Talent Management

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RESEARCH PROPOSAL

1. BACKGROUND AND MOTIVATION

Talent is what differentiates a business from it’s competitors. The good value of talent is only realised as soon as there is a great demand for leadership and specialist skills. Talent is a long-term asset that takes a significant investment of time and money (Guest, 2009:1). A working definition of talent can be proposed as: “Talent consists of those individuals who can make a difference to organizational performance, either through their immediate contribution or in the longer term by demonstrating the highest levels of potential” (Chartered Institute for Personnel Development, 2007:8). Capelli (2008:1) describes talent management as “the process through which employers anticipate and meet their needs for human capital – getting the right people with the right skills into the jobs.”

Talent management according to Chartered Institute for Personnel Development (2007:7) has two outstanding themes. The “first is the medium to long term view in which talent is associated with those individuals who demonstrate the most potential to progress to more senior roles. These roles may be leadership- or management based or in a different function or discipline. The second is more short-term, in which talent management is focused on attracting and retaining individuals to meet immediate business needs at all levels.”

It is of critical importance to put talent management in a strategic context, linking it to corporate and business unit strategies. As Bersin (2006:3) put it “…talent management is a “forward-looking” function. Not only should talent management improve your organization’s flexibility and performance, it should give you the information and tools to plan for growth, change, acquisitions, and critical new product and service initiatives.” It is priority for companies to closely align talent strategy with the corporate strategy. Strategic analysis from the business perspective will inform the HR forecast and then the process of talent management can be put in place based on quantitative and qualitative conclusions from the forecast. It will be an interactive process with key steps (i.e. strategic analysis; ensuring that the evolution of the corporate strategy has “talent” inputs; preparing and HR forecast; identifying where interventions for talent management will be needed and at what level; designing talent management programmes to support strategic analysis and building tools for the measurement of the success of the programmes over time.

The recent economic recession, the demanding global business environment and increasing talent predicament, demand innovative and pragmatic approaches to finding, developing and retaining talent. According to Craig (2009) this has resulted in competitive pressures, supply limitations, workforce reductions and a cry to find high-calibre people and skills to navigate a way through the stormy organisational waters.

Aldrich (2007:1) adds that “the vast bulk of the current and future value of organization in the capital markets and investment banking sector is bound up in the experience, knowledge, social networks and commitment of the people currently employed. Historically acquired access to markets or technology infrastructure, though important, is of relatively less influence than the performance of the talent hired and developed by the organization. ”

According to Talent Management (2010:3) the most common talent management challenge continues to be the developing of talent. Figure 1 (Talent Management, 2010:3) indicates the biggest talent management challenges within organisations during 2008 and 2009. Changing the attitude from “buying” talent to “building” talent remains an ongoing effort for many talent management professionals. This issue is multiplied by the tightening of budgets due to the recession. The next most common challenge faced by talent managers is retaining talent....
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