Developing future talent

Talent management – the art of having the right people in the right jobs at the right time – can apply from recruitment and selection onwards, but is generally taken to mean managing and developing people with the potential to make a difference to performance either short or long-term, up to and including future leaders.

Nearly six out of ten organisations undertake talent management activities, covering all or most employees in two-fifths of organisations, mainly through on-the-job training, coaching or in-house development such as internal knowledge-sharing. Other formal or informal activities can include networking events, leadership coaching, mentoring, and meetings with clients, particularly where this is not a regular part of the individual’s role.

Talent management, focused on the individual for organisational improvement, requires its own separate strategy to run alongside resourcing and retention strategies, but is likely to mean something different in every organisation.

Whatever methods are used, the CIPD stresses the importance of senior management support and having a formal procedure for selecting participants to raise its perceived value.

Although the CIPD reports a significant increase in organisations reporting their talent management activities as fairly or very effective there is some evidence that UK practices and procedures are not all they might be: e.g. while 75% of employees say it is important to know they are being considered for progression (“very important” for 25%), 27% have never had a performance review. Improving line manager skills (42%) is the second-most common method to address retention after improving induction (45%). But in the same way as the traditional concept of a career as an upward progression through a sequence of roles has changed, talent management at all levels also requires imaginative and innovative development, engagement and deployment policies; for example, allowing or even encouraging talent in smaller firms to be seconded to another company to gain wider experience.