideration to start with is how to select individuals for talent management schemes.

A structured selection criterion increases the apparent investment into talent management schemes, in turn motivating participants to perform better.

Once individuals have completed a scheme, there is often frustration that their careers do not automatically progress.

Communication is key to reassuring them that it is a slow process that cannot happen overnight.

  • Managers

Attracting high-value employees is the responsibility of every member of the organisation, but is especially important for line managers.

It is their job to identify emerging talent in their areas, and treating talent as a corporate rather than a local resource.

Senior level management support is also vital.

Some organisations find that having a ‘talent panel’ is useful to ensure senior management involvement.

  • HR

The importance of HR cannot be ignored in talent management.

HR often play a part in creating talent pools and programmes, ensuring that individuals do not lose enthusiasm throughout.


Talent management is a business strategy that organisations hope will help them to retain their top employees.

It is a strategy that must be fully integrated with the other employee processes in an organisation to be truly successful.

Demonstrating to employees how you will intend to invest in them, and how this is mutually beneficial will undoubtedly increase the performance and productivity of your organisation.

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